A Debut Author Gives Thanks

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In celebration of Thanksgiving, this week we are writing about gratitude. We hope you have a wonderful holiday!

 

The first thing I do when I open a new book is read the acknowledgements page. It’s so moving to see the writer expressing appreciation for everyone who has helped her along the way. Before I began writing a novel I used to marvel at how many people an author would thank. How could so many people be involved in the making of something that is such a solitary venture? It wasn’t long after I started writing THE CITY BAKER’S GUIDE TO COUNTRY LIVING that I learned what all authors know–writing is a team sport.

I’ve been working on my own acknowledgements page over the past few weeks, and it’s reaching epic lengths. I’m pretty sure my editor is going to ask me to edit it. But how can I when there are so many people to thank?

First, there are my friends. There is the friend who brought me to the place that inspired my setting and the friend who was with me when the seed of my plot sprouted. All the friends who never stopped asking “so, how is your novel?” even though the answer was always the same.

Then there are writing friends. Writing group members and workshop mates. Writers I have met through other writers. Debutante blog authors! My writing friends have pushed me to work harder and held me to my writing goals. They took me seriously when I was full of doubt. They read the pages over and over again, guiding me with their feedback. They commiserated when things were hard and celebrated when there were reasons to celebrate. They held the dream of publication for me when I couldn’t hold it for myself. I am so grateful to all of them.

I have to thank my writing center friends. Without them, and the scholarships they awarded me, I would never have been able to study craft and to get the feedback that I needed. And I never would have met my editor, or my agent, or any of the amazing published authors who I have had the privilege to learn from.

Without the support of my work friends, I would probably still be hacking away at a draft. They gave me time off when I was working on a deadline, made sure I had workshop nights off even if we were crazy busy, answered all my food-related questions when I was doing research, and supported me in the form of endless teasing.

And of course there are family friends! My whole family have been super supportive. My sister has done an excellent job of casting the movie, and I am pretty sure my mom is more excited about the release of my book than I am.

And my partner friend. How could I begin to express my gratitude towards the person who always believed I could write a novel, always believed I would do it, and who has been there every step of the way? She has read every single draft, asked all the best questions, and gently challenged me when I was trying to save my darlings. She loved my characters as much as I did and encouraged me to do my best work. It is not an exaggeration to say that my novel would not exist without her.

And now on to Publishing friends! My fabulous agent, who is always there beside me. My extraordinary editor, who taught me so much as she guided me through my revision. The art director who created the gorgeous cover. The creative and enthusiastic folks in marketing and publicity who are working to get the word out. The copy editor who did such careful, thoughtful work. The sales team, who are now preparing to press my novel into the hands of booksellers and say read this. I’m sure I’m forgetting so many people. And I know there are people who are working on the book that I will never meet. I am filled to the brim with gratitude for every single person who has played a part in the process of ushering my novel into the world. It truly is a team process.

Come August, when my novel hits the bookstore shelves, there will only be one name on the cover. If you pick it up, promise me you will take a peek at the acknowledgements and read about the multitude of people who made writing THE CITY BAKER’S GUIDE possible. Without all of them, the book wouldn’t be in your hands.

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Louise Miller

Louise Miller is the author of THE CITY BAKER'S GUIDE TO COUNTRY LIVING (Pamela Dorman Books/Viking/August 9, 2016), the story of a commitment-phobic pastry chef who discovers the meaning of belonging while competing in the cut-throat world of Vermont county fair baking contests. Find out more at louisemillerauthor.tumblr.com.

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This article has 13 Comments

    1. Thanks, Heather. And YES. I’m sure I would *still* be tinkering with draft 1 if it hadn’t been for all the teachers and writers and friends who encouraged me and helped me along the way.

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