I was contemplating the time course of novel-publishing the other day, after someone asked me an interview question about how long it will have taken to get my book into the world. The short answer: it's slow. The long answer: one year to write, one year to edit and have other people critique, one and a half years to get picked up by an agent and a publisher, and two years between signing the contract and finally holding the hardcover book in my hands, which will happen on the glorious date of February 13th, 2018.
I'm in the homestretch, finally. Six months to go. And now things are getting more exciting: we are planning parties and bookstore signings. I'm meeting with publicity people in Charlotte and New York. The review copies are printed, and somewhere out there, for the first time, people I don't know are reading it. As a first-time author, this is enjoyable beyond all description.
People have been unbelievably kind to me throughout this process, offering their time, their analyses, their expertise and support and friendship, until I'm drowning in a happy sea of generosity. At heart, I believe, most human beings possess a fundamental core of goodwill. I've learned people love to see the realization of someone's dreams, especially since all of us have some cherished, secret, inner wish of our own. And we like a longshot, too: it makes us even happier to see someone achieve their goals when we know the odds are against them. I'll say this: for every success I've had, I've failed ten or twenty or a hundred times along the way. I used to hear the ping of my email inbox and immediately feel my cheeks flame, knowing I was about to get walloped by another rejection. Every tiny triumph required a ridiculous amount of perseverance, sometimes to the point where I longed to quit just so I could dodge the sting of another incoming smackdown.
I know this sounds a bit grandiose. I wrote a goofy novel; I haven't cured cancer or achieved cold fusion or done anything to better the course of human history. And I also know there is plenty of soul-sucking failure to come as I face the realities of sales numbers and negative reviews and the inevitable haters of the book.
But sometimes you gotta stop and celebrate. I am one step closer to accomplishing my personal dream, and today, it feels really good.