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Sunday, October 18, 2009

Step By Step

I'm not sure how it is for other writers, but for me, there are steps to a book feeling real. Simply writing a story, sending it to my editor, doing revisions, and edits isn't enough to make it feel as if it's a tangible thing. Maybe that's why I get so excited at the little steps along the way that make it feel solid.

The first step is when I receive galleys. This is a test print of the book from the printer, a last chance to go over it and correct any errors. Because it's a run off the printer, it looks like an unbound book, with 2 book pages on an 11 x 8.5 inch sheet of paper. Seeing my name, my book title, the copyright date, and my words all typeset is a big deal.

The second thing that makes a book feel tangible is when I receive a jpg of my book cover. It makes it even better when it's a cover I think is great, like the one I received for In the Darkest Night. This is a pretty big step on my reality scale because no matter how many stories I wrote before I sold my first book, none of them had covers, they were my words and nothing else.

Not that it isn't a big deal to finish a book--it is, because that is not an easy task--but I'd done that more than once before I sold. So yes, a cover makes it feel more like there is going to be an actual book. And when the cover is good, it's also fun to share it with others, both online and with friends.

Step three to feeling real just happened this past week--my book went up for preorder on Amazon. Yes, you can now go and order your very own copy of In the Darkest Night. I need to go over there and post a little about the book so people have a blurb to go by, but I've been hard at work writing and haven't taken the time.

BTW, Amazon is always the first of the online booksellers to post a new book listing so that's why they get the shout out rather than, Borders, or BAMM. It is also exciting to see the book appear on these other sites, but it's not as big a thrill as the first showing.

These steps are all helpful, but the book seriously doesn't feel 100% tangible until I'm holding it in my hand. When my author copies first come, I walk around with a copy. I keep picking it up, opening it to scan this section or that. Usually I sit down and read the book when I first get it. It's my chance to visit with my hero and heroine without having to work. At this point, it's sheer enjoyment reading their story.

Or almost. I always find things that bug me in my own work like duplicate words that I missed the bazillion times I've gone through the manuscript. Mostly, though, I can cringe and move on because I love seeing my h/h again. I miss them when they leave.

BTW, when I received author copies of my first book back in 2002, I walked around with a copy everywhere I went for two weeks. That's how long it took before I believed that I really had a book published. Sometimes when I read my work, it still feels hard to believe that my stories are right there for the world to share. How cool is that?