Idea to bookshelf...
A day or so ago, after getting home from work, I opened my personal emails and there it was! The cover.
I have a book coming out next year, with Scholastic Aust, Every Thing We Keep, and the cover is done - a huge step closer to publication. After the thrill of seeing it (cover illustrators are so clever) it got me thinking about which part of the idea to bookshelf journey is my favourite.
Answer: every part.
I like to write early in the morning. Not only does it fit in with my working day, it's quiet. The house is quiet, the neighbourhood is quiet and it's just me and the character. I can't tell you how much I enjoy this part of the process. It's like holding on to a huge secret, watching a movie that no one else has ever seen. When I finish the morning write, I turn off the computer and walk away, knowing that early the next morning the journey will continue.
It's a bit selfish, this stage because I don't have to share the character or the story with anyone.
Then there's the next part - the sharing and getting feedback. I absolutely love this part. It's the time when I can talk about the story, listen to how others feel about it, their reactions to it. It's when I find out if the story I have written connect to readers.
With all the feedback in my mind, in notes on my desk, it's time to get back into the draft, reread, rework, add, delete. This is a lot of fun. I can see the draft taking shape, the sentences becoming more refined and tighter. This is when I research more extensively, find some expert details or ask one of my very talented friends to share their knowledge with me.
Now, let's imagine for a moment that the manuscript I've been editing has been accepted by a publisher. This is a new level of enjoyment. The in-depth discussion with the editor, what the cover could look like, where they see the story going. It's serious and having deadlines adds to the process. The enjoyment is also the anticipation.
There is, of course, a lot of waiting. Waiting for the first feedback from the editor, waiting for the page edits, emails to be returned, the cover... lots of waiting, but in between there is time to work on other projects.
After a long wait - which seems to be what the year 2020 has been for everyone - the cover arrived. That is something that will never get old.
There's still more to do. There's more to the process to go however the end point, publication day, is getting closer.
Here's something that could sound a bit odd. You may think that walking into a bookshop and seeing the final book on the shelf is the highlight of the whole process. It is and at the same time, no, no, no.
For me, I feel conflicted. I want it read but then, I don't. I want to hear what booksellers, reviewers, readers think, but then I don't. I'm sure I'm not the only writer who experiences this - well at least I hope not.
So how can I choose which part I like best? I can't.
With each step along the way has something about it that is enjoyable, that gets me thinking, that takes me back into the story. With each step helps my characters grow and develop, with added complexity.
With each step, I learn more about writing, develop my skills, so that the next manuscript starts at a better place.
And as for the cover... well you will just have to wait a little bit longer to see it.