Yes, the galley proof for my first novel arrived yesterday.
It has been available as an e-book for a few months now and I have test prints of the cover. I knew what it would look like and had very detailed knowledge of what would be inside. Nothing went terribly wrong in the printing process and there were no big surprises. I will be going over it and fixing a few minor problems this week, then it will be released for sale.
I am of two minds today. One is the patient, plodding aspect that has seen me through the development of this project. Yes, there is still more work to be done, and the next indicated action afterward. Stuff happens, but life continues.
The other part of my mind is exuberant. I keep picking the book up and holding it in my hands. I just can’t believe it is real. I want to laugh and cry and show it to all my friends.
Books have always meant a lot to me. I had trouble learning to read at first but grew to love the work of Dr Seuss. Later, I advanced to the works of E.B. White, Roald Dahl, Margurite Henry, and Walter Farley. These writers and many others whom I would never get to meet in person entertained and inspired me, improved my vocabulary and taught me something about the world. Their works were some of the best loved gifts under the Christmas tree, and the most enduring. Many were passed on to my nieces and nephews, then purchased anew when I had kids of my own.
I used to read to my children, then in the evenings I would read to myself. Science fiction and fantasy, poetry and mythology, comics and satire. Late at night or early on weekend mornings, I would write stories of my own. I would name the author I was reading as who I wanted to be when I grew up.
It’s something I still do. The truth is I want to write as wonderfully as they do. I want to write dark and beautiful fantasy like Neil Gaiman, action and adventure like Stephan Brust, humor like Terry Pratchett. Sadly, I can’t write like them. I can only write like Elizabeth Toll. I hope it’s good enough.
People talk about how important books are for kids, but they seldom acknowledge that they are beneficial for adults as well. Grownups, like kids, often feel lonesome and socially awkward. They move to new towns, take on new jobs, watch their kids grow up and move away, and find themselves at loose ends, wondering what to do next. It has happened to me many times.
A book is the voice of another human being saying “Hi, we have something in common and you are not terminally unique.” Whether I like the book or not, I usually learn something about myself and enjoy the company they offer. If I really love the book, the author’s name will ever after make me smile, like a favorite relative or a kindly stranger who did me a good turn. In their own way, they did.
So now, here I am with this book, this bound copy with my name on it as the author. I find myself smiling at the grandiose idea that maybe this will somehow carry the legacy forward, doing for someone else what has been done for me. In today’s publishing world it is a mere message in a bottle, tossed upon a literary sea. It may be wildly successful or disappear beneath the ocean. It may prove indecipherable to some, but it may find readers who enjoy it, who cherish it, who share it with others.
Either way, these are my words, frozen in time. I’m a little afraid for them, but I’m also proud, very proud. My baby is all grown up and getting ready to venture out into the world. I wish it well.
ROW80 Update : Old Goals
- Average ½ hour a day working on new novel. Done.
- Average ½ hour a day on promotion and blogs. Done
- Finish reading a book and write a review. Nope
- Outline the sequel for Hunt Club and be ready to write it by November. This is in progress.
1) Read Hunt Club proof, fix any final errors and approve for final release to print. This is new but takes priority.
That’s my report for this week. To any reading, I hope you are making progress on all you wish to achieve too.