There are a lot of firsts when you are a debut author. First call from an agent. First chat with an editor. First time your name and picture appear in Publisher’s Weekly. First time you see a cover sketch for you book. First time you see your name on Goodreads and Amazon and Powells. And all of it is heart-racing, jaw-dropping amazing. And terrifying. And unreal.
Still, you’re expected to be a professional. To hold up your end of the deal. Your part of the conversation or presentation or panel discussion. To simply do the work. So that’s what you do, and you do it all perfectly normally and appropriately. Or at least you seem to. Because inside – another part of you – a much more real part of you – is jumping up and down, screeching and poking you in the ribs. “Can you believe this?!” this part is screaming. “Are you paying attention?!” “Is this really freaking happening?!”
I had one such experience at a conference I was at recently. A part of me was chatting and talking and nodding along – making perfect sense, while the rest of me was floating above the room trying to take a mental picture of what was happening so I could treasure it forever. Which is why I’ve decided to start recording these events here on my blog, in a little series I’m going to call Surreal Moments in a Debut Author’s Life. That way all those little “Oh my God this is really happening” moments can have a place to express themselves and their excitement as inappropriately and unprofessionally as they want.
Because, let’s face it, I’ve never been terribly cool – and I really don’t think that’s suddenly going to change now.