An MFRW Author Post – And check out the other blogs on the hop!
I have a funny story. It’s not exactly what this prompt calls for, but the truth is that I don’t tend to celebrate my first drafts – or even my final ones. Usually, it’s a matter of smiling to myself and sitting in my chair feeling dazed and confused for a few minutes before starting on the next project.
But I can tell you how I celebrated my very first novel release.
Or rather, didn’t celebrate it.
Your own book release shouldn’t come as a surprise to you. Looking back to the summer season now, I can certainly see the cracks where my publisher was beginning to falter, before their autumn announcement that they would soon be closing. At the time, I just rolled with it. I had no choice, but that’s certainly not how things are supposed to be.
I got the email first thing in the morning the day we were leaving Disney. I had spent four days networking, schmoozing and being as charming, friendly and adorable as humanly possible at the Romance Writers of American national conference, followed by two full jam-packed days of Disney and I was finally sleeping past six in the morning. I had woken early regardless, blearily checked my phone, read an email from my editor in England saying congrats on the release and promptly fallen back asleep. From there, I dreamed of book covers and releases and going to school naked, and when I woke up I realized that my book had, in fact, been released without anyone telling me in advance.
In fact, it was such a bizarre turn of events that I actually scoured my past emails to see if I had missed the memo, but I hadn’t. Again, this should have been a warning sign, but at the time, I had bigger fish to fry.
Amazingly, that was the day I actually had some time to work – no conference, no Disney, just the R&R day between Disney and Universal so we checked out and camped in the lobby, where I proceeded to draft as many Facebook and Twitter graphics, promotional pieces and blog elements as I could. I dashed through social posts, reached out to pages and contacted reviewers – all tasks you’re supposed to have well and truly accomplished before the release day.
Sometime later, we took a very expensive taxi to our next hotel – a whole lot less inviting than the beautiful Disney resort. We dropped our stuff off and headed out into the suffocating Florida heat to a Friday’s restaurant in the strip mall parking lot that you could see from our hotel. And there, in that dimly lit, Thursday afternoon Friday’s restaurant off the highway, I realized something.
This was my first full-length novel. I was celebrating my first full-length novel with a half-off Santa Fe burger and overpriced spiked lemonade. In a Friday’s.
At that point, the pressure of the conference, the adrenaline of two days at Disney and the wildness of celebrating my first novel release in a Friday’s in Florida hit me all at once and I lapsed into an absolute giggling fit. Eventually, my boyfriend raised a glass and we toasted, despite the unimpressed expression on our waitress’s face and the fish decor all around.
Being a writer sounds a lot more glamorous than it is. Unfortunately, I have to seek a new home for that story and another as that press, yet another in a long line, falls prey to the trials and challenges of independent publishing in an Amazon world. That my first novel will have to be reprinted less than a year after release is a much larger issue than celebrating its release in a Friday’s in Florida. But while some things are out of my control, I can say this – wherever and however this book comes out the next time around, you know I’m giving it a real celebration.