Saturday, March 24, 2018

Book birthday looming: Is it normal to be terrified?

As I write this, my book’s birthday (aka publication date) is less than two months away. On May 15, my YA novel, Skating Over Thin Ice, will make its appearance. It’s my first novel published by a mainstream, trade publisher (Red Deer Press, a kidlit imprint of Fitzhenry & Whiteside).

This book birthday comes after years and years of knocking on the door, being rejected, trying again, more rejection. Hours and days and months and years of work that just couldn’t get that final acceptance. But now educational publishing and self-publishing are behind me. I feel as if I’ve finally been called up to the big leagues.

Yay! I should be filled with excited anticipation, right?

Excited, yes. But it’s excitement tinged with a strong element of (let’s face it) terror.

So, why am I terrified?

 1. I’m terrified my book will fail.

All this work, all the efforts of my wonderful editor, Peter Carver, and the team at Red Deer Press, all this time and effort invested – what if no one buys it, checks it out of the library, reads it? Fail.

2. I’m terrified people will trash it on social media.

Social media is great for spreading the word, building some buzz, sharing the news – but it’s not exactly a curated space. If the buzz is bad and the news is nasty, well, enough said.

3. I’m terrified that people will be mean to my “kid”

Creating a work of fiction is a lot like raising a child. You invest so much time and energy – so much of your own heart – in creating something/someone meaningful and important and whole and beautiful. But once that book, or child, goes out into the world, it has to fend for itself. And if people are mean… not gonna lie: I’ll probably cry.

My book is going to be published, so I have to face it: stuff is going to happen – good and bad.

So this is what I tell myself:

I loved writing this book. I love these characters. I think I have something to say, something to share, with readers, especially Young Adult readers. Other people – people who know the publishing industry and have worked on my book and whom I trust – think it has a place in the world of YA fiction, too. That’s good enough for me.

Bring on the book birthday. I’m ready.


Here's the book's blurb from the Fitzhenry & Whiteside Spring 2018 catalogue:

Skating Over Thin Ice by Jean Mills

Imogen St. Pierre is a musical prodigy, a classical pianist touring Canada and abroad in a trio with her father and grandfather. Though clearly accomplished she is also painfully awkward socially, getting lost in the music even after it’s over. Imogen’s in the final year in a private boarding school where she meets a boy of the same age, Nathan McCormick, who turns out to be the next great hockey player. Nathan however has recently been penalized for a vicious fight in an international tournament. Imogen and Nathan don’t exactly become an item, but there’s an elusive special quality to their connection. Jean Mills has given us a thoughtful, moving, powerful story about what it’s like to be gifted and exceptional – and still young. 


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