For authors, there is really nothing that compares to the day your first book comes out. It’s a gorgeous, exhilarating, exciting, thrilling, and yes, for some (I’m one!), utterly terrifying moment. And I don’t think it’s ever what you expect it will be. You can dream of this moment and draw it a face in your imagination. You can carry it around for years and years, picturing how it might be when it finally arrives, but something about it will always find a way to surprise you.
Take me, for example. I thought my debut novel would be the one I spent five years writing in my early twenties. I imagined the day this first book of mine would come out many times—I imagined it out of existence, practically, because for personal reasons I decided to set that book aside and turn my attention (and debut fantasies) to something else.
So then! Then I revamped my idea of my debut novel and how it would feel when it finally came out. I spent three-and-a-half years writing this next one, and all the while I was thinking about the day I’d find it on the shelf of a bookstore or, more true to me actually, a library. I visited the spot of my future spine. That spot stayed empty for years and my little fantasies about how it would feel to have my first novel out in the world floated away into the ether when I couldn’t find an agent for it.
In fact, technically, my first book to enter the world didn’t even have my name on it. I saw it in a store once. I think it was a drugstore. No one would have any idea it was mine. It was a weird little letdown of a “debut” moment because that wasn’t at all what I had in mind when I’d worked it up in my fantasies.
(I am known for having very detailed publishing fantasies.)
…Which made the day Dani Noir came out (the first book I published under my name—so, in the eyes of the world, my debut) kind of amazingly surreal. I didn’t have a big to-do. I’m not sure many people in the book world even knew the book was coming out at all, to be honest. There was no launch party. But my family and friends knew. And I was working as a production editor at HarperCollins then, and I seem to remember that I took the day off, using one of my personal days, all so I could make the day feel special. I think it’s important to do that. I think I put an out-of-office notice on my door, mentioning I was out for my pub day, and when I returned the next day, some of my coworkers had written kind personal notes of congratulations on that piece of paper. I think it meant so much to me because I felt kind of incognito at that job: a production editor and not a writer. And then when some of my coworkers proved to be so supportive of my real dream, to be a writer, it surprised and thrilled me. So yeah. I kept that piece of paper. It’s things like that you remember always.
So why is my mind on debuting when, in fact, the third novel with my name on it comes out in just three months? Because it’s now a new year, and that means a new crop of debut authors are about to have their dreams come true. It reminds me of what I went through to publish novels, how badly I wanted it, and how wonderful a thing it is to achieve. I want to help celebrate other new authors as they reach the day of their debut!
So, for 2013, I’m starting a new little series to help celebrate some 2013 debuts:
The 2013 Anticipated YA Debuts
In 2012, I did an interview series with debut YA authors, but that turned out to be a lot of work on my end and I didn’t think I could handle it this year, yet I felt too sad not to do anything at all. So, this year, I’m featuring fewer authors, but I’m still getting a chance to share with you some of the books I’m wildly excited to read this year!
Each month for 2013 I’ll be featuring two 2013 young adult debut novels that I’m looking forward to reading and will be buying first chance I get. I’ve interviewed the authors and invited them to write “Turning Points” guest blogs if they’re so inclined. And I’ll be sharing all this with you! These are my 2013 Anticipated YA Debuts…
…be sure to come back to find out the two January 2013 Anticipated YA Debuts! And look for interviews and giveaways coming up later this month. I hope to continue this with two 2013 debuts every month this year. So I’ll be sharing some books I’m excited to read with you… and I hope you’ll do the same with me.