The release date is three months away, and already the snowball-effect has begun. I just finished my very first interview about the novel, I'm being contacted out of the blue by some of the advance readers, and the first two major reviews - Kirkus and Publisher's Weekly - have been delightfully positive.
This really is a lot of fun.
I've spent the last dozen years as a professional actor and director, so publishing is an entirely new world. But the review process is much the same. Strangers look at your work and define it, not just on its own merits, but by their own tastes and what has gone before. It's a gut-churning game, waiting each day for that review to come out, and it's strange to think how much weight we give the opinion of a person we have never met. But we do.
The main difference is that a play has many moving parts, depending on many different people. The director is ultimately responsible for the show, but is also dependant upon the actors, upon the lighting, scenic, and sound crews, the stage manager, properties, costumes, and everybody else who has a hand in bringing the show to life. Theatre is a communal exercise.
But writing is a solitary one. I'm fortunate in my wife, who is as smart as she is lovely. I can rely on her to set me straight when I stray. And I have two great editors. But, at the end of the day, it's my name on the cover, and my work alone that's being judged.
I love this book. But having lived with it for the last seven years, I'm a bit blinded. Which has made the publishing process so gratifying. Each step of the way people have told me how much they enjoyed the story, the characters, which has spurred me on.
These reviews are yet another stamp of approval from strangers, people who owe me nothing, and who enjoy my work. And in that way it's a lot like directing a good show. The audience doesn't care about your labor, they care about their own pleasure. And they judge what you've done accordingly.
So, here's to the reviewers, and to the audience to come! May you be entertained!