Archive for April, 2012

Sending the Manuscript Off

Wednesday, April 11th, 2012 | The Writing Life | 2 Comments

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I know I am not alone in this. We writers slave over our manuscripts, our babies, until they are as perfect as we can make them. We give them to writing groups, to critique partners, to beta readers, and sometimes even to a freelance editor. And finally the day comes when we put them in the mail, or these days, in an e-mail to our agent or our editor. Some of us are still shopping for the right agent. Others have found their agent and are sending their manuscript to their editor for the first time. But sending the book out for the first time is always a daunting prospect, no matter who is waiting to receive it.

One thing I learned early on in my work as a writer is that fear is my friend. Every time I stand on a precipice, ready to take a plunge, a leap into the Void, I feel it. The thrill of fear that is almost an exhilaration, the knowledge that no matter what happens, for good or bad, my life as of this moment is changing.

Even now, with two book published and one book in edits, I still feel that way. That exhilaration of flying, that fear of crashing, but overriding both, the knowledge that, as a writer, I really don’t have a choice. My characters choose me, not the other way around. They bring their stories and I work hard to make them the best books I can. And when the time comes for my work to go out into the world, I feel the same fear of failure, the same elation. It is a good thing to leap into the Void. All the best things in my life have come to me because of taking that leap. As writers and artists, we live with that leap for good or ill, over and over again, for as long as we put pen to paper. That leap is worth it, despite the fear that comes with it. Each time, we close our eyes, and jump.

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Launch Day

Wednesday, April 4th, 2012 | The Writing Life | 2 Comments

One of the most amazing things about being an author is launch day. At least, that’s what I always thought when I was working away at my desk, no agent or book contract in sight. I thought of how amazing it must be to hold a finished book in my hands, to smell the pages, to know that my story is finally going out into the world, touching people’s lives. And all of that is true. It is an amazing moment to hold a finished, printed book that I wrote, a wonder unequaled in the world.

But book writing is a business, too. Sometimes the business side of the publishing world can distract me from the beauty of creation itself. Working with bloggers and a publicist before a launch, writing guest posts and planning blog tours, worrying about whether reviewers and readers will like what I’ve done…all that can threaten to eclipse the joy of the book being born, of coming into print, coming into the world.

So on book launch days, I make an effort to celebrate the achievement with family and friends. I drink a toast to Eleanor, throw a little party for her and for me, savoring that moment that otherwise could seem a little anticlimactic after all the work of the publicity launch. I learned that, while there will be no marching bands in my living room to celebrate the launch of a novel, unless I hire one, of course,  I can and should rejoice.

So on this blog, I’ve started celebrating the launches of books I have read or have been waiting to read. Because launch days are an amazing moment in the birth of a novel. As writer, I cherish them, mine and other people’s.

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