I have a picture book that’s coming out soon. It still doesn’t seem real in spite of the fact that I spent hours working on the illustrations, often feeling as if the fingers on my right hand will never straighten out again. It doesn’t seem real in spite of my publisher posting the test copy on Facebook for me to see. It doesn’t seem real in spite of the fact that I am now agonizing over the creation of a book trailer.
This grappling with the reality of my own picture book finally making it to print has nothing to do with the whole concept of dreams coming true. No, it’s not that the journey is over and the destination paled in comparison to the adventure. It’s more of a rude awakening akin to winning the fabulous house of your dreams that stands on acres of beautiful rolling hills (okay, even grassy plains will do) and then realizing someone’s got to clean all those bathrooms and maintain all the greenery.
Not that I’m complaining. Let’s just say I’m doing a few minutes of whining so I can move on and get things done.
I know I’m going to broadcast the release of the book and post pictures and email everyone I know but there is this other thing that’s looming close behind and it’s been there since I began to do research on what comes next after the book is out. As the tabs on my browser multiplied, it became clear that a writer’s job isn’t done when the writing (and illustrating, in my case) is done. Nowadays, there is the added responsibility of promoting one’s own work and that in itself is a whole other project.
That whole other project involves Social Media, of course, and if you’re not sure what that is, pop me a message and I’ll gladly explain the whole thing to you. Social Media leads to other things like prizes or giveaways, contests (which I probably won’t do for practical reasons that might be known only to me), book trailers, finding people who can create the buzz about the book, creating a website just for the book, and so on. And on. And on.
I wonder what Jo March would think of all that.
But here’s the good side to all of this. Like any new undertaking, the first is always the hardest. It’s where you make the mistakes that you learn from. It’s where you discover that when you manage to ask for help, help will come. It’s the time when you begin to understand what you’re willing to do, how far you’re willing to go, how hard you’re willing to work to finally become what you always believed you were meant to be.
On top of all that, you actually learn new things, perhaps acquire a few new skills (like making that book trailer), connect with people who share your passion, make new friends.
It can be overwhelming, to be sure. Maybe when the frenzy has died down I’ll even get the chance to revel in the fact that I do have a published book that’s my very own.