Thursday, June 21, 2007

Book Birthday!!!


This is it! Today's the day. My book is born.

I have a huge knot in my stomach. I don't know why. I mean, nothing "happens" today. It's really just another day, and I am in the middle of writing a very fun scene for Silksinger, but my mind keeps wandering. As if something is going to happen. Some mysterious surprising thing. But it's not. I feel very weird. Today would be a good day to go for a long hike in a remote place, actually, and just breathe and look at the sky and maybe take a nap on a warm rock, like a lizard. Try not to wonder what is going on in the bookstores of America.

Most blogs I've read or interviews I've heard, writers just seem so happy and grateful to have a book published, and I am totally happy and grateful, but I'm also anxious and. . . sheepish. There's this whole thing, all throughout the process, of learning to keep excitement in check. It's not just the publishing process, it's sort of the whole process of trying to make a creative career happen. You send out postcards of your art work to publishers and try not to expect to get any response, because you probably won't. You submit stuff to contests and annuals, and try not to get excited. The first time I got a call from an art director wanting to hire me. . . that was a moment when excitement was allowed to actually bubble forth -- it was great! And with the sale of Blackbringer, there were lots of mini-moments of almost-excitement, interspersed with fretting and incredulity -- you know, I'd had a lot of experience with tamping down the excitement by then, and I started to experience this weird detatchment, like I didn't even know what moments were genuine excitement moments anymore! So weird! And a year and half has passed since selling the book to Putnam. A year and a half!

    My most memorable moments of the past year and a half:

  • getting my first editorial letter. . . It was really, really short and I thought that meant my book was perfect {heh heh} and didn't need much editing. Well, that was only the first editorial letter!

  • going into the Penguin offices in New York and meeting everybody! Champagne lunch with my editor and publisher (and my husband/illustrator). WOW! I felt very special! (But the very next day, I was unable to get into the "pro" party at a writing conference because my book wasn't published yet. Un-special!)

  • speaking at ALA Midwinter. That was awesome. The most pure and undiluted pleasure I think I've felt during the entire journey. Thank you, librarians. I love you. And what a perfect first signing it was -- a huge line of librarians with my book in their hands! Pinch me! No wait -- don't pinch me. It's too good.

  • reading my first review, and loving librarians even more!

  • getting a photo of my first-ever child reader dressed up as Magpie Windwitch for Purim! (Her attention to detail was fabulous! My character was really out in the world -- a child had dressed up as my character!!)

  • speaking at the library in Topeka, Kansas, when the teenagers in the audience actually lined up to buy my book after! The whole sheepish thing, I had prepared myself for no one to buy it, and then they did!!


I might be forgetting something. I probably am. The thing I'm thinking about today a lot is how many writers and artists I've heard speak who have said that the very most important thing is to love the work itself -- that everything else is just gravy. And it has to be true. It really has to be. Because the excitement moments, when they come, glorious as they are, are not enough to buoy you through the uncertainty and the waiting. You have to actually love doing it -- that's what gets you through. Being lost in the world of the next book on the day the first one comes out. Thinking ahead to a lifetime of books, to the steady building of an oeuvre, one book at a time, and savoring those moments when the outside world comes in contact with the internal world, the thing that is born in my head. And only in my head. That's what's great, really. Like the famous quote by Martha Graham:

". . . because there is only one of you in all of time [your] expression is unique, and if you block it, it will never exist through any other medium and be lost. The world will not have it!"


So, happy book birthday to me!

41 comments:

Neil said...

I'm truly excited for you. And you deserve your success!

Alexandra S said...

HAPPY BOOK BIRTHDAY FATTY!!!!! I am excited enough for both of us with David's 15 copies sitting on my coffee table for you to sign tonight! I promise you an interview unlike any other you will experience ever again so dress appropriately, get a good nap in this afternoon, bring me a tupperware of 0 point soup so that I don't eat the tasty waves of appetizers-seriously please!, and know that this is a very huge day because now millions of little grubby hands can get their paws on their own copy of Blackbringer! I'm so happy and proud of you! See you shortly !

davesap said...

Happy book birthday from our family as well. I forgot to ask you a question, perhaps it is on Alexandra's list: Did your love of knitting lead to the Blackbringer motif or did the motif lead you to knitting?

We are looking forward to the world tour so long as you don't bring any tornados here.

liz elayne said...

we are devouring our copy here at our house...and i won't tell jon what happens next even when he wants me too!

i am so happy for you! enjoy this book BIRTH day!

Disco Mermaids said...

What an amazing and beautifully written post!

"...savoring those moments when the outside world comes in contact with the internal world..." Wow!

I'm going to make sure all of my local bookstores have copies in stock.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!

- Jay

Amber said...

I am savoring each bit like a piece of fine dark chocolate. I want to read it slowly so I don't find myself, at the end of the day, with no more words left.

I got the book last night and am thoroughly enjoying it. :-) I can tell you really enjoyed writing it, as well.

Happy Birthday, Blackbringer!

Colorado Writer said...

HAPPY BOOK DAY!

This is an exciting moment. Your baby is now out in the world!

Savor it!

Mardougrrl said...

A million happy birthdays to your book! I cannot wait to read it. :)

I am beyond thrilled for you, BEYOND THRILLED! xoxo, M

LindaBudz said...

Congratulations, Laini, and thanks for this peek into the life of the newly published author!!

what'sinyoursoul said...

Happy Book Birthday, Faeries of Dreamdark! What a wonderful day. I'm savoring your book. And thanks for this post! It seems like every stage of writing has its sturm und drang. I'm in the sturm myself (and crossing every possible finger)!

Holly

Rilla said...

Summer solstice...what a wonderful time to give birth. May your book usher in the golden summer of your ouvre ;) Congratulations!

Kim G. said...

Happy, happy day! We're headed to Powell's with the kiddos tomorrow to get our copy! The car's in the shop or we'd go today! :-( Enjoy every moment of this great event - you have earned it!

kelly rae said...

i totally get what you are saying about the excitement. it all comes in spurts. and then the acutal moment comes and it's weird!!! yay for you. this has been so exciting as a friend of yours this past year to watch it all unfold! you are amazing! i will go out and buy it TODAY!!!!

deirdre said...

Do you know that you are the first real published author I've known, in person? I got all goosebumpy when I bought your book today, like I'd stumbled into a magical realm. Happy, happy book birth day to you.

Heather said...

Looking forward to grabbing it off the shelf just as soon as I get my self to the bookstore! Wonderful! Congrats! Savour! Marinate! Ruminate! Drink! Enjoy!

HipWriterMama said...

congratulations!

Caty said...

Congratulations Laini!That is great! Donb't worry, is like anything finally accomplish (I am thinking about writting thesis...not the same...but a never ending thing...)you will get used to it soon and enjoy it!

Fiona said...

Congratulations! Go get excited - you deserve it!

Left-handed Trees... said...

HAPPY Birthday, Blackbringer! I hope you got a hike in and if not, go and get one...drink a tall glass of wine (champagne?). You've had a dream, chased it down, dragged it home and succeeded already! (you inspire me--now, get out there and keep shopping for daggers)
Love,
D.

Sweet Pea said...

Oh I know what you mean about that feeling of detachment when it comes to your work. But today you deserve to be excited - Happy Book Birthday to you!

Jordan E. Rosenfeld said...

Oh what a delicious day! Enjoy it. And you know what, maybe something IS going to happen :)

TadMack said...

Happy day-after-book Birthday!
Isn't it funny how you get into that habit of keeping the excitement on the down-low? People seem to think I'm kind of nuts because I don't squeal more -- but it does take so much time. I expect to be feeling like this next Spring, and again in the Summer, but hopefully I'll learn, like you, when to cut loose.

Congratulations, and I'll be looking for your book!

Joy said...

I think I might just have to go get a copy of this book of yours and read it. It looks good!

Amber said...

Ok, so I couldn't eat it up slowly like fine chocolate as intded... I gobbled it up like a half-starved Borneo monkey in a berry tree. It's fantastic!

Kim G. said...

Laini - I just put a post on my blog about our trip to buy Blackbringer with pictures of the kiddos with their prized copy! :)

gerry rosser said...

Many happies to you.
Congrats.

Sam said...

That is the awesomist!!!!!!!

Jone said...

Happy book birthday. I am picking up my copy today.

Rhonda the Stitchingnut said...

Happy B'day! Amazon notified me that mine has been shipped. Hope you come to New England for a book signing some day. Maybe Salem, MA or even Boston or Cambridge? [we have a WONDERFUL yarn shop in Salem also]

Enjoy the excitement ... even if it's just on the inside.

Deb R said...

Congrats, Laini! I hope you're enjoying every moment.

Amber said...

Aw, Laini! It is HUGE! A HUGE DAY! I am so excited for you. Wow.
I plan to take a break from all the cleaning and packing, head to Borders for a coffee...and hang out by the stacks of your book, telling all how much they will love it! I am GREAT at this! :)
I can't wait to read it!

:)Yay!

mushroommeadows said...

Congratulations!

Melba said...

Happy Book Birthday to you Laini!!!
Many More to Come!!!

XO,
Melba

Aithbhreac said...

Congratulations! As a fellow Portlander I am most excited to read your book, having been following your blog/participating in Sunday Scribblings. Looks like all the locations of Multomah Public Library have a copy on order, and I put a hold on one today. There was already one hold already!

annie said...

Go wild! Or rather, hope you went wild! Enjoy it all.

Eileen said...

Congratulations! Can't wait to get a copy of your book. I have 3 girls who love to read and I know this is the type of book they will love. Here's to many, many more!

megg said...

HEY!!!

CONGRATULATIONS TO YOU!!!! I wish I could take you out for a birthday party! I'm waiting in anxious anticipation for my pre-ordered copy to arrive!! You are my first really-real author, you know!!!

turquoise cro said...

CAWWWWWWWW CAWWWWWWWWW!!! to one crow lover from another and to all sweet faerie lovers!!! My crows on my hill in West Virginia are very EXCITED and wanted me to tell YOU, "Congratulations!!!" I just got my book today in the mail and I'm on page 33!!! I LOVE it Laini!!! EnJOY the EXCITEMENT!!!xo,Cinda Rae Oliverio aka Cro lol

shoofly said...

This is so exciting, you are truly amazing, and I'm so happy for you!

Congrats! and Happy Birthday!

Frida said...

I'm soooo happy for you!

My connection in Portland is going to buy me a copy at Powells and post it all the way to Afghanistan for me. How exciting is that!

Marilyn said...

Congratulations, Laini! May much well-deserved success come your way...