Monday, November 7, 2011

Book Release Day!

Today, I released my first book for publication.  I can't believe it.  I've been writing for ten years.  Ten years.  I never thought this day would come.

I've written several books by now.   I've submitted to hundreds of agents and publishers.  I've drafted dozens of query letters, experienced the terror of pitching face-to-face with agents and editors at conferences.  I've gone to countless workshops, joined writers' groups, and made a couple life-long friends along the way.  But basically I've spent a lot of the last ten years with my computer and my characters.

Am I crazy?

Maybe.  For years after graduating college, I woke up at 5AM to write before work.  At the end of the day, I would come home and head back to my computer.  I was sure that one day, all my hard work would pay off.  But then something happened.  About a year ago, I stopped writing.  It came on gradually.  So gradually, I wasn't even aware of it at first.  I'm not even sure what happened.  The stories were still there.  The characters were waving their arms, trying to get me to notice them.  But I couldn't hear them.

All I could hear was the rejection--that paralyzing reality that maybe all the agents and editors I submitted to were right.  I wasn't good enough.  Suddenly, nothing I wrote was good enough.  I would try to write, but everything I wrote I deleted.  Every page, every paragraph, every sentence, every word. 

I had lived, breathed, slept, sweated, bled writing for so long and suddenly it just wasn't going to happen.  I let that black cloud take root inside me and I dug the printed manuscripts out of my closet and threw them in the trash.  I balled up the hundreds of rejection letters I'd received and I burned them.  I deleted every single email I'd received from an agent or editor, even the good ones where they tell you you're a great writer in the same sentence they reject you.

Then I deleted the spreadsheet that contained all my notes tracking my submissions and responses.  This was a list I had compiled over years of research.  What was the point in keeping it?  I closed the computer, told the characters to shut up, and moved on. 

It's a strange feeling to step outside your door and realize how much time you have when you're not spending it writing books.  I did a lot of peculiar things to fill that void: I read an entire John Steinbeck box set my uncle gave me for Christmas (one right after the other), I applied to grad school, and I signed up for an Olympic distance triathlon.

But there was something wrong.  Something missing.  And, a year later, after a bizarre turn of events had me moving into a new house that looks more like a fairy tale cottage than a typical DC shared home, suddenly, all I wanted to do was write. 

But it had been so long...  What if I couldn't?

Apprehensively, I re-opened the draft of my favorite manuscript, The Selkie Spell.  Expecting to hate it, as I had hated every word I'd written those last few months before I stopped, I peeked with one eye at the words on the screen.  And something strange happened.

They weren't terrible.  Some of them were actually kind of good.   

And I realized something.  I don't want to keep this story hidden anymore.  I worked really hard on this book.  I love this book.  More than anything I've ever written.  I'm sure it needs work.  I'm sure my writing will improve as I mature and experience more of life.  But I don't want this book to die in a sea of forgotten files.  I want it to live.  I want it to get out there and dance with the other books authors are uploading and self-publishing and putting their hearts and souls behind.  It deserves that. 

And so do I.

The Selkie Spell:
 


6 comments:

  1. Loved your post. So excited for you! Am reading The Selkie Spell now on my Kindle and loving it!! And I know I've already used the word "love" twice here, but I LOVE your cover!!

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  2. That's awesome! Can't wait to read it. I know what you mean about the rejections, lol. Best of luck to you!!!

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  3. Oh Sophie! I am so proud of you!

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  4. Just finished your book. 5 stars!! I'm ready for the next one....get writing!

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  5. I am so excited to download your book to my Kindle! Congratulations on publishing your first book, what an incredible accomplishment!

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  6. Wow, I just read this post after reading the second book in your Seal Island Trilogy, THE SELKIE ENCHANTRESS, which is hands-down the BEST book I've read all year! I love that book so much I want to have a paperback copy so I can hold it & then tuck it under my pillow at night and let it fill my dreams. Your wriiting is so lyrical & beautiful that it cuts straight to my soul. Thank you for not giving up & for sharing your books with the world. That took incredible heart, and beleive me, your brave heart shows up on every page. These stories aren't just books--they are true gifts to the world.

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