Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Little Milestones

My critique partner Mindy McGinnis just posted about getting a firm release date of September 9th, 2013 for her debut, NOT A DROP TO DRINK. It got me thinking a bit about the scarcity of moments when this whole book endeavor doesn't seem like something that is happening to someone else.

The publishing business can be one giant, somewhat coordinated ballet of hurry-up-and-wait. I've spoken before, I think, about the milestones a debut author reaches on the way to their actual - neigh mythical - release date.  The first time you get an advance, the first time the PR department contacts you, the first time you see your cover - these stepping stones on the publication path are more like waypoints cemented in reality for a journey so detached from an author's everyday life, the author often needs a reminder that he or she is even on the journey at all. Ultimately, these little moments give weight to the words, "I signed a book deal," even when that statement is met with a suspicious eye.

So when debut authors reach these milestones, we tend to want to make a big deal out of them. It's a good opportunity to stop and catch our breath and reflect on the amazingness of what is happening. Though it may seem like some kind of shameless self promotion for a book still a long way off, I can assure you there is much more catharsis to the jumping and shouting and cheering. It's our way of inwardly saying, "See? It's real! I'm not crazy!" Because let's face it, in this market, a book deal in fiction has more in common with a Bigfoot sighting than we authors want to admit.

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