Release Day Thoughts
I'm writing this on November 28, 2022, less than 24 hours before my first published novel, The Gentleman's Book of Vices, hits shelves (and e-readers, and audio programs.)
It's a bit surreal, to be honest, though in the best way possible. As of right now, the book has more reviews and ratings on the ARCs alone than I expected it to ever have. I've spent the past year living the life of a full-time writer putting together this book and its forthcoming sequels. I've held the advance copies and final copies in my hands. I've heard from enthusiastic readers--people I've never met who have no reason to spare my feelings--who have been impacted by the book and have even asked for an autograph. I've taught at a conference, seen my book on lists, and worked with amazing editors to bring out the best in my craft.
I've gotten almost everything I ever wanted and the book isn't even out!
Publishing is an odd industry. In some ways, my work on this book is done. It's in your hands, now. In your hands and hearts and minds to do with as you will. And yet it's still a launch. A beginning. Because even though I feel like I've already gotten so much back, with any luck, there are more readers out there who didn't have access to ARCs who will enjoy Charlie and Miles's story when their preorder arrives, or when they stumble upon it on a list, or find it at Barnes and Noble or their local library. Maybe they'll meet me at one of the events I have coming up next year. Or a friend will gift them the book. Starting tomorrow, there will be many ways this book could stumble into someone's hands, and that is just incredible.
Even though I have access to indie bookstores now and they are my preference, I am planning to "visit" the book at my local Barnes and Noble on release day. Of all the things I did not expect from this book, its place on physical bookstore shelves is the most shocking of all, especially given the changes B&N has made around what to stock.
And I've got a serious soft spot for this location. There were no close-by indies growing up, so it's the store that my friends and I would haunt on the weekends when we first
got our driver's licenses. I have memories there. Attending midnight release parties of big titles; getting scolded for sitting and reading on the floor in the YA section; sipping Starbucks lattes when they were still a new and novel concept to me; spotting Pete Wentz killing time there while Fall Out Boy was in town and discovering the uncomfortable fact that I get starstruck. I have read there, written there, and imagined having a book on the shelves there since the height of my Hot Topic eyeliner days.
And I checked the website to verify: The Gentleman's Book of Vices is in stock at the store. Tomorrow, that girl in the pictures (who, at the time, was in the middle of writing the first novel she'd eventually query) will see her book on those shelves. (Don't tell her it's a romance; she's not ready for that, yet, though she'd be glad it's so incredibly gay.)
I'm still not sure I believe it's really going to happen, though, which is why I'll have to go see for myself... and get a latte, while I'm there, trying to resist the urge to settle in on the cold floor between the shelves.