A Million Little Questions

One especially interesting aspect of this whole book-writing process has been how many tiny things there are to learn. There are big questions, of course – like how to write a book proposal at all, or how to get it into the right hands once it’s written – but there have also been a million smaller ones that I never anticipated. (I was nervous about all of them, just so we’re clear; Ye Olde Type A tendencies have been out in full force for the past several months.)

As an example, I didn’t know whether I should be sending my editor chapters as I finished them, or whether that was annoying and I should just send her the whole thing when I was done (the latter was preferable, as it turned out – at least for my editor). I didn’t know whether it would be helpful if I bounced ideas back and forth directly with the illustrator so that other people didn’t have to act as a go-between (apparently that’s a big “no”: it’s the art director’s job to liaise between the author and the illustrator).

Basically, I didn’t want to be a pain in the ass. At all.

Yet another example of Small Thing That I Did Not Know: what to do when I walk into a bookstore and see my book. Obviously I’m excited about it…but do the employees have first-time authors running into their stores all day long, all freaking out and do-you-want-me-to-sign-this-for-you and annoying? I had no idea, and so I asked.

As it turns out, B&N employees are really nice to people who are just excited about seeing their books on the shelves. I think authors do come in and ask about their own works with semi-frequency, so it’s not like, you know, they get a parade thrown for them or anything…but it doesn’t happen so often that it’s irritating. Basically, you just tell them you’re you, they bring you a few copies of your book, you sign them, they put little “Autographed Copy” stickers on the front cover (apparently those stickers help book sales, which is nice for everyone), and you go on your way.

Or, if you’re me, you take a surreptitious photo of the “New In Paperbacks” table, feel like a dork, and slink out the door.

So here’s a question for you: I have found this process very, very interesting from top to bottom. Writing the proposal, writing the book itself…it was exciting and exhilarating and scary and really new to me, and so I’m planning a post talking about what, exactly, it was like. I know this isn’t a topic relevant to everyone’s interests, but if it is I’d really like to be as helpful as possible, so please let me know if there’s anything specific you have questions about.

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