THE BIRD AND THE BLADE has been in the world for two whole months. Even better, I am now a full-time mom/writer. To celebrate, I'm giving away a signed hardback of the book on Twitter. Click here for details. (Note: US/Canada only)
So, I have a few thoughts on my debut experience now that the book is officially out there. Pull up a chair if you care to listen.
News flash: this book is not a runaway success. It hasn't listed, and it's probably not going to list. A lot of people have never heard of it. And of the people who have heard of it, a great many have read the synopsis or a few pages and thought, "Nope."
And you know what? That's okay. There's no such thing as a book that everyone loves. I mean, there are people out there who don't like Jane Austen. (They're clearly insane, but they do exist.) And the truth be told, I don't really write for a particular audience; I write for me, and for me alone. If other people like what I write, that is wonderful. If they don't ... well, I loved being a librarian, and I can always go back to that.
This is a really roundabout way for me to say that whether the book makes a bunch of money or doesn't (probably the latter), I'm grateful. I'm so, so grateful. Here's why:
I wrote a book. That, in of itself, is a huge accomplishment. I'm proud of that.
The book got published. It's a thing that exists in the world. That's stunning when I really stop to think about it.
The reason why the book exists in the world is because I have a fantastic and supportive agent who sold it on my behalf. I'm lucky to have her in my corner.
I truly believe the finished product is a damn good book.
The reason why it's a damn good book is because I have an amazing editor whose guidance helped me shape the story into something I could be proud of. I'm lucky to have her in my corner, too.
I can walk into nearly any bookstore in this country and find my book on the shelf. Face out. I repeat, FACE OUT. I still can't believe it.
One of the reasons why my book is in bookstores is because a bajillion people at HarperCollins worked really hard to make that possible, from cover design to marketing and publicity plans to pithy Epic Reads videos. I have a lot of publishing people to thank for that.
Another reason why my book is in bookstores is because the American Booksellers Association--a collection of wonderful people who put books into readers' hands--added my book to both the Indie Next Kids List and the Indies Introduce List. I am deeply honored by those distinctions. I can't say this enough: Book people are the best people.
And speaking of book people, do you know who else has put this book in readers' hands? Librarians. MY PEOPLE. I can search library catalogs from coast to coast and find that my book is available to hundreds of thousands of readers, free of cost, thanks to America's public libraries, which are the great bastion of our free society. (I might be a wee bit biased.) (Nah, actually, librarians really are the best.)
And hey, if we're going to talk about book people, we have to talk about the book bloggers and reviewers out there who are nice enough to both like my book and tell other people about it. Once again, book people are the best people.
Really, the fact that anyone has bothered to read THE BIRD AND THE BLADE is already mind-blowing, but what's even crazier is that I've received fan mail. People--plural! more than one person!--have emailed me or tweeted me or tagged me on Instagram just to tell me that my book meant something to them. I never saw that coming, and I'm blown away. Every. Single. Time.
Finally, I'm grateful that I have many more stories to tell. Because writing--just writing--is worth it.