Friday, August 26, 2016

Dear Publisher…

Dear Publisher, 

As I sort and iron my clothes before I pack my suitcase to travel across the ocean to visit you yet again there are a few words that I’d like to say to you.

Working with you over the past five years wasn’t always easy.
You made me write blog posts for blog hops, you made me write blurbs for book covers and Amazon pages, you wanted me to write my own bio, and hold still while my picture was taken. Me, the one who usually hides behind the camera!
You made me think before I wrote, you even tried to wheedle me into plotting my novels—which hasn’t worked until now, but  will change in the future.
You made me challenge my ideas and push limits, always patient, always giving me the time to work through my resistance and figure out why you wanted me to do something differently. 

When you followed me  on twitter I was a nobody. 
I’d never written a novel before, let alone thought of publishing it. That was in the distant future, if at all. 
I remember so well that day when we chatted on twitter and you offered me a mug of virtual coffee, and I replied, “Would you like the first three chapters of my novel in return?” and you said, “Sure!”
I broke out in a sweat, panicked, I had no idea what to do. My younger son came home from school, asking for lunch, and I yelled, “Just grab anything, I can’t talk to you, I’m submitting my novel!”
“Uh huh,” he mumbled, and finished off all the tomatoes and mozzarella he could find in the fridge. 
I sent the file eventually, with no  query letter,  a synopsis not worth mentioning, and my marketing plan was, “Anything you want me to do, except dance naked on tables!”
You offered, I signed. 

Suddenly I had a publisher.
We’ve released five books together so far; there were some tears, there were some altercations, which felt like I was a bolting horse, and you were my patient,  understanding trainer. 
You never lost your sense of humor, and you never let go of that gently guiding rein.

To this day I believe you made a huge mistake. 

I don’t know what happened when you decided to sign me as your author, but I’m sure of one thing: you were utterly deluded. Maybe someone had brought you a huge mug of  fresh coffee and you were dazed by the scent. Maybe someone had sent you a package of Droste chocolate and you were in a sugar coma.
I’m still waiting for you to wake up, look at my writing and say, “Hey, wait a minute, missy! I’m sorry, but you don’t belong here!”
Honestly, I do. 
Five released books later, three Independent Publisher Book Awards, a brilliant new project waiting to be tackled, and I still wonder: Did she really mean me?

The label “author” sits uncomfortably on my shoulders. It feels like an honor I haven’t earned, but as long as you, dear publisher, believe I’m worth your time and money I’ll pretend that yes, I can write well enough to merit it.

My suitcase is almost packed. There’s Droste chocolate for you, and coffee, tucked in  with my clothes.
I’ll once again sit at the desk you point out to me and sign that tower of books, the bookmarks, the postcards. I’ll stare at those books, so pretty, so well designed, and I’ll open one and read a few lines. Once again the wonder will pour over me; I wrote this.  Wow.

My amazement will never end. I’m an author, and you, dear publisher, believed in me, and made me into one.