Today, Pretty Crooked is finally published. I am a bona fide author. It finally feels real. Well, kinda.
In the year leading up to publication there are so many firsts, so many little milestones. There’s the cover reveal, the day your ARCs arrive. The first blurb (yay!). The first negative review (boo!). With each new event you feel yourself changing, and you understand the process in new ways. And yet, the concept that a word-processing file you typed up is going to be a thing, a product other people can actually buy and read and discuss and yes, maybe even smack-talk on Goodreads, doesn’t always feel real. Maybe this is because it’s always been a dream, something you aspire to but don’t necessarily expect to happen.
For me, there were a few key (and seemingly random) moments on the timeline that brought it home, bit by bit.
July, 2011: Doing my first interview. When Jen Bigheart asked me for an interview after my cover reveal I was surprised and elated and all of a sudden aware that Pretty Crooked was now something some people (granted, at that point, only a few savvy bloggers) might actually be anticipating.
August, 2011. Attending SCBWI-LA. This was my first national conference and my first one as an Apocalypsie. Meeting some of my fellow Apocs plus other authors and librarians gave me a true sense of belonging. It was moving, and very exciting. Also, I started to pass out cards with the title of the book, literally making it my calling card. (Six months later, a librarian I happened to be sitting next to during a session blogged about the book. Magic!)
August, 2011: Attending the PAYA Festival in West Chester, PA. For the first time, someone casually introduced me as “author of Pretty Crooked.” A wave of dizziness, a flash of surprise (OMG, that's me!) and a huge first.
January, 2012. Standing in front of a shelf in Barnes & Noble and seeing six fellow Apocs’ books displayed. Realizing that each of these people had gone through the debut year and here was the fruit of their labor, suddenly touchable, in Technicolor. Awesome and tear-jerking.
February, 2012. Buying Sharpies. (Actually, standing in Staples and obsessing over the various colors and nib widths and variety packs available. Could they make it any more confusing?) A small moment, to be sure, but a new feeling of ownership. My book would be here in a month and people were going to ask me to sign it. I was going to need these things.
And now, today. There will be lots of Tweeting and Facebooking and celebration, I’m sure. There will also plenty of other firsts over the next few months to look forward to. And I guess whether or not it “feels” real is kind of beside the point now—because it most definitely is. Whoa.