It’s here, it’s here, it’s finally here!! It’s hard to believe that two years after I wrote it, seventeen months after we sold it, fourteen months after I cashed my first check from it, The Department of Lost and Found is finally here. It’s been an informative ride – to say the very least! – and here, a few tidbits that I’ve gleaned along the way.
1) Accept That Which You Can’t Control. I’m a type-z in my private life, and a type-a in my professional life. Thus, if I could tackle the sales, marketing and PR of the book, I happily would. But, er, you know, I can’t, and while I’m sometimes frustrated at the results (i.e, Entertainment Weekly letting my publicist know that they won’t be reviewing my book in the mag), I’ve come to understand that there’s only so much that I, personally, can do. A lot of this whole rigmarole is out of my hands.
2) Try To Control Everything Else! Having said the above, there are a lot of little things that you can do to influence (hopefully) the sales of your book. Calling in favors to every journalist you know. Asking for referrals to other contacts. Answering dozens of Q/As for a variety of websites. While my publicist and marketing manager are wonderful – truly, they’re wonderful – no one cares more about my success and the success of this book than I do. So I’m the one who really has to get her hands dirty long after everyone else has washed theirs clean.
3) Recognize That Not Everyone Will Love The Book. Easier said than done, right? When Booklist gave me a rave review, I wanted to immediately fax the Kirkus office, who gave it a decent, not great write-up, and say, “Ha, see that you little losers?? They loved it!!” Fortunately, I resisted. Because the thing of it is, and this can be tough to swallow, is that there are plenty of folks out there who won’t love my voice or who won’t adore my writing. I mean, I read dozens of books that I find to be okay, not great. And the simple truth is that’s just how it goes. The book isn’t going to be universally revered, and I guess I have to be okay with that.
4) It Takes A Village. My name is on the cover, so I reap the glory, but behind the scenes, I’ve had a lot of help. Everyone from my fabulous agent to the very generous blurbers contributed to my success, and I hope that I’ve taken the time to personally thank each and every one of them. Being grateful and gracious can go a long way to further your relationships.
5) Stock Up On Powerbars. Figurative Powerbars, that is. As I mentioned above, this has been a two year process, and there’s been very little instant gratification along the way. If you’re someone who feeds off immediate rewards, this career is not for you. Not by a long shot.
6) Mistakes Are Bound to Happen. Within hours of receiving a final copy of the book, my mom called me to ask if they could redo the print run: she’d found an errant colon. (A bit of history here: she’s a former English teacher who can put any professional copy editor to shame.) Er, no mom, they can’t. There have been other more egregious mistakes made along the way too, which I won’t get into here, but I’ve come to recognize that most things can be corrected, and as long as they’re done so in a timely matter, there’s no need to blow a gasket over them, especially a misused colon.
7) Forget the Film Fantasy. Nearly every writer (and yes, there are some exceptions) dreams about landing a huge film rights deal. The truth of the matter is selling film rights, much less for gazillions of dollars, isn’t that common. Getting the actual project made is ever rarer. Which isn’t to say that mine – or yours – won’t sell: we’ve had piles of interest. Only that selling the book is a lot easier than selling the film rights, and, well, you already know how hard it is to sell a book. So take that into account, and keep those fantasies about Brad Pitt and Reese Witherspoon starring in your adaptation to a minimum. Instead, spend your energies writing your next book.
8) The Cycle is Endless. So I have a published book out. Hurrah! Guess what? I have to go through the entire process once again with my next one. True, it’s easier because I have a leg in the door and have proven myself, but I still have to get editorial approval and the like once again. There isn’t a lot of time to rest on your laurels in this industry.
9) Enjoy The Glory. Once people hear that you’re a published author, they’ll think you’re sort of a rock star. It’s almost hilarious! Like, close friends actually want me to sign their books! It never ceases to crack me up. But you know, I have to stop shrugging off their congrats and recognize that dammit, this is a big accomplishment!! So for the next few weeks, I’m going to don big black sunglasses and require that my husband be my personal umbrella holder and spray me with Evian whenever I even so much as sense my body temperature rising. It’s not often that you get to be a quasi-rock star, so hey, I’ll enjoy it while I can.