The books from the contest are published! Michelle and I received ours through the postal service!
Michelle received hers first. She was so excited, she glowed! I tried to take pictures using Skype but they weren’t very clear. Besides, it’s difficult to catch a glow with a camera.
Two days later, the mailman knocked on my door, handing me a fat, brown box. I smiled at him.
“I just got published.”
“Well, good for you!” he said.
“These are my books!”
“Congratulations. I don’t hear that every day.”
For writers just stepping into the publishing world, we don’t either. It is a big deal each time you get published. Michelle and I have both been published online before– my sexual tourism research article and an excerpt from Michelle’s memoir. For some reason, a book feels different. (Maybe because you can actually hold it in your hand? I don’t know.) You want everyone to know about it and everyone to read it. It all seems very self-involved, doesn’t it? But I feel it’s really the opposite. You’ve created something on paper and you want to share those ideas. It’s really no different from a 4-year-old who paints a picture at school and wants it on the refrigerator for everyone to see.
I waited until my husband arrived home so we could open them together. I opened the box slowly, taking the stuffed paper from the top and peering inside. The publisher had typed up a note, one of the first lines reading, “You are now a published author!”
I looked at the shiny book and thought, ‘I’m in that.’ I still feel a little numb about it all–like it isn’t real. Maybe because it was a contest and it happened so fast. Maybe because what I chose to write about was one of my most humiliating moments in life. The contest taught me to take a chance and made it much easier to continue writing the memoir.
I am pleasantly surprised at how professional they look, and the fact the publisher took the time to bookmark each book exactly where my article started. He did that for each one of us published in the book.
I have no idea what to do with them. He told us to sell them, give them away or keep them all if we wanted. Michelle said we should do a give-away contest with some of them. That sounded like fun! For now, they sit on the bottom row of my bookshelf until I figure it out. No one even knows I won the contest but the readers of this blog, and my mother.
When I pass the shelf, I steal a glance.
One day, I’m going to have my very own book. But for now, this will do just fine.
P.S. Michelle has been MIA for a while as she’s taken an editing gig and is presently being evacuated for Hurricane Irene, but she’ll return soon.