July 2015 marks the one-year anniversary of the release of my debut novel, The Carrot. So much has happened in the last year it staggers the mind. The story has moved many readers, prompting some to write lovely and heartfelt reviews. It has spread internationally into Italy, Australia, India, the UK, and Canada. And most recently, my little one hit #1 on Amazon’s Bestseller list, which was thrilling to say the least. But please don’t think this has come easily for me or my bouncing baby girl. In this business, nothing is easy—and it is very much a business.
I’ll put it in terms of child-rearing.
Conception. I don’t remember the exact moment when sperm met egg, but suddenly my mind was swimming with ideas—a sea of possibilities; I was pregnant.
Gestation. For argument’s sake, let’s assume I’m not a human thing, but rather some mythical creature from the Fantasy aisle, whose gestation period lasts very much longer than 9 months. During this time, I wrote until my fingers bruised, until I was so sleep-deprived I couldn’t remember my name, until I finally disintegrated into my office chair. As I reached the last trimester, I deliberated over titles, cover images, formatting choices, fought with editors and proofers, discussed projected delivery dates, evaluated daycare options (Amazon, iBooks, Kobo, B&N, other). And then, one day, I went into labor. Those last hours were freakishly frantic; pushing, pulling, trying to make deadlines, praying to the literary gods.
Birth. The manuscript positioned itself, fingers pressed upload buttons, and then, swift and sure, I heard the first glorious wails of my child, my infant novel.
The Early Months. While conception to delivery may have seemed a Herculean effort—and it absolutely was, little did I know the real work had just begun; the raising of this precious thing. Within weeks, my child had grown into a demanding toddler. It was hungry for readers—for you! It wanted to grab you, distract you, focus your eyes on its words until the wee hours. But first, you had to notice it. Of course, I sent out announcements to everyone I’d ever known—but how many book-parents really know thousands of readers, tens of thousands?
Growing Pains. My child now needed reviews; it needed to rise above the ranks of its peers; it needed to be known. And I, like any loving mother, helped my sweet and somewhat sulky teen in every way possible. I became marketer, salesperson, blogger, social media expert, organ donor--Dare I say prostitute?
Maturation. Much to my surprise, one day I looked upon my baby, having exchanged the uncool cover of youth for a sleek new grownup look, and realized she was on the verge of adulthood—on the very verge of greatness! I shed tears of pride at graduation; Summa Cum Laude, no less. The Carrot had reached a pinnacle. It had touched the sky. And after breathing a well-earned sigh of relief, I smiled, looked directly into her all-grown-up pages, and said with great love, “Move your butt out of my house and get your own damned apartment!
Thank you to all the wonderful readers who have helped raise my first child. You have been more amazing than I dreamed possible.
If you haven’t read The Carrot yet, please visit Amazon or your favorite book vendor, and help her maintain gainful employment.
If you have read her, please leave a review so others can meet my birthday girl!
All the very best,
Virginia Gray, #1 Bestselling Author and proud Mom
Oh, and did I mention I’m pregnant again?