Three years ago—with no agent, no dedicated knowledge of the publishing industry, and only connections from my work in the entertainment industry under my belt—I had a crazy idea to cold pitch a book that I didn’t even know I could sell to an editor at a big publishing company. A month or so following that initial pitch, I had the crazy idea to convince an agent that I should be represented for said project, what would be my first (and only) query letter. I did both of those things not expecting anything to come of it, but I guess things worked out, because today is April 2nd and GEEK GIRLS DON’T CRY: REAL-LIFE LESSONS FROM FEMALE FICTIONAL CHARACTERS is officially out in the wild as a real, published book.
Technically, my book has been in the wild for a bit now, between early copies coming into bookstores and ARCs. But today, it’s official. Today, Amazon pre-orders will deliver and ship. People who have been waiting for the “on sale” date so they can go buy it will get to read it. People I don’t even know will be able to walk into a store, see my book on a shelf, and take it home. And I can officially say it’s my book birthday: a day that felt like it was years away and coming way too fast all at once. A day when I finally get to see the actual rewards of the work I put into my debut book, a book that I care about and love like my own child, for many reasons. A day that every traditionally published author wishes and hopes for.
I’m so damn excited.
I’m also, admittedly, a little scared.
I mean, guess what? It’s freaking nerve-wracking putting something you love out into the world! Plus, I can only read my own words so many times before I start to second guess everything. Am I being convincing enough? Am I writing well enough? Will this book actually be helpful in any way? Did I (or my copy-editor or my agent or my publisher) miss getting any information right? Did I miss anyone important in my acknowledgements? (Spoiler alert, I did, and everything is terrible. Shout out to my sparkle angel Jill, who has been a comforting voice and my biggest cheerleader for so many years.) Is my writing really any good? This is what goes through my brain every time I see a new review, a new tweet, or a new text about someone picking up my book and reading it.
But, hey! You know what? This little baby’s doing pretty good so far! It’s got nice Goodreads ratings, a starred review from Booklist, and I’ve heard nothing but positive things from friends and people in the industry.
This journey has been a learning curve and an exhilarating ride all at once; some things happened faster than I expected and some things happened more slowly. Still, it’s a ride I wouldn’t change for anything. I’ve written at length about my publishing journey when it comes to this specific book, so this is not a post to rehash all that. This is a post to acknowledge my book birthday and all that comes with it, because I wouldn’t be here without specific people. Certainly not without all the people listed in my acknowledgements—my agent, my publisher, my family, my husband, my friends, Marisha. But also, I wouldn’t be here without the authors who gave me their support dating back when I first started writing a book proposal and had no idea what I was doing or if anyone would want to read this: Margie Stohl, JJ, Seanan McGuire (who took time out of her insane schedule to blurb me, bless this woman who is such a great friend), Sam Brody, and Anthony Breznican (one of my first mentors). I wouldn’t be here without Lee Travis and Kelly Knox, who worked super hard to help me pull off my cover reveal on Geek and Sundry, allowing this debut author to experience one of the coolest moments of her life. I wouldn’t be here without comic journalist friends like Chris Arrant and Tim Stevens and Andy Burns, who reached out and gave me press to help support this project. I wouldn’t be here without the Critter community, who shared their excitement and enthusiasm not only for my book, but for a character I love so much. The point is, I know I did a ton of work here and I’m not denying that, but it takes a village. And you can write a book, but you need people to support a book and read a book, and it matters who you have on your side both in your life and in your community. I’m so thankful to everyone who helped me get here.
Although I haven’t re-read my manuscript since I sent it off for final proofs in January, I’ve read each chapter so many times that I’m pretty sure I can recite them in my sleep. It’s hard to cut the cord of “this is mine” and accept that “this is everyone’s, whether they like it or not,” but I know there’s nothing I can do except hope that my baby is welcomed into the world with open arms. I hope, if nothing else, people find a bit of themselves in this book filled with advice from mutants, FBI agents, and druids.
Anyway, today I have an appointment to make my hair pretty, then I’m going to go romp around Manhattan and find my book in stores (isn’t that a thing all the cool kids do?), then I’m going to have some drinks to celebrate, and I’m going to do it all with people I love. Because today I’m a published author.
Today is a good day.
I love you all.
(You better believe I’ve been waiting over a year to post this gif, which I’ve had saved ever since I remembered this episode aired. I feel you, Jane.)