Friends, I believe I promised you something. And that something was Peter Pan with boobs. Ruth, who is my favorite, found an image of one of the covers of the Peter Pan comics I mentioned earlier, which are apparently not comics at all, but coloring books.
(Does the fact that these are coloring books make this even worse?)
(Do I even mean “worse,” or do I mean something else entirely, maybe the opposite of “worse”?)
(WHAT ARE WE FEELING, INTERNET FRIENDS? I DON’T EVEN KNOW. HELP ME.)
Anyway. Here’s some stuff I’ve noticed now that my first book is out.
Nothing changes. If you go into this business because you’re a writer, and not because you want a book with your name on it sitting in bookstores, then your writing life kinda goes on as usual regardless of where you are on your path to/in publication. Ideas, drafts, revisions, panic, critique groups — you’re still doing what you’ve always done. If your debut is wildly successful (which it probably won’t be, and you won’t even know for at least months), you will possibly be doing what you’ve always done only with more money.
Except for the stuff that changes. OK, so now there is a book with your name on it sitting in bookstores. That’s pretty cool! Also you might have a lot less time to write your next book. (That’s probably a good thing.)
BTW, you need more swag. This might just be me, but I come from a performance background, and the one thing we do not need any more of is headshots. In most cases, you have to buy like 500 of them at a minimum, and they’re good for just a couple years until you get fatter or skinnier or older or cut your hair or whatever, so most of them end up lining the bird cage. So I went into swag preparations with the same mentality: “Oh, you can get just 100 bookmarks? Sounds perfect!”
No. Get more bookmarks. Get hundreds. I got mine at Overnight Prints, and they weren’t that expensive. People love bookmarks (they’re free!), libraries and bookstores will often be happy to stick a pile of them somewhere, and you will run through them hella fast. I’m from New Hampshire and we don’t even say “hella”; that’s how fast you will run through them.
People will love your book! Really. You know how you worked really hard on it, and then you revised it, and you thought about everything, and all those sentences and paragraphs and chapters are as good as you could make them? And you know how your agent and your editor believed in this book and helped make it better, and how a whole bunch of dedicated people like copyeditors and designers put their $0.02 in as well, and you all eventually came out with a final product that reflects everyone’s hard work? People get it! They do! They understand the layers, they get what you intended to say, they’re rooting for your characters, and they love your book!
Except when they hate it! Yeah. This too. Unless you are very, very lucky — and please notice that I’m not saying, “Unless you are a very, very good writer . . .” — there will be people who hate your book.
At first, I was surprised by the impressive variety of hate. Random people have hated things about my book that no one ever mentioned, or even thought about, before it was released. I won’t go into specifics (they’re easy enough to find if you’re curious), but let’s just say there’s some creative hate out there. Like, I don’t see how people have time to hate details as inoffensive as some of the ones that have caused actual humans to despise reading my book so much that they take more of their time to trash it online (with GIFs!). But, you know, there are things that inexplicably bug me as well, like Cabbage Patch dolls (BURN THEM ALL), and everyone’s entitled to that. And of course, not everyone who had a problem with an aspect of the book hated it overall. I’ve gotten some incredibly kind and positive reviews that include lines like, “Well, except for the fact that this book mentions stupid potato salad, I really enjoyed it.”
But don’t get me wrong. This is not about bashing negative reviews or praising positive reviews. (Or vice versa.) This post is for you, my fellow writers, and what I mean to say is that you should be prepared to be completely surprised by what others have to say about your work, whether it’s nice or nasty, thoughtful or pea-brained, loud or soft. And the fact that your book is out in the world with people talking about it is pretty damn cool.
Readers are awesome. Since my launch, I’ve had great conversations with and feedback from readers of all ages. And sometimes awesome things happen. For example:
This is Gordo. He’s a poet. This is him reading my book at the Monadnock Pastoral Poets Retreat. I’m told he started it, said he was hooked, and read it all weekend!
This is Harvard Dangerfield, a Boston celebrity Samoyed and a very handsome boy!
And this is an AMAZEBALLS illustration of two of the characters in Strange Sweet Song by artist Stephanie Piro. [Correction: THREE of the characters.]
And so many other things. I have had teenage girls bring their own copies of my book to signings for me to personalize, or ask me questions about writing, or tell me about the stories they’re working on. That is the best.
So this is my ultimate post here at Emus Debuts. And by ultimate, I mean “last,” rather than “best,” although a post that includes Peter Pan boobs is going to be tough to beat. I considered doing a video retrospective of all the batsh*t pictures I’ve posted here since the beginning, with like some sweeping Oscars music, but then my brain was like, “You have been living on Ny-Quil and Red Bull for four days and this is not a good idea.”
AND THEN GUESS WHAT.
Bye, friends! If you still want to hang out, come and find me elsewhere on the ‘Net:
* * * Website! * * *
* * * Blog! * * *
* * * Twitter! * * *
* * * Facebook! * * *
Next launch up is Tara Dairman’s All Four Stars, coming 7/10/14 to a fine bookseller near you. And you guys, I read the ARC, and it is fantastic. Gladys Gatsby is resourceful, smart, funny, and real — the kind of main character you want to follow through All The Books. So stick around the ‘Mu nest for more deets on Gladys, Tara, and all the other amazing upcoming debuts!
UPDATE: I just discovered that Emu Jennifer Chambliss Bertman was holding out on all of us, and in fact has a dragon BFF inspired by Joshua McCune’s Talker 25.
They solve mysteries together.