T-minus TWO MONTHS until The Boat People hits real and electronic shelves. JANUARY 9, ya'll, that's the BIG DAY. To be honest, I've been feeling a bit jittery since the late summer. Speaking to other writers, it seems this is par for the course. We work on our books in a protective bubble of support, with feedback from our editors and writing groups and friends, all people who love us and our work. And then we launch our books - these precious vessels into which we've poured our best words, anxieties, tiny pieces of our soul - out into the wide, cruel world. Into the hands of total strangers who may hate the book, literally and figuratively rip it apart, throw it against a wall, set it on fire. It's enough to make me want to hide under the bed on January 9th.
Happily, I've been buoyed by a couple of glowing reviews and some very generous advance praise. It began early in the summer when my editors began forwarding me emails from other writers who had read and loved The Boat People. In July it made 49th Shelf's Most Anticipated list. Mentions began popping up on reader blogs. More recently, the book received good reviews at Booklist and Publishers Weekly, and glowing praise in the winter issue of Atlantic Books Today.
Of course nothing happens spontaneously. In the summer Doubleday and M&S printed advance reader copies (they're called "galleys" State-side) and sent them out to other writers, reviewers, book stores, influencers on GoodReads etc. etc. In July I spoke at an Indie Bookseller event in Halifax. Lots of other stuff about which I'm only dimly aware has been happening behind the scenes on both sides of the border, hours and hours of hard work by publicity and marketing and sales. And also my editors. Because guess what? An editor's work isn't done when the book is finished. An editor's work is NEVER done, I'm learning.
We writers work mostly in isolation. But now, in these last months of gestation, the book is out of my hands and the publishing house machinery has kicked into gear, so many people working hard to ready The Boat People for launch. It feels utterly surreal. And I could not be more grateful.