A year ago today my first novel came out. July 5. A year from now my second novel will come out.
That's kind of exciting for me to celebrate this anniversary of sorts. I never imagined that I'd actually follow through on a goal such as writing and finishing a novel, and now it's all I want to do. Well, not all, but it's pretty darn close to what I want to do for a living.
Sometimes people ask how my life has changed since being published? It really hasn't. I still keep a day job, working with college students around social justice issues and becoming culturally empowered citizens. I still have the same friends, but know a few more people today than I did a year ago. A few more people know me. Not a whole lot more. I have kept the same apartment, live in the same part of town, though I could move if I wanted. Not much has changed.
What is exciting is that you never know where your book has ended up. You don't know what discussions, if any, it has created among friends or co-workers. You don't know if that's egotistical to assume anyone has had a discussion because of your work. You know that some people like it and you, and you know that some people don't like it and you. And it's all okay. Comes with the territory of taking your work public.
And I'm not above finding flaws in my work. I don't assume any of it is perfect or the best, but I'm working toward it. I do think I have talent and that teacher's pet personality and persistence that never really went away. And I do think I just got a lucky break... maybe a break others haven't gotten but will one day soon. So many cool authors who are selling books out of car trunks deserve publishing contracts too. It'll happen for them.
My mom, dad, and sister were all pretty proud a year ago. I remember them calling me from their various points in Michigan and Indiana and Illinois telling me which bookstores they saw it, how they talked to store staffs about placing the novel in more visible spaces because "our Freddie wrote that book," and them sending/passing publicity postcards to their friends and neighbors, and even strangers at their local haunts or errand places. That's fun to think about. I'm grateful for their support then, and especially glad my dad got to see me achieve one of my frivolous and unrealistic dreams I wanted to pursue. That means a lot. Especially for a black LGBT-focused book. Especially when pursuing creativity isn't easily understood or encouraged in a lot of our families. To have family support for that is kinda cool.
I'm rambling. My eyes are watering -- tears, my dad, ya know. It's late. I should go to bed. Or get cracking on that manuscript due to agent in fall. Are you still reading this? Geez. You should go to bed too... or get back to your to-do list at work :-)
Michael Cader of Publishers Lunch
11 hours ago