I’m having a tough time remembering to put that number on things: the checks I write (because yes, I am a dinosaur who still pays my bills using a checkbook), correspondence at my job, even on my timecard at the office, in that little spot where the date goes, I mistakenly wrote 2022.
But it is unmistakably 2023.
When the ball dropped, I was standing in a living room in Cape Cod. Not mine; I was with the Cruz family, who we call our familia, as they are some of the closest people to our hearts. Despite being married to a Cuban man, in our house we speak solamente ingles, but at la casa de Cruz, there’s always a myriad of extended family members in tow; needless to say, we watched the ball drop in Spanish, in a packed house full of Dominicans and Puerto Ricans. Typically, I would be yelling out the numbers along with everyone else, but for the life of me, I couldn’t remember how to count in Spanish backwards, so I stayed quiet and lived inside my head for the moment, smiling as everyone pounded 12 grapes and prepared to toast the new year.
My debut year.
When preparing to write this blog post, I looked back at the post I wrote last January for inspiration. That was the month we announced my book deal. It feels like it’s been forever since then.
That’s probably because so much has happened. So this, my dear readers (both of you, lol), is what I’ve learned about publishing in the past year: it’s SLOW AF, but the time that it takes to bring a book from being a Word doc to becoming a living, breathing thing that sits on your shelf is all time that’s being wisely, usefully spent. Also, I’ve learned that if it went any faster, I’d lose my mind.
So, what’s happened since last January? Well, you’ve read all my blog posts of course, so you’ve got a good sense about the writing side of things. There have been rounds of edits. There’s been a cover reveal. There’s been a second book. And then, a second second book. All of that is mostly the actual work of writing. You’ve also seen me post articles about the science behind social media, which have been less popular. This is no surprise; I hate social as much as the next introverted author! I’ve spent the past month or so really working hard on figuring out Instagram, because I have no choice. This is the world we live in. I’ve been studying marketing. I met with my publicist. I booked a launch party. I made a lot of spreadsheets. Reached out to a lot of people. My publicist put a Goodreads giveaway up, so I track that every day to see what kind of interest we’re getting. (As of today, over 5,000 people have entered the Goodreads giveaway, and there are still 12 days left. I don’t know much about these things, but to me that feels like a lot.)
And there have been some early reviews. I’ve had quite a few conversations with author friends of mine (because, yes, I have author friends now, which is something that’s happened over the course of the past year as well), discussing whether or not to look at your reviews. For right now, I am looking. There isn’t much, because the book’s still 5 months away from release, but every day, I check. On Edelweiss (which, for those who don’t know, is some kind of advanced readers platform similar to Netgalley), I have 11 reviews and 10 of them got a little heart next to them, which seems to be a good thing. On Goodreads, I have 9 reviews and of them, 8 are 5-star reviews, and one is a 1-star review. Only two people left comments, and for real? God bless those people, because those are real human thoughts about my creative work that were not written by friends of mine or people in my life. I want to immortalize those words – my very first reviews – by sharing them below.
Melissa wrote: “I read an Advanced Readers Copy of this book. I just finished this book, less than 24 hours after starting it. I got sucked in. I fell in love with the story, the ups, the downs. It seems that there are so many books set in the literary world lately that follow the typical tropes. This one did not. My jaw dropped multiple times at the fun twists and turns. I’ve never read anything like this, and now, even knowing the ending, I can’t wait to read it again.”
Rita wrote: “A fun read that will leave you in stitches! I was at the beach reading and would let out a loud laugh, and people would stare. I didn’t care. It was that good! I finished it in 2 days which is ‘I can’t put it down’ for me.”
Little do Melissa and Rita know that those words they went out of their way to share had a huge impact on me.
There’s other stuff, too. To offer an example, I present to you my calendar for next week:
Monday: I have a meeting with a film agent. (I keep telling myself it means nothing because it equates to exactly zero dollars, but in reality it means *so much* because it opens up another door of possibility for what this book could become.)
Wednesday: I have my first IG Live with two other incredible authors, and no joke, I’m deeply concerned that technology will find a way to destroy me, both personally and professionally. Picture two beautiful, smart women discussing the books they’ve created and in a third panel you see a middle-aged, trash-safari-hot-mess hyperventilating into a paper bag in the corner of her office, tears streaming down her face as she sobs about not being able to hear anything. That would be me.
Friday: I am going to do a live reading in Connecticut as part of the Fairfield University MFA Live program. I am terrified because as I understand it, there will be actual humans there. Also – how does one decide what part of a book to read aloud for other people to listen to? I’m probably going to go with the first 5 pages, which is the prologue. I can only hope it’s funny enough.
A lot of people have been posting their “word of the year” on Instagram. I’d say mine is possibility. This is the year that I become an author. There’s so much possibility linked to that statement, I don’t even know where to fit it all in my exploding brain.
But – like everything else – I’m sure I’ll figure it out.
Wishing you a 2023 full of possibility. 😊