by Janis Patterson
I don’t care how many books you have out, release day is still a thrill. The thought that all the writing, all the revisions and editing and pre-release PR I’ve done has finally culminated with a book still sends a tingle through my heart and a giggle into my throat.
My story is going to be read. The story that has been in my mind and my computer, the story that is mine alone, is going out into the big wide world where anybody who wants can pick it up.
This is all so different from when I sold my first half-dozen books. In those antique days (pre-computer, pre-internet) everything was done on paper by snail-mail. The books themselves were paper. I still remember the excitement of receiving my author’s copies. There would be this big box that came to the front door, and once I opened it I could actually hold my new book in my hands. There were no surprises – I had seen the galleys and the cover art weeks, even months ago, but this was the first time in book form. I always felt as proud as a new parent.
It’s all different nowadays – still very good and full of satisfaction, but different. There’s no box of books to open and coo over, no knowledge that boxes of my books are in trucks going across the country en route to a legion of bookstores… there’s just an electronic file from the publisher. The cover isn’t a stiff paper work of art suitable for framing, only a spray of brilliantly colored electrons across my computer screen.
But my story is still there. The characters I have lived with for months are now on their own, ready to meet new people. Now on release day my book spreads across the world, available in places my paper books would never have reached.
And it’s still great.
On Monday, the first of October, I woke with a thrill of excitement because it was release day for BEADED TO DEATH, my new cozy mystery from Carina Press. (http://bit.ly/SjFrXM)
Written almost a year before, worked on for weeks with my editor, sighed over as we tried to get just the right cover art, it was now going to fly on its own. Lilias Ruiz and Thomas O’Connell and Annie Monroe and Toby Applegate and Patches were no longer my special, private family – they were going out to face the world on their own.
On this release day there was no skywriting, no blare of trumpets, but I knew that my story was Out There. Other people could follow the tale of Lillias’ finding a dead body in her living room, of her entanglement with an FBI agent who may or may not be rogue, and her perplexity in dealing with a 7’3” nephew who is on the run from an unwanted basketball scholarship. After all that, being accused of being a drug smuggler is just icing on the cake!
The thing about release day is that it is just part of a logical progression – write, sell, revise, edit, edit again, and release. Another thing is that it comes late. The book is finished and done with, the cover art and edits approved, and (hopefully!) you’re working on another book. Then, like a revenant from the past, it is there once more, officially leaving your life and going on to a life of its own.
I love release days. No matter how the book is delivered – electronic or paper or whatever comes next – the day your book comes out is still exciting. It is a day like no other.
Janis Patterson is a seventh-generation Texan and a third-generation wordsmith who writes mysteries as Janis Patterson, romances and other things as Janis Susan May, children’s books as Janis Susan Patterson and scholarly works as J.S.M. Patterson.