Holding Your Book For the First Time

It is strange holding your book in your hands for the first time.
I’ve directed and written many plays and that is always a very public unveiling – and a bit more maddening. WIth a play, you have to sit in the audience while the play (possibly) falls to shit in front of you, all while everyone in the audience is watching you during the play. Kind of like how the President feels when he attends a play (not that he ever does). With a play, your final goodbye (the final rehearsal) and the big unveiling (opening night) are usually 24 hours apart. Directors are in it for the process.
With a book, the final goodbye (the final set of revisions hastily faxed at 2am in the morning from a coffin-quiet Kinko’s) and the big unveiling were nearly four months apart. And it is a private matter – no one sees you and you don’t get to witness and audience enjoying your work. I almost waited for Ron to come in so we could open the package of books together but thought, no I want to savor this myself.
I opened the padded envelope and slid out a brand spanking, hardcover copy of Blogwild.
We are programmed to love newborn babies. Its in our hormones that even if the hottest bun out of the oven is a pointy-head future derelict, we still coo and aah. Not with a book.
The book was bigger than I thought it would be. And Thank God:
They spelled my last name right.
From the beginning of this whole adventure a year ago I wanted very few things but a big one was to spell my name right. There had been no mis-spellings throughout the whole process so I had no reason to be paranoid but the paranoid don’t need a reason – just a suspicion. As a lifelong Wibbels – you get a bit attentive. Just ask Suzanne, I keep spelling her last name Falter-Barnes instead of Falter-Barns.
And the cover was bright! I think there is a flourescent tone mixed in with the front cover ink because it makes my postcards and site look darn right muted compared to the glowing tome before me. I think the designers were spot on. You can’t not notice someone reading it next to you and ask them what they’re reading. It might just be the most fabulous business book ever with the Day-Glo cover and recipes in the footnotes.
All bibliophiles love New Book Smell. And there is no sweeter New Book Smell than your own book. Well, maybe the First Advance Check Smell or Oprah’s Green Room Smell or even Dan Brown Eat My Dust Smell. But you know what I mean. I inhaled my book and sampled the bouquet of the thousands of trees that lay down their leaves for my glory and made a mental note to celebrate Arbor Day a little more vociferously. I’ll be like Johnny Appleseed with saplings.
I flipped through it and it was exactly as it was supposed to be. No surprises. And they even caught that last minute mistake that made me worry for 72 hours one weekend. They even added an index! I made a mental checklist of mistakes I’d made during this whole process, things I got started on too late, too early or did clumsy and then tried to put that chatter to rest for a bit. I have a hard time celebrating ‘events’. Yeah, yeah, nice party – now let’s get back to work.
In the midst of my bookpanic a few weeks ago, Rob reminded me how this book came into being – out of the blue. I was emailed from a publisher out of the blue with no agent, no proposal, no nothing. And Rob posited that perhaps the success of this book will also have a hook into that same kind of synchronicity and maybe I shouldn’t be such a worry wart.
When the book edged up into the top 10,000 for a few hours again yesterday I felt a bit better. Yes, I’m hoping that the first day brings that holy grail of a #1 Amazon ranking. I’ve got an army of colleagues emailing their networks. I’m calling in all my favors like only a good Godfather can do (I told Ron, Don’t ask me about my business, Kay but he only looked at me confused). All that gratis work and consulting and networking pays off – if you cultivate it. But, yes, there is much more marketing and work to be done.
I always like having big events like this. Vacations, launches, what-have-you. It helps you divide all your tasks into before-book-launch and after-book-launch.
I wanted this post to be a lot more Sedaris than it turned out. Ah well.
I’m very proud of the book because it was created with full integrity and full love. It is the culmination of three years of sharing blogging with people all over the world. I exported my client database to do some postcards and was pleased to find addresses in Israel, Zaire, Indonesia, Chile… It is rewarding and exciting to know I can have that kind of reach (sitting in my apartment on Chicago’s north side). The book is completely in my voice and definitely snark-tastic (yeah, they made me take out some of the more wise-ass footnotes, but I got to keep the recipes). If someone reads the book and then meets me, they’ll think Oh yeah, I see it. I didn’t have to water anything down. It’s full-on, balls-to-the-walls Andy.
And something Tara always reminds me is how I’m one of the few authors out there to actually write my own book (which is not a slight at all to those that have ghost writers). And it is totally different from any other blogging book out there.
Andrea always quotes someone (herself?) that there are people in the world that need to hear what you have to say and further, there are people that can only hear it from you. There is an audience for each of the blogging books out there – and the design, writing and marketing of Blogwild have been carefully (and correctly, I think) aligned to find that crucial audience. This book’s brevity is it’s strength. My parents read it and said, ‘We think we understand better what it is you talk about all day.’ And I’m sure my extended family will be surprised to hear that I have a boyfriend (or absolutely unsurprised – no athletics, 14 years of piano and musical theatre? Girl, please!).
I am so happy I got laid off over a year ago! I can’t imagine trying to coordinate all this stuff and have a full-time job at the same time. I’m looking forward to get re-integrated into the Real World. My blogs and podcasts have suffered and it is time to return back to the Great Work.
And finally, as I tell all my colleagues from theatre school.
Non-fiction. Who knew?!

7 thoughts on “Holding Your Book For the First Time

  1. Lora Adrianse

    Way To Go Andy!!! Congratulations on the birth of your “first” hard cover book! There’s no doubt it will be soaring to the top of Amazon!
    It will be good to have you back! You’re energy has been missed!
    Cheers!
    Lora

    Reply
  2. Connie Bennett

    Congrats, Andy! How very exciting!
    Wishing you tremendous success on your new book. You deserve it!
    FYI, I plugged your book and you on my blog on your big day today.

    Reply

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