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June 19, 2009

Lauren Strasnick on the Big Debut

Posted by webmaster
Lauren Strasnick's debut novel, NOTHING LIKE YOU, is set to hit stores this fall. Below, she takes us on the roller coaster of emotions she's experienced on the road to getting her first book published.

This is the first blog entry I’ve ever written. First blog, first book --- this past year has been chock full o’ firsts. I’ve sold one book, am midway through writing another, and am slowly starting to understand how to balance writing --- actual writing --- with the businessy side of publishing. I’ve learned print jargon (ARC! STET! Subrights!). I’ve learned that a book goes through many incarnations before it reaches readers (edits, line edits, copyedits, typeset changes). Armed with so much new wisdom, you’d think I’d be prepped for what comes next: The big debut. My baby book in the hands of family, friends, reviewers, old crushes --- you’d think I’d be out of mind, crazy with glee. And I am. But also, I’m petrified. Reader response. Sales. Reviews. Yikes.

I have one trick (i.e. compulsion) I turn to when trying to squelch anxiety. I read. And reread. And reread my manuscript. On good days I skim portions from the book and think, “Huh, not so bad,” all while eating piles of salad and watching the bumblebees dance outside my big bay window. On bad days I reread the exact same passage and think, “No. Please, no! Stop the presses!”

I turn to writer friends for comfort: “What have I done? Real people are going to read this! I have no control over their thoughts!” I am met, always, with empathy, with understanding, with, “Me too, friend. I feel the exact same way.”

So, okay --- I relax. I let go. I work on understanding that what I’m feeling in those hysterical moments is not unique to me; that most writers feel some sort of similar paranoia in the pre-publication stage of each book. I try to remember that a year ago, having just sold this book, my world was rosy and fear-free --- that I felt only pure, untainted joy.

These days I abstain from compulsive rereading (okay, half lie --- I don’t reread as much), and ponder my good fortune. I look forward. To October. To my book’s big debut. And sure, there’s some fear. But mostly I’m just pleased pleased pleased as pie that I get to live my dream come true.

-- Lauren Strasnick