When I last left off (click here to read Part 1), I had received my first book review for A Work of Art—a starred review from Kirkus Reviews. I was riding high, and then…
Two months before pub date: Other reviews trickled in. I got a really good one from Booklist but a scathing one from another reviewer. Hmmm. Could it be that different people have different opinions? Reviews from book bloggers were mostly positive, but that painful review felt like a stab in the gut.
Fear of negative feedback made me less enthusiastic about sending out ARCs (advanced reader copies), but I did send one to the high-school librarian at my son’s school in hopes that she would at least stock one or two of my books in the library. I told her, “I know it’s a tough subject and the book isn’t for everyone, so no worries if it’s not for you.” This was right on the heels of that not-so-positive review. I didn’t hear anything from her for over the next month, so I figured she didn’t like it (maybe it was too disturbing for her taste?) and tried not to let it bother me.
On the plus side, Amazon and my publisher added some really cool features to my book page where you could click on the cover and read the first two chapters. They also put up my starred Kirkus review, so any time I needed an ego boost, I could go to my Amazon page and remind myself that I was a real author instead of an imposter.
Around this time, I also started planning a book-launch party At first, I felt totally overwhelmed. Was I on some sort of ego trip to plan myself a party? Would people actually come? What, exactly, goes on at a book-launch party? And how in the world am I going to decorate, because I am SO not a decorator? I’m happy to say that after doing some research and getting help and support from friends, the party plans are coming together. I’ll let you know how the event turns out, but in the meantime, you can click here to read more about the plans.
Five weeks before pub date: I got my author copies in the mail! A whole box of them! Complete with a jacket cover and author pic and everything! This was a moment I’d been dreaming of ever since I saw Back to the Future—that scene at the end of the movie when Marty’s dad goes to his door and opens a box of his books. His family is so proud, and so was mine!
Four weeks before pub date: A friend who preordered on Amazon received her copy in the mail. I knew Amazon sent out books up to a month before the actual release date, but getting confirmation that my book was going out into the world was a huge deal for me. A few days later, I got to sign a book for the first time. (Side note: I didn’t realize how sloppy my handwriting was until I signed my name in someone’s book. I’ve since practiced my signature.)
Three weeks before pub date: Remember that librarian I gave the ARC to? She emailed me and asked how I felt about her parent YA book club reading A Work of Art for their next selection. And oh, by the way, would I like to come to the meeting? Are you kidding me?! Being able to share my book with other moms in an official “I’m-a-real-author” kind of way is an amazing feeling—something I daydreamed about but never thought would happen. Of course, at this point I don’t know if they’ll like it. The HS librarian said she loved it, as did the elementary school librarian at my son’s school where I volunteer, but there’s always that niggling doubt that what I’ve done isn’t quite good enough. I know some of these moms will love it and some will like it and some will be “Eh, whatever.” But I’m assuming the “Eh, whatever” people won’t rip me to shreds, at least to my face. The book club meeting happens on March 18 (my book release day), and I’ll let you know how it went.
By the way, my work in progress is coming along. I have probably another forty pages to complete the first draft, but with all the marketing and planning I’ve been doing, it’s harder to find time to write.
A Debut Author’s Countdown to Publication will continue in part 3