Wednesday, November 3, 2010
My Fifth Child is a Book
I’m pregnant with my first book and almost everything I think or do is processed relative to my book’s release date. On March 29, 2011 My Jane Austen Summer will arrive in bookstores, accompanied by a heavenly chorus, and I will ride into the sunset to live happily ever after. Actually, I’ve given birth to four sons and I know I only have about two minutes in the sunset before the real job kicks in.
But the wait is difficult. My novel’s gestation is eighteen months from contract to publication, long enough to deliver two human babies. And most of my friends are not pregnant with novels, so there is not a huge support network for pregnant debut authors. I have survived by working on my next novel, but there are so many new distractions and now that I’m expecting, I must prepare. Rather than layette and nursery, I have to cultivate Wordpress and Facebook, author photo and website.
Sneak previews are a joy, like the time I first spied my book in the HarperCollins online catalogue. What are you doing there? I returned to the catalogue many times, studying the new subtitle and advertising copy, imagining how I would market this baby once it was out in the world.
Special jobs help time pass. When the copyedits arrived, the publisher’s printout of my novel showing the copyeditor’s queries and corrections, I threw myself into the project, grateful for something to do, amazed at my errors she caught. One day, a sample of the book’s design arrived in my email inbox. I printed the selection of pages representing variations of type used throughout the book and admired the charming indentations, italics, and graceful vines around the title page. My book’s design was so beautiful.
When I saw the art work for the cover, I fell in love with my book. I recognized the neck-down woman in the photo, my protagonist, just the way I wrote her. Her black shoes are slightly scuffed and she’s wearing a lovely silk coat. Hey, wait a minute! The roses in the fabric are just like the roses in the fictional floral chintz sofa she shares with her mother—“how could there be so much blue and purple in pink roses?” The cover designer read my book!
When the actual proof pages arrived on my doorstep I carried them to my office and couldn’t stop gazing at the beautiful font, the delicate curves of the c, the charming lilt of the capital W, and the exquisite beauty of the M. The experience reminded me of studying a grainy sonogram and admiring fingers and toes, imagining the soft flesh, anticipating the day when I could hold the living, breathing infant in my arms.
I’m expecting the ARE (advanced reader edition) in the near future. Until then, I’m taking deep breaths and counting the days.
Any advice on how to survive the wait would be appreciated!
My Jane Austen Summer
March 29, 2011