Around my house we’re using this saying. I used to be a nobody – now I’m a somebody. I know. I know. It’s kind of trite but it’s what I’ve come up with to explain the change in my life since getting my debut novel accepted for publication. Now, I’m a somebody.
Here’s what I mean.
Before the acceptance any letter I wrote to an author asking for help, like with a please-buy-my-book blurb, or a request for a review of a manuscript, or even a request for a suggestion about an agent to send it to – these all would have been met (unless they were a friend or a writer I knew well) with a friendly … no. I understand this and it’s a good rule. Stephen King can’t be reading all his fan’s, who also happen to be writer’s, manuscripts and give them a blurb. He’d never get any work done if that were the case. Okay. I’ll admit it. I was once so desperate for a contact, any contact with the machinery of publishing, that I wrote a letter to Stephen King. I never sent it. I read, after pouring my heart out in two single spaced pages, about his no answering letters policy and decided, reluctantly, against it.
After acceptance I was fortunate enough to get blurbs from six writers I had never met before – all award winners and really nice people who took a chance on reading my debut novel without knowing anything about me or the book. I was a fan of their books but that’s my connection to them, not theirs to me. But my book had been accepted for publication and WestSide Books’ name was on it. My publisher said, “Just give them my contact information if they want to make sure about the press.” I don’t think anybody called her. They just wrote me blurbs. Mind you twenty plus other authors did not write blurbs for me but they were also very nice in writing personal notes to me when they said no. I’m a somebody.
Before acceptance who would want to interview me about writing? Yes, I’d published a bunch of short stories and articles of different sorts – but nothing about the art and process of writing. I guess you could say I’d been living the life of a writer in my after full-time job work hours, but that doesn’t count for much until you can hang your hat on a book with your name on it. I’m the same guy I was eight months ago in August before I got the call from my agent telling me she’d sold my book. I’m the same guy I was two months ago before the publicity campaign began and my publicist starting getting interested bloggers and interviewers to contact me. A debut novel is a line in the sand that I am passing over. I’m a somebody.
So… for a little while I’ll be a somebody. My son laughs when I tell him this and wonders if it will make me any better at spelling. Probably not. That’s what spell check is for (thank the great cosmic entities for spell check). My wife wonders if it will make me any better at taking out the garbage, putting my dishes away, helping in the organization of the household, or being more aware of our financial situation. Let’s just say these are areas of growth I need to work on. My dogs don’t seem to notice any difference at all. To them I’m still the guy who takes them out at 6am every morning. Two days ago, Spike lifted his leg and peed on me. They keep me grounded.
A writer friend said to me recently, “Don’t forget to enjoy it.” It – being the being a somebody. Oh yeah.
I’ll try not to.