Oh you guys, what a year. Way back in January when the Night Bazaar first started up, the August publication date of The Whitefire Crossing felt so far away. Heck, I hadn’t even officially signed the contract (my agent & Night Shade were still hammering out details), I hadn’t yet gotten an edit letter…I kept thinking I’d wake up and find out the whole book deal thing was all a dream, or maybe one of those Candid Camera-style jokes.
And now here we are, end of December. The book’s been on shelves for months, and I have honest-to-gosh reviews and emails from readers and pictures and everything to prove to myself that yes, I am a published author.
Yet sometimes it still feels unreal. I’ve had a lot of people ask how publication has made a difference to my writing, and my life. I think they’re hoping that I’ll say that now every day is rainbows and sunshine, that I attack the blank page full of unshakeable confidence in my own prose.
I’m sure you won’t be surprised if I say: oh hell no. I still have good days and bad. Days when the words dance on the page and days when I’m convinced my writing is complete and utter crap. As for life…that hasn’t really changed, either. Aside from the new time-management issues, of course, but I’ve already talked about those ad nauseum. Well, and aside from the few weeks surrounding Whitefire’s actual release, when I turned into a insane gibbering google-stalking manic depressive mess – one moment high as a kite (“Somebody loved Whitefire, it is the best day ever!”), the next moment weeping and devouring salted caramels (“Look at my horrible Amazon ranking! Nobody has bought my book in HOURS! Nobody will buy my book EVER AGAIN!”). I think my husband and friends deserve medals for putting up with me. Thankfully, sanity reasserted itself in the end – after all, you can only hit refresh obsessively so many times before you get carpal tunnel syndrome and have to leave that keyboard ALONE.
That said, every time I step back and think about The Whitefire Crossing being out in the world – think about people reading it and enjoying the world and characters I love so much – oh, I feel so damn lucky. Or no, lucky’s not the right word: blessed. Every moment of hard work and stress was worth it, knowing I’ve given other people a little of the same delight I’ve had in reading fantasy novels.
But mostly here I am, same as ever, writing the story I most want to read, and hoping maybe other people will share my taste enough to enjoy it too. Like so many other writers out there, I keep struggling to balance writing and family and work and life and not make sacrifices I’ll regret.
The one piece of advice I’d give debut authors relating to the personal side of things is this: don’t be afraid to let yourself fully experience every bit of both highs and lows. Because yes, there will be lows along with the highs…but that’s okay. You can’t have one without the other. So let yourself go a little crazy during your book’s release. Your first novel only hits the shelves once, and you’ll calm down soon enough.
I was going to save all my blog-related thank-yous for next week when I do my final post…but honestly, I can’t talk about this past year without talking about the Night Bazaar. It’s been such a huge and wonderful part of the publishing experience for me – you have to understand, before this, I’d never blogged, didn’t know many other writers, felt like a total newbie to all things publishing.
It’s been incredibly cool to get to know my fellow Night Bazaar folks over the course of this year – so a huge thank you to Kameron, Stina, Brad, Katy, John, Thomas, and Martha. Thanks for signing up for the blog, posting week in and week out, and for sharing all your advice, thoughts and adventures along the way. I can definitely say the blog’s been everything I hoped for when I first broached the idea with Stina, Brad, and Martha way back at WFC in 2010! I’m thrilled we’ve made it the full year (almost! One week left!), and I’m super excited that Night Shade is officially taking over and you blog readers will get to experience a whole new slate of authors sharing their experiences. So thanks to everyone – Night Bazaar denizens, guest posters, and blog readers alike! This year wouldn’t have been half so much fun without you.