24 March 2014

The 21 Month Pregnancy

For those of you who only read the Pregnancy part of the title, don’t get excited. I’m talking about a book. Sheesh, nosy people.

Most traditionally published authors can lament a long pregnancy before their first book comes out. It’s the nature of the beast—you write a manuscript (like 18 drafts of said manuscript), revise it, revise it again, query it, get polite rejections, revise it again, more queries, toss said manuscript into the “I don’t want to think about you ever again” pile, finally get an acceptance letter, pee your pants (optional, a huge squee can be substituted), try to maintain a cool demeanor as you send your acceptance speech (er, e-mail), and then you wait.

The publisher will taunt you with things like links to secret Facebook pages for the publishing house, info for other authors, contracts, informative phone calls, and—if you’ve been a very good author—a release book for your baby!

Er, book.

A release date that may, or may not, be subject to change. Oh joy.

And so you wait. And wish. And envision just how much your book is going to revolutionize the world!

Because it is. It has too. You’ve poured time, effort, tears, pains, missed social gatherings, most of the sleep you could have gotten and your soul into this book.

I don’t have kids, but it sounds pretty similar to me.

Like a good friend, your publisher will distract you with things like edits. Those will get your heart pumping. The e-mail might say, “Hey, just a few things to look at. We need this back in two weeks.”

A small heart attack will surly ensue, and if you’re brave you’ll click on the attachment. If bravery isn’t your forte, then you’ll wait until you’ve drown yourself in either alcohol or chocolate before you open it.

Because the mental image that comes to you is that of a really big “X” through most of your manuscript with notes saying, “This doesn’t work,” or, “You lost your momentum on page 3,” or, “You should consider taking this character out or turn him into the bad guy.”

Thus the numbing agents beforehand.

Those two weeks meld into one big writing fest. Your loved ones shoo the rest of the world away and simply throws food and caffeine into the office through a small hole in the wall.

I won’t go into the gruesome details, but you get the gist.

The poor author once again has to pour life, limb and soul into the manuscript, somehow making it better than it was in it’s already perfected state, and then they send it back to the editors.

And wait.

Editors are notorious for silence when you really want them to speak, and too much information when you just want to curl up and cry.

Love them. Really.

At this point, as an author, you’ll probably feel like those adorable ladies who are 8 ½ months pregnant with twins—barely waddling about and with little interest in anything but “Get it out!”

Or so I’ve heard.

Then, for various industry reasons (which are out of everyone’s control, but you’ll still want to kicks someone in the face) you’re due date will move.

This generally provokes a mental break down or two. Lots of tears, and the loved ones backing away slowly.

Once you’ve recovered, and the publisher isn’t afraid to call you  anymore, a cover reveal comes along. You’ll print out copies and cover one wall of your office with them. Much like a baby shower, you get oohs and ahhs from all sorts of people, but nothing to do with them yet.

Finally, if you’ll allow me, your water breaks, and the Advance Reader Copies (ARCs) arrive.

Oh the joy! It’s like a book—YOUR book—but not quite. It’s real, you can smell it, stroke it, love it, drool on it, sleep with it as a pillow and randomly open it to see if each and every sentence is as stellar as you remember, but it’s still not quite the real thing.

So close, but so far away.

And then, like every expectant mother will tell you, the time comes.

It’s here.

Holy cow, how did that happen? Don’t I still have months and months to put together a blog tour, clever Facebook campaigns, funny Tweets that are sure to draw every single reader of your genre in the world?

The nursery isn’t even ready!

Oh, sorry, I mean I don’t have a fancy pen for signing. Or an outfit for the launch party. And I don’t even want to think about my hair.

Can’t someone else handle all of this while I work on book 2?

My 21 month pregnancy is almost over. My first YA novel, New Sight, comes out in less than a month!

I can’t wait.

And I’m not ready!

But here we go. Hold on folks, because this is going to be awesome!

Check back later this week for some character bios.

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