I’m not one for huge emotional displays or crying in public, unless it’s in a darkened theatre and I have a packet of tissues. I do cry at home though.
Today I received my novel’s galley copy. My mum called me and said, “Your book came.” I asked her to bring it to me and she said, “But that’d make me late for work.” So my dad volunteered to bring it to me at work. First you must understand that for years my father has been asking me when my novel would be done, asking questions like, “When I’m dead? Will I still be able to read it?” Jokes meant to be a push in the motivational department. I opened it in front of him and held it out. I have never seen a look more proud on his face before. And I was proud. I was proud that I had made him proud. I had done it! I wrote an entire novel. It was right in front of me.
I held it in my hands and smiled and beamed from ear to ear. I turned it over, examining the outside, noting the miniscule line down the spine that wasn’t supposed to be there (I can fix it before the final version goes to print). I noted that I’d have to move the FICTION and price in a little be further so it doesn’t get cut off in trimming.
I opened it. I smelled it. I stuck my nose right down in the gutter of my book and I inhaled. I noticed that the page numbers were different on the left and right sides (easily fixable). I noted that some of the headers with either my name or book title was on chapter openers and they’re not supposed to be. But I didn’t care at that point. I was holding my book with my name on it in my hands.
It was a book. My name was on it (Yes, I already said that—I am just so happy). My book cover, that I designed and painted and painstakingly agonized over for weeks, was beautiful. My book title was gorgeous. I couldn’t stop smiling.
My co-worker picked it up. “This is awesome,” she said.
She had no idea how awesome. I have been waiting for this moment for almost a decade. I’ve worked on this novel since fall 2005. Eight long years, three major rewrites and a dozen or so edits of the final version later and it is done.
I couldn’t wait to show off my galley copy to everyone!
I drove to my mum’s work and went inside. I waved to her and did a little dance. When I was standing right in front of her, I pulled the book out and she took it from me. “So, how does it feel?” she said.
I laughed. “It feels done. And it’s beautiful.”
She flipped through it and I pointed out the above mistakes I already found (numbers, headers, spine, etc). She shrugged. “Easily fixed, right? Did you do thank-yous?”
I pointed out the Acknowledgements at the end of the book (I like them after, a sort of release from the story’s end and the show of how hard the author worked). And then I showed her the dedication page.
I watched her read it and I started crying. I couldn’t have done it without all the people I thank in my dedication and acknowledgements. So please, when you buy my novel, take the time to read those pages as well… because without all those people, this book wouldn’t exist!
Writing a book is not a lonely process. If it is for you, you’re writing it wrong.