|Not my child, but I feel for Mom.|
A few more days and the kids here in Virginia will be climbing aboard those big yellow buses to head back to school. Parents will be breathing a sigh of relief that their little darlings are resuming a coherent routine—somewhere away from home! Yet for those moms and dads whose little ones are heading to the bus stop for the first time this September, emotions are mixed. The very first day of school ever is fraught with anxiety for both parent and child, no matter how exciting it may be.
As I approach the launch date of Unchained Memory in February, I can’t help but think how similar the experience is to putting my kids on the bus that first day of kindergarten. I had such hopes (and worries!) for my girls. I find I have the same kind of hopes and worries for my book “baby”, too.
--I hope people like her. Of course. This is the big one, right? We want our kids to have friends to color with, to play with at recess, to eat with at lunch. We want our books to have readers. Lots of them. And just like we want our children’s teachers to like them, we want bloggers and major reviewers to treat our books kindly.
--I hope she shines. My oldest daughter was, well, let’s just say reserved. Her teachers said she was “quiet”. My youngest was so anxious the first few weeks of school she went every day to get a hug from the school nurse (after which she’d be fine). Debut novels can’t afford to be shy and retiring. We authors have to help them make a great first impression. We have to make some noise as we come on the scene so folks will remember our names. (In a nice way, of course. Nobody wants to have that kid whose name the teacher calls 50 times a day because of bad behavior: “Johnny, sit down. Johnny, stop that!”)
--I hope she makes good friends. It’s not enough for our kids to simply get along with their classmates. For their school experience to be truly happy, they need good friends, the kind they can invite for sleepovers or playdates. For some kids, these first friendships last a lifetime. As authors, we need good friends, too. They are the readers who meet us with the first book and recognize a kindred spirit immediately. They support us with great reviews and extensive word-of-mouth campaigns; they write to us about the book and the characters; they eagerly await the next book in the series. I really hope my book baby gets lots of these!
--I hope she avoids any bullies. Let’s face it. School is not always a nice place. Bullies roam the halls and the playground, waiting to pounce on the weak, or sometimes just that person in the wrong place at the wrong time. Bullies also roam the literary world, in the form of pirates, trolls and just plain mean reviewers, bloggers and commenters. Just as parents can’t always be at their children’s sides, we authors can’t always leap to the defense of our book babies. We can fight piracy with the legal tools at hand, ignore the worst trolls, call out troops of loyal friends to stifle unfair reviews, drown negative blogs in positive comments. But in the end, we must let the book fight its own battles by letting the story speak for itself.
--I hope she learns something. My kids had wonderful kindergarten teachers. Those women were patient and caring, enthusiastic and creative. I have no doubt my girls learned a phenomenal amount that first year of school. The launch of my first book will surely teach me any number of lessons, too. If I’m smart enough to apply them, first grade should be a breeze!
TODAY IS THE DAY FOR BURNING BADJUJU
Check out Laurie's post below about our annual ritual of banishing blahs, wiping out woes, and eliminating ennui with the burning of badjuju! Add your list to the pyre before we send it up in flames! And it burns, burns, burns, that thing of fire, that thing of fire . . .