(I was going to do a heartfelt entry on Release Day, but I figured I’m going to be frantic next week. So here it is now…)
Eight months ago, I finished the rough draft of The Poppet and the Lune. It took me 21 months to write. I wrote it abroad, in a cafe called Puccino’s, tucked away in a cobblestone nook in Oxford, England. I wrote it at home as a college student finishing her bachelor’s degree. I wrote it in a bachelor pad two hours from home while waiting for my fiance to come home from work. I wrote it while I was an unemployed graduate planning my wedding and desperately seeking a job. And I finished it as a married woman, just beginning a new adventure of the 9-5 variety.
The Poppet and the Lune was never supposed to be The One that got the agent, or the publishing contract. It had been, from the beginning, something I did because I loved it, and something I shared because others seemed to love it too. It was free as a web serial, and when I finished the first draft last fall I knew that I wanted to self publish it. It wasn’t a book written for The Publishing Industry, or The Market. It was written for the people who I know will love it.
The book has been read by agents, and editors, and consumers. They’ve all told me the same thing: “I. Love. This. Book.” But on the business end, they had a little something extra: “But I just don’t think it’s very marketable.” And instead of hurting, or feeling offended, I felt a huge sense of relief and purpose and freedom. As if I had needed it, I felt like they were giving me permission to go ahead with my plans to self publish, despite the huge and inherent risks of total failure and damaging my (future) reputation as a respectable and competent novelist.
And I haven’t regretted it for a moment.
I don’t know how well The Poppet and the Lune will sell, or if I’ll even make back all of what I’ve invested. I don’t know anything about what the future holds for me as a career novelist. All I know for certain is that at the end of the day (next week, Tuesday), my very first published novel will be available to the public at large, and I was dependant upon no one but myself to make that happen.
And holy shit does that feel good.
Is that wrong? Is it wrong that I don’t even care if I’m successful, that I’m more interested in being in control of my life than in following established paths to success? I don’t think so. In fact, it feels very, very right to me.
So a week from today, when The Poppet and the Lune goes out into the world as a real and published thing, I will be officially done with a novel for the first time in my life as a novelist. I’ll be letting her go. Soon, she will no longer belong to me alone, but to the world. She’ll no longer be my child, to shape and create, and dress in a pretty cover, and clean up her formatting, and help her shine. She’ll be Real.
We’ve had some crazy times together, but The Poppet and the Lune has always stood strong and fast and bright, a novel that was as honest with me as I tried to be in telling her story. She has shined for me since day one, and I hope she will shine for you, too.