Happiness, Part II (or the Publishing Sweet Spot)

As soon as I heard the happy Book Deal Offer, I couldn’t wait to share. Erin told me I could tell close friends and family, but nothing could go public until the announcement went up in Publisher’s Marketplace.

So I told my husband, my kids, my parents and my sister. I told my colleagues at school. And I told my 4th grade students that I was going to be a published author.

Oh, the hugs! The cheers! I couldn’t stop smiling.

Until my 4th graders surprised me with lovely, heartfelt, hand-made cards. Cards with crayon-ed hearts and flowers and rainbows. And Expectations. Big Ones.

 “Oh!” I said. “Well, I don’t think I’ll become famous, or anything.”

My class looked doubtful.

I went on. “And sometimes books don’t sell super DUPER quick. You know how it is.”

No, they didn’t know.

“Wow,” I told them. I suppose my book could sell out in minutes. Does anyone know how many minutes are in a year? Two years? Ten?

I laughed at my own joke. They didn’t. (Or maybe they were aghast that my Book Deal Announcement had somehow morphed into a mathematical word problem. *shiver*)

Finally, someone who realizes that authors go through lots of trouble to get published. Oh, yeah. LOTS.

So I said, “Authors DO work hard to get published.” And I said (AGAIN), “But not all of them become famous. In fact, most of them…do not.” 

 Okay, so one of them got it. Mrs. Lorenzi won’t really be famous. But we still love her. I can live with that.

Once Publisher’s Marketplace carried the announcement, Erin spread the news and I posted on Verla’s, where writers know what it means to publish a book.  Where I don’t have to explain 24 times that I don’t think my book will be famous, nor will it sell out super duper quick. (There is a chance it will sell out in minutes, I just don’t know how many thousands of minutes…)

Then Mike comes along with his happiness post and that fabulous Marianne Williamson quote. And I start to think.

I think about published writers who say that having a book out does not signal the end of writer-ly  stress. Sure, it’s not the querying kind, or the fear-of-never-being-published kind, or the not-hearing-back-from-acquistions-just-yet-because-one-of-them-is-climbing-Mount-Everest kind. 

Published authors worry about bad reviews, puny print runs, sagging sales figures. I don’t doubt that I’ll stress over similar things once my book is out on the shelves.

But not quite yet.

Thanks to Mike’s post, I realize that I’m in smack in the middle of publishing’s sweet spot.  I’ve got a top-notch agent and a savvy editor. My book will be published by a house whose books I have admired and used in my classroom for years. I won’t have to worry about reviews or marketing or school author visits for at least another year.

So in the meantime, I plan to enjoy it. You only get to be a pre-published debut author once. Maybe I’ll be famous. Maybe I won’t. Maybe my books will sell super duper quick. Maybe they won’t. 

Or maybe I’ll hold a book signing at the bookstore down the street from my school, where I’ll sell 24 copies to 24 kids who think I’m famous and I will feel famous, if only for a day.



Filed under Celebrations

16 responses to “Happiness, Part II (or the Publishing Sweet Spot)

  1. Cynthia Levinson

    And, this is such a sweet blog spot with sweet letters from your students!

    At the Austin SCBWI conference last weekend, I met a woman-I-cannot-name who just sold her first book–actually, a two-book deal–but couldn’t tell anyone, except random strangers like me, about it, even though she wanted to stand on the stage with Arthur Levine and Carolyn Coman and belt it out. She seemed kind of quizzical that PW had to announce her good news before she could.


  2. Lynda Mullaly Hunt

    This is adorable! I could imagine, so clearly, the reactions of your students. Aren’t kids great?! *Love* the ending; I think you described it just as it will be!


    • Natalie Dias Lorenzi

      Thanks, Lynda! Kids really are funny, aren’t they? My students flat out did not believe me when I said that most writers are not famous. It’s nice to have them in my corner. 🙂


  3. This was a fabulous post, Natalie. It brought tears to my eyes (cliche alert. Sorry.) I love that you showed us the letters. You are so lucky to have your fan group already going. Nothing like unbridled optimism to make one smile. Thanks for pointing out the Sweet Spot in publishing before it passes.


    • Natalie Dias Lorenzi

      Thanks, L.B. I love their letters, too! They were so joyful when I shared my news. Drop by my classroom any time if you need some 9 and 10-year-old fans–I know they’d love you, too! 🙂


  4. Oh, Natalie! I so loved this! You have great kids. 🙂


  5. Kudos to your kiddos for having such faith in you – what a wonderful fan club.

    And kudos to YOU for stopping & enjoying the sweet spot. The worries & stresses may come in the future, but hooray for taking time to celebrate the Now.


    • Natalie Dias Lorenzi

      Thanks for stopping by, Tiffany! I saw from your site that you’re a teacher, too. Since you write YA and teach the 6th grade, the timing is perfect…when you announce your book deal to your students, they’ll be close to that YA age group when your book is released. My 4th grade students will be entering 6th grade when my book comes out–teetering on that upper edge of MG. I know your students will be thrilled when you share your news with them. 🙂


  6. As a retired 4th grade teacher who got to share my first book deal with my class, I completely understand. It was magical….though it took almost two years from the deal event to holding the book in hand. There was stress in that aspect. “When IS the book coming out?” I was repeatedly asked. I wondered myself. You don’t rest until you turn your book’s pages….and then there’s the selling, marketing, etc. to worry about. But I wouldn’t trade it for anything. Thanks for sharing that wonderful post. And I wish you future writing successes and many shared joys with your students.


    • Natalie Dias Lorenzi

      Thanks, Carol! Were you still in touch with your students when the book came out? Our school only goes up to 5th grade, although I know lots of elementary schools go to 6th.

      Thanks again for stopping by! 🙂


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  8. Lovely post! The kids’ excitement for you is palpable and so sweet. You’ll be their rock star for sure!


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