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My first YA novel DJ Rising was recently released so I guess it's fair to say that I'm a fiction writer. But at the same time I kind of don't consider myself a writer at all. Blogging definitely isn't easy for me, but we'll see how it goes... ;-)

Monday

THE BEST BIRTHDAY GIFT EVER


How many authors can say their first novel came out on their birthday?


ME! ME! I can say it! But seriously though, how crazy is that? DJ Rising was due out on February 6th, but my editor told me a lot of bookstores don’t wait for the exact release date and put the book on the shelves on the 1st of the month, which just happens to also be my birthday.

Knowing this, we called Book Passage on Feb. 1st to check. They were like, “Yeah, we have that book, we just put it out.” Sure enough, they had a little display of my book near the front of the store since I was doing a signing there on Feb. 7th.

I don’t know how it is for other authors when their first book is published. I don’t have any friends who are authors so I have no one else to compare myself to or exchange stories with (which sucks by the way). But for me, all those incredible “moments,” that go along with making your dream of getting your first book published come true, weren't moments at all.

I’d imagined what the moment when my agent first told me a big publisher had bought my book would feel like a million times, but when it finally happened, it didn’t feel like a moment at all. I was incredibly happy, but not even all that surprised since we’d been in discussions with them for so long by then. 

The first time I saw my book in print I definitely didn’t have a moment. I was actually really embarrassed by the cover of my advanced reading copy. It was so awful I could barely stand to look at it. It had this crooked, barely legible rainbow light lettering on it that looked like a jacked up neon sign created by a first grader (no offense to first graders) and had a lone shadow dude in the background that was supposed to be a DJ, but had no turntables, no headphones, nothing whatsoever to identify him as a DJ. He wasn't a DJ at all. What he was, was that creepy guy you occasionally see in the club dancing by himself on an empty dance floor. The one everybody stays far away from because he might be a serial killer? Yup, that's who they put on my cover. They didn't even get my name right on the first version of the cover they sent me and had to fix it.

The thing is, authors have no control over their book covers by contract. Most people don't realize that, I know I didn't. But yeah, never judge an author by his or her cover because more often than not, they had nothing to do with it. If I’d had control over mine, I would have burned it to ash. Being that I couldn't burn it, and it was being distributed to hundreds of people looking like a hot mess, seeing my book in print for the first time as an advanced reading copy was actually a bad moment.

When the final book arrived, well, no, actually I didn’t have a moment then either. I just felt really relieved at how much better it looked than the advanced reading copy cover and grateful to my publisher Little, Brown for allowing me to have some input and letting me find them a great artist and eventually agreeing to give the whole cover an overall (the equivalent of burning it). I'm good with my cover now. But for some reason it still wasn't a moment for me seeing it and holding it for the first time.

February 1st, 2012, was my moment. I stood in the middle of Book Passage bookstore on my birthday, clutching two copies of DJ Rising, a book with a bunch of words in it I’d made up that someone thought worth publishing, and I finally got it. It was suddenly clear to me how crazy and amazing and unreal the whole thing was. That I’d spent many years fighting for a dream which had very suddenly and very finally come true. I started getting all misty eyed for the first time and finally experienced that moment. It sounds sort of self-serving, but in a totally crazy, coincidental way, I guess I gave myself the best birthday gift ever.


Here's me, about to buy my own book. YAY, happy birthday!

1 comment:

  1. So happy for you. Just started your book today! :)

    ReplyDelete