The advanced reader copies (ARCs) for So Shelly arrived in last Friday’s mail. It was nearly a year to the day from when I had finished the novel and began the querying process. (I pause to laugh at the word “finished.” I had no idea then how many rounds of revision the text would endure before being set in type in the arc in front of me.) The only word I can conjure to describe the feeling of holding my own book in my hands is surreal. It’s something that I wish every aspiring writer could experience.
Although I’ve yet to read the story in its new home inside its comfy covers, every so often I stop to look at one sitting on my desk, or on a coffee table, or in my wife’s hands as she reads it for the first time (I think there’s a post-modern, meta-fictional short story waiting to be written there). Books have been my constant companions throughout my lifetime. They have been my co-tenants in every living or work space into which I have ever settled. To have one of my own join their company has produced in me a sort of pride that can best be described as paternal. I mean, I know it’s just a book, but it’s full of me – almost like a child sharing my genetic code. I know that’s a bit of a trite metaphor, but it’s all I have.
I haven’t read one of arcs myself because it’s too much like looking in a mirror. All of my hypercritical attention is immediately directed to perceived faults and shortcomings, which the vast majority of people will never notice and, most certainly, never call attention to. I’m not sure I will ever be able to read So Shelly now that it has left the nest of my computer, where it could be forever protected, nurtured, and refined. When I look at her now, I’m simultaneously proud of what she’s become and anxious regarding her ability to survive in the world outside of my head and laptop.
In a day or two, the presence of my arcs will grow passé. They will mix and mingle with the many volumes that share my home. But, not today.
My debut novel, So Shelly, is available for pre-order at all major online bookstores including, Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/So-Shelly-Ty-Roth/dp/0385739583/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1277759993&sr=1-1; Barnes and Noble: http://search.barnesandnoble.com/So-Shelly/Ty-Roth/e/9780385739580/?itm=2&USRI=so+shelly; Borders:http://www.borders.com/online/store/Home; Books-A-Million:http://www.booksamillion.com/product/9780385739580?id=4777602269282; and IndiBound: http://www.indiebound.org/book/9780385739580