In just over a month, my book will be out on its own in the big, wide Technicolor world, the thought of which fills me with equal parts terror and exhilaration. Even though I’ve been a writer almost as long as I can remember and I’ve written a bit of everything—magazine features, ad copy, short stories—I’ve found that I’m still not quite used to this moment of revelation. And when it comes to a novel—the culmination of years of work—the experience is a bit like being picked up by the tornado and dumped with a thud into Oz. You have no idea what kind of reception you’re going to get when you step through that door.
That’s why I am thankful for three wonderful authors– Susan Vreeland, Ann B. Ross and Amy Willoughby-Burle–who took time to read The Button Collector and write encouraging blurbs to accompany my book on its journey. I’ll fight the temptation to call them good witches, but they are truly mentors for me and I will always be grateful.
Now my book is making its way through the land of advance reviewers, and again I feel like Dorothy. Will these people I’ve never met find anything of value in my words? Will they be kindly tin woodsmen willing to walk with me or ruthless flying monkeys swooping down, creating havoc?
Of course, they are neither. They are readers. Honest readers. Honest readers with honest opinions . . . and preferences and histories that might be very different from my own. And, as scary as the prospect is, it’s those differences that offer the greatest potential . Because I actually have a pretty good sense for how readers like me will view my book, but readers who are different in some way? Those are the people who can offer new perspectives and may even see things in my story that I overlooked, just as Dorothy overlooked what she had on the farm.
On Monday, the first advance review for The Button Collector was published by Book Diva. I felt deep relief when I read it and learned that one more reader found meaning in what I have written. Beyond that, I was happily surprised that Book Diva focused on an aspect of the book that I had not paid a lot of attention to—the theme of thriftiness in terms of recycling and reusing both physical materials and memories. This is an angle I like, one that adds depth to my more conscious design of repair and renewal through creative acts.
How awesome is that, to learn something about your own book from a stranger?
So now I wait for more advance reviews to appear, and I feel something in addition to weak-kneed fear and trembling. . . the almost pleasant anticipation of things wildly unforeseeable.
Because, as I follow the publishing road—and-I-know-you’ve-been-waiting-for-this-since-you-started-reading-the-post—I’ve a feeling we’re not in Kansas anymore.
The Button Collector will be released May 6, 2013, by PageSpring Publishing’s Cup of Tea Books. Read the complete endorsements by Susan Vreeland, Ann B. Ross and Amy Willoughby-Burle. And be sure to visit Book Diva for her full review of this and other brainy, courageous, heart-filled books.