I'm very excited today, and was a bit emotional earlier because my book, The Kindling went to press today. That means it's being printed and is on en route from being an idea in my head to being a physical, tangible book. It's difficult to express how this feels or what it means.
I looked at the date on the first draft. March 18, 2009. It's been a long, long time. Some of that is because I'm obsessive about rewrites. But most of that is because a great deal has happened in my life since then. So, it's all the more exciting to see it getting so close to being a reality.
Being a theatrical creature, I'm used to creating in a collaborative way--there are actors, designers, technicians--all kinds of people with whom you can talk and discuss. You bounce ideas off each other and there is a potent synergy created.
Writing a book is much, much different. It is done in isolation. I have a wonderful critique group who read it and give feedback as I go, and my kids are very good at this, too. But it's not the same. As an introvert, part of this is wonderful. But it's also odd after years of theatre work, and it is a little scary. What if you think something is really funny or suspenseful or cool--and then readers find it lame?
So, there are two relationships that come to be very meaningful to an author. First of all is the cover designer. Covers sell books. People do judge a book by its cover. And so an author is extremely dependent on the designer to make his words into something that will hopefully entice a reader, something the author can be proud of. I've blogged before about the wonderful designer who did my cover. I've been so grateful for her good work.
I haven't talked, however, about the editor. Gosh, I love my editor! I already trusted Melissa because we worked on my first book. I felt that she was sensitive to my voice and my words, but also brought a clear head and sharp eye.
One of the best things an editor can do for an author is take out the parts that are lame. The parts that don't work, find the mistakes and so on. I've heard horror stories from other authors about editors who were overly harsh and prescriptive. I've heard horror stories about the other side of things as well, editors who didn't make any suggestions or changes, who really didn't seem to care about the book.
So, I'm grateful for my editor, who walked that line well, I think. Who seemed to care about the book and wanted it to work, who was open to my suggestions and thoughts and also had a firm hand when the prose needed it. She was generous with the changes she allowed me to make, and was also very patient with my appalling and persistent misuse of commas.
It is a cliche to refer to a book as your child. But it's a cliche because it's true and accurate and so people use it all the time. So, today, as my baby is shipped off to the printers, I want to take a moment and thank the literary OB/GYN/Midwife.
Well, for someone who aspires to be a writer, I don’t know what to say. My heart is very full. Friday afternoon, my editor sent me the PDF version of the proofs. My book is going to press on Monday!
I’ve spent the last 24 hours going over them looking for errors and making notes. At this point, the changes are limited only to correcting grammatical or punctuation errors, correcting any cut-and-paste mistakes and so on. The chances for revising and improving and tweaking are long gone. I’m having thoughts about the Final Judgment, which I will write about another time.
This is very a fraught moment for me. The first time I read a set of proofs a few weeks ago, I reacted a little like you do when you hear your voice recorded and you think, “Ugh—do I really sound like that?”
Having gone through it this last time, I find I like it much better. There are places I wish I could still tweak a bit, some possibly obnoxious use of adverbs, a more felicitious way to phrase something—but on the whole, I like this book.
Last time I read it, I was looking at it very clinically. This time I was drawn in again to the characters and their struggles and I remembered how much I love them. I know that sounds kind of silly, but I really do.
Now, it’s a lot of waiting. I’m told the cover will be finished soon and I am keenly and anxiously excited to see that. June 1st is seeming so far away.
Thanks to everyone for the support and encouragement. I have been so grateful for your comments and emails. And, not just the comments. All of you that come by to my blog each week, thank you! Simply seeing you show up in the traffic report makes me feel good.
Remember--Amazon is offering a 33% discount on the book right now.
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