Silksinger ARCs are officially out in the world. Yipes! That means that people might be reading them! This is a very strange feeling, when the book has gone entirely out of your hands, has escaped from its cage, as it were, and is no longer under your control. (That makes it sound more like rabid monkeys than advance readers copies! Ha!)
Will people like it? Will they read it? Are they reading it, right now, at this very moment? EEEK!
Two years ago when Blackbringer was at this stage, I was blissfully ignorant of the entire process, didn't know that anyone even had my book until a friend told me, with great excitement, that she'd been having lunch (or cupcakes? or rice pudding?) with BETSY BIRD and that Betsy pulled my book out of her bag! We were in New York at the time for the winter SCBWI conference, and that evening I got to meet Betsy, and also MotherReader, and this was my introduction into the "kidlitosphere" and the beginning of the end of my ignorance of advance readers copies and reviews.
My first review ever was from Betsy, and it was awesome, so I had the lucky experience to fall in love with book reviews and the people who write them. (Like a kid whose first trip to the dentist is non-traumatic.) I'm infinitely grateful to Betsy for putting so much thought and time into her reviews -- and to everyone else who has read and reviewed my book, or who reads and reviews books at all and spreads the word about them. HECK, to anyone who just plain READS BOOKS.
My gratitude and amazement that this even happens has not lessened over two years. I still get all tingly whenever I get an email. I still say to myself, "Another person in the world has read my book." Then I go over to my felt board that has 6.77 billion little felt people cut-outs on it, and I move one of them over from the "hasn't read" to the "read" side. Ha ha!
(6.77 billion people, y'all! Dang! That's a big felt board.)
Anyway, now it is beginning. Google Alerts have been bringing to my attention posts in which bloggers mention having received the ARC (along with the brand new paperback of Blackbringer which I think is an incredibly nice touch on Putnam's part), and I've gotten a few emails that people have received it, but as far as I know, no reviews yet. Ulp. What will be the first one? What will it say? And how about the "big" reviews? School Library Journal? Kirkus? PW? Booklist?
And then, there's Lips Touch. I don't know if any ARCs have been sent out yet, but this doesn't lessen my anxiety. If they haven't yet, they surely will be soon, and if possible I'm even more anxious about this than Silksinger, because Silksinger I sent out to a lot of readers last summer after the 2nd draft, and that's taken the edge off that somewhat, but Lips Touch has been read by . . . less than 5 people. Gulp.
I don't know what reaction to expect. I sold this book two years ago, and over the course of two years you tamp down the excitement because you know it's going to be a long while before the book is a book, and then one day, you wake up and it IS, and the reality finally hits that though it is still yours, it's not YOURS anymore. You can't change it, and you can't protect it, you can only wait and hope that people like it, wondering every few minutes if anyone is actually reading it yet.
It's like a mental screensaver, you know, you do other things, work on other things, but whenever you pause for too long the other stuff goes away, leaving you staring at the screensaver, which is: I wonder if anyone is reading my book yet.
Ha ha! Am I making it sound awful? It isn't awful, but there IS nervous energy, and peril to fingernails.
(I don't actually bite my fingernails, thank god.)
Apropos of nothing, I just happened upon this image, and I have to put it up here even though it doesn't mesh AT ALL with the other images above. Is this not a picture of perfect joy?
Here's to hoping I feel like that after I read my first reviews!!