Describe the feeling of being published.
Getting my first novel published was like Christmas morning. The Christmas morning after you’ve been told that year that there is no Santa. It’s still exciting. You still get up early and go look under the tree. Cuz, hey… there’s presents. But there’s no “Wahoo!” kind of moment. It’s more like, “Yeah. Alright. That’s pretty cool. I’m hungry… are we out of Fruit Loops?”
I try to get super stoked about being published but it is surprisingly difficult. Maybe it’s the nature of modern publishing. I had this scenario in my mind where I open the front door, take a brown cardboard box from the mailman, open it up and find my book in my hand. Music swells, the neighbors cheer and wave. A Jack Russell terrier runs up out of nowhere and offers to shake. The phone rings and it’s the publisher telling me we’ll take the world by storm. He’s smoking a cigar and wearing a bow tie. He calls me ‘Kid’ and laughs like he’s already drunk as hell at 11am.
Instead, I got an email that said, “Here ya go” and boom, it was on Amazon. Which is great. No long wait, no hassle. But just… plop and another work of fiction is born into the world.
Or maybe my lack of enthusiasm is more to do with the nature of the world now. I’m old. Getting published when I was a kid 40 years ago was a big deal. Being a writer meant you had skill and talent. You had crafted your masterpiece, run the gauntlet of agents and publishers and editors and you had arrived. You knew things that no one else did. Your sports coat had those goofy patches on the sleeve. You looked like Napoleon Dynamite’s twin brother but women still got all fluttery and worked up around you.
Now everybody is an author. Kind of like everyone is a photographer or a musician or poet or a model or an actor. Which doesn’t mean we’re all good at it. But it’s so much easier. We can produce movies on our telephones, compose music with 82 different instruments on a touch screen and take stunning photographs with the electric can opener. As Syndrome put it in “The Incredibles,” “And when everyone’s super, no one will be.”
I realize this makes me sound like Abe Simpson. Just bitching up a storm about everything with an air of senile entitlement. And I try to keep that in mind also. It is a big, huge, hairy deal to have completed a novel that I think kicks ass. It took two years to write. I rewrote it about ten times. I hooked up with a great publisher in Severed Press who pretty much gave me carte blanche to get the book out there the way I wanted it. That’s unheard of nowadays without going the self-publishing route. So I am grateful. And I’m more than pleased with the novel.
I just haven’t had my “Wahoo!” moment with it yet.
The publication of the book does make me look forward to this Christmas. Even knowing there is no Santa.
A couple of years ago, I went to my first Christmas party in the UK. I had just opened a beer and my big mouth to say that I was planning on being a writer when the host informed me that most of the people there already had at least a couple of books published. I spent the rest of the night nodding and smiling and trying not to look like a twat.
So when I go back to that party this year, I can say that I’m a writer, not a wannabe. I’ve written and published something every bit as good as anyone else’s. For even though more people than ever before are being published, there will always be an even larger percentage who just talk about writing without actually doing it. I did it. And there’s a lot of Wahoo in that.
I’m thinking that the big excitement will happen when I get that call from Hollywood telling me they want to option the book for a movie. I’m still holding on to that particular delusion pretty tightly. Can anyone else hear that music right now?
Cue the Jack Russell…
(Want to take part in a single question interview? Contact me for your question.)