Ten Unanticipated Perks from Publication
a guest post from author Gale Martin
In December, Booktrope, a Seattle-based company published my first novel DON JUAN IN HANKEY, PA, a contemporary retelling of Mozart’s Don Giovanni . I was frantically busy this fall, preceding publication. It’s kind of amazing that I remembered to breathe now that I think about it. What I hadn’t anticipated were some of the wonderful things that occurred after the book came out. Some bonus bennies you might say (besides seeing my name on the cover of a book for the first time since preparing my eighth grade physics folio for Mrs. Bortz.)
- You recover some focus. A few completed manuscripts and several more partially done books hanging around on shelves, clogging up your hard drive, and clouding your psyche is like having a house full of children. When one of your books gets published, it’s like marrying off a daughter. Maybe not your first born, and it wasn’t in my case. In fact, I had written two other books before DON JUAN IN HANKEY,PA got picked up. However, the fact that one of your progeny is now settled affords more mental energy and clarity. You don’t have to worry about them staying out too late on a school night or driving home after hitting the bars at happy hour. Now, there’s more of you in mind, body, and spirit to tend to the other “kids” and prepare to usher them into the world.
- You connect with old friends, or they make a concerted effort to connect with you. A friend I’d met back when I blogged religiously for two solid years in 2006-2008 (in the Dark Ages of blogging) became totally juiced when I published. She won a pre-launch copy of my book, read it, loved it, and has been an amazing catalyst for blogging about the book and getting her friends interested in it.
- You behave with more confidence. I wrote the most articulate spot-on memo to a woman in another department regarding an intentional oversight her employee made with two announcements I submitted to the campus newsletter. I built my case calmly, coolly,—brilliantly—with more aplomb than I would have thought possible months ago. The belief that others extend to you in the process of publishing your work pays dividends in a much healthier self-esteem.
- Better, more mature-looking handwriting. After signing about 75 books in less than a month, my handwriting is actually looking pretty good. I’ve gotten kind of Zen about signing books, needing the right pen, positioning the book at the right angle, breathing in before I begin, and focusing on forming each letter. However, this wholesale improvement in my penmanship is more a practical matter than a spiritual one: I can’t toss a perfectly saleable book aside because I flubbed the inscription.
- You become more benevolent towards other writers. When you are fighting for every scrap of respect from the literati, for one iota of success, it’s hard to rejoice when you hear about the six-figure book deal someone in your writing workshop just scored. Now that I’ve had a bit of my own success, I can cheer wholeheartedly for my friend who just landed an agent, for another who was just nominated for a prestigious literary prize, and another who earned a coveted spot at Alumni Reading Night in the graduate writing program I attended.
- More money jingling in your pocket. Now I have a check or two crammed into the loins of my wallet along with appointment cards and ATM receipts. And cash stuffed in there, too! (Yes, I sold a book over a pew at church last Sunday, and I’m proud of it.) Contrast being flush with a time in my not-too-recent past when I attended a fund-raising dinner but couldn’t scrounge up two bucks for a drink at the cash-only bar, not even by fishing around in the bottom of my purse for loose change. So I snuck off and wet my whistle at the hotel drinking fountain instead and had to endure the God-awful dinner and all the deadly speeches stone-cold sober.
- More facials. More money equals more facials. More facials means fewer wrinkles, clogged pores, and dead skin cells dulling your complexion. I’m getting one next Thursday and can hardly wait to wow the world with my younger-looking, glowing visage.
- A chance to make history. History, you scoff? I kid you not. While lots of people have published novels in every way imaginable in Central Pennsylvania and many within my sphere of influence, none of them—not one has ever had a book of theirs sold in the Metropolitan Opera Shop in Lincoln Center. Well, I will—shortly. The Met Shop wants to sell DON JUAN IN HANKEY, PA as one of their opera-related items. Is that important? You bet your bippy it’s important. I’ve made a difference. I’m unique.
- A child who may now see you as a person. When I got braces at age 45, my adolescent daughter said something like, “Well, that was a colossal waste of money.” Okay, she’s grown up in the interim, but since publication, it’s like she is seeing me for the first time as a person with an identity separate from that of her mom.
- The unique opportunity to cat about cyberspace, camping out on blogs like Sharon’s, and sharing my thoughts with the world, thanks to Sharon’s hospitality. It’s a great feeling being welcomed into other writer’s cyber-homes. One I won’t easily forget.
Gale Martin has been writing creatively since 2005. Recent accolades include first-places in short fiction from Writers-Editors International and Scratch writing competitions and a Pushcart Prize nomination. Her work has appeared in various publications such as The Christian Science Monitor, Sirens Magazine, Pank Magazine, Duck & Herring Company’s Pocket Field Guide, and The Giggle Water Review and in several anthologies. She has a master of arts in creative writing from Wilkes University. She lives in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, which serves as a rich source of inspiration for her writing.
Don Juan in Hankey, PA is available in print and e-book versions at Amazon and at Barnes & Noble and very soon, The Metropolitan Opera Shop in Lincoln Center.