Walking to the Atria offices from the subway last Thursday to meet the team who’d be working on my book, I was suddenly struck that this, exactly this, was what I had worked so hard and held out so long for. I was an author now.
There are many ways to bring a book to the world—from self-publishing to hybrid to traditional presses small and large—and at Girl Friday we work with people every day who are making ingenious use of this dazzling array of options. But when I dreamed of being an author—when I was little girl, when I was a teenager, when I was a college writing major, and most of all when I was a twenty-five year old getting up early in the morning to write before heading to work at the Random House building in midtown—this was the dream. Me in a snappy blue wrap dress heading to a sleek office building in Manhattan (Simon & Schuster in this case) to meet with a group of bright, enthusiastic twenty-somethings who’d be working on my book; followed, of course, by a fancy lunch with my lovely editor.
These details, and all the ones to follow—the book launch, the tour, the parties to celebrate—matter for the same reason our thousand little traditions around getting married matter. It’s not that the flowers and the dress and the ring and the pomp and circumstance are what make a marriage, but the rights of passage are still important. They let us pause, look at where we are, mark the important passage of a dream realized.
Meeting the team at Atria was surreal. I’ve spent ten years working, in various capacities, on the other side of the table. Listening to them talk about the book, remark on the characters and the cover, ask me questions about my influences, threw me for a loop. Logically, I knew they’d read it but still my gut reaction was: how do you guys know all of this? It was the first time I’d been in a room full of people I’d never met who’d read my book. If I’m lucky, I suppose this will happen many more times, but this was the first, and it felt miraculous.
When I came by the offices the next day to pick up a galley hot off the presses to take with me to a dinner, I was nearly out of my mind with glee. It looks like a real book now, nearly the final thing. I barely resisted the urge to shout to the security guards: You guys! It’s my BOOK!
I vividly remember watching authors swan through the halls at Random House, with a strange aura of importance around them, and thinking someday that will be me. And now—many years, disappointments, and rejections later—incredibly, wonderfully, it is.