It has been suggested that I write about my first few weeks of being a published author–what I’ve been doing and how it feels. How much time do you have to sit and read? I could write a 10,000 word essay if I were to detail everything (Or I could write “Wow” over and over?) Not to say it’s all been easy. It hasn’t.
Let me begin with a confession. I have read countless times that authors never open and/or read their books once they are published. Well, I sometimes do—take a peek and read a few pages. It isn’t that I’m admiring the writing or patting myself on the back. Honestly…I just miss the Murphys. I miss Toni. I miss Carley. I miss Michael Eric. They are as real to me as any person that I have ever met. When I remember that Michael Eric and the others don’t actually live and breathe somewhere. .. You know what? It makes me sad.
As a debut author, I am busy. Really busy. Here is a bit about what’s been going on:
I was so honored to be a faculty member at the New England SCBWI conference in Springfield—this was like coming full circle. It was a fantastic weekend of debut author milestones—including seeing my book for the first time. Of opening the cover and seeing what my publisher, Nancy Paulsen Books/Penguin, had done to the inside. Not easy to make me tear up—but this moment did. I was so shocked and so, so touched.
That weekend, I also served on some panels with incredibly talented authors (including EMLA clients, Joan Paquette, Erin Moulton, and Audrey Vernick) and signed for the first time ever—elbow-to-elbow with amazing, generous people/friends like Jo Knowles, Mitali Perkins, and AC Gaughen. I also made new friends like Sarah Darer Littman who is awesome—so generous and funny and sweet.
And then there was planning the Book Launch. I had two “official launches” actually. One was for my mom’s side of the family in Newton, MA. That was very special. The room was filled with faces that I’ve loved since I’ve had a memory. An amazing day. A memorable, cherished one.
The second launch was at the local B&N in Glastonbury. This was like a, “This is your Life, Lynda Mullaly” episode. Best friend since I was fourteen came. College roommate and teaching colleagues from 15 years ago came. Various friends and fellow moms and writers from both down the road and out-of-state. It was a big crowd—only thing was, I wish I had had more time to talk to people.
I taught myself to make a book trailer by jumping in. It’s embarrassing how many hours this took, between looking for the right images and trying to distill the strengths of the book into a minute and twenty three second’s worth of text. I have also designed t-shirts, postcards, bookmarks, etc. and researched places to get this stuff printed economically. (http://postcardsrus.com has been great!)
I lined up a fairly extensive blog tour in the months before release. Beforehand, I did hours of research and then sent out notes to bloggers, asking them to join my tour. During the tour, I visited sites, updated links, and left messages of gratitude. Throughout, I’ve spent lots of time writing guest posts and answering interview questions. Some have gotten personal. And, wow. I answer a lot of e-mails these days.
I have done several school visits—my favorite part, as I love getting into schools to speak with kids about writing and Murphys and being someone’s hero—including being one to yourself. These visits have been in RI, CT, MA, and New York City! I am now lining up events for summer and fall. Time seems to be speeding up.
Lastly, I attended BEA in New York last week. With some of my Class of 2k12 peeps, I signed at the famous book shops, Bank Street Books and Books of Wonder. Amazing. Amazing. Amazing. I attending author breakfasts where I laughed at Chris Colfer and John Green’s humor and wisdom and wiped away tears at Lois Lowry’s both heart-breaking and inspiring words. I sat in awe of Kamir Nelson’s talent with a paint brush. I hugged Patricia Reilly Giff who blurbed One for the Murphys and then staged some silly pictures with Lemony Snicket.
There is much more but I’m afraid that it will all sound list-like. Lists are great if you want lists—but not if you want engaging blog posts.
The hardest part of all of this? Trying to slow down enough to savor it all. Enjoy it. I know I will always take my career seriously, but I do hope a day never comes when it feels too much like work. I do spend many hours in my office, though, and that’s not always easy.
I started out this post by fessing up to taking peeks at my own book. The people that breathe for me in this book seem to have stepped right out of the pages now that I am receiving feedback that there are others out there that also feel like these characters are real. Teachers and social workers and school counselors are thanking me? Really?
When told that Murphys has had a “profound impact” on a child, I want to thank them—for being there in the flesh for that child and caring enough to give him/her the book and then follow-up.
So, how do I feel as a debut author?
Blessed. I am blessed, indeed.