The email subject line reads: Stella Rose!
Smiling, I open it to find a friend is forwarding his Amazon ship notice: “Congratulations! Your new estimated delivery date is: Thursday, April 9, 2015.” He thinks I’ll be thrilled.
Ping! Another email, another excited friend eager to share her Amazon news.
Ding! A text message, “My copy arrives on Tuesday!!”
Ping! Ping! Ding!
What the …?! My pub date is April 21! My publisher warned me not to plan any events until the first week of May, just in case books shipped late! What the hell is Amazon doing shipping my books two weeks early?! This was NOT in the contract!
With sweaty palms, I email my publicist something like: Hi Caitlin, Amazon is shipping early. Why are they doing this? I’m not ready.
Unwritten, but clearly implied: Make. Them. Stop. Just until April 21, the date I chose with care months earlier, the magical date that will symbolize my coming of age as an author, the date I will be ready for all this.
To have my book flung out of the warehouse randomly like this? It’s just wrong.
Caitlin replies something like: Yay! (Yay? Yay?!!) Amazon does this sometimes. (Really?? You’re telling me this now?!) Take the weekend to get your heart and mind to Stella Rose and get ready to enjoy this magical time.
Some help you are.
The next day, I share the horror of it all with my dear friend. She thinks Caitlin’s response is lovely. Gah!! Does anyone understand what’s going on here?
My friend asks, “What’s really going on here?”
She often does this, tosses cold water on my fiery tirades, leaving me dripping and confused. I grope in the dark recesses of my tangled mind for a few moments, find the truth thread, tug until the whole story unravels.
Here’s the truth: This seven year project has changed my life. I love this book to pieces. And sharing the journey with my friends and family has been the best part. With such a supportive clan cheering me on, quitting was never an option. I love them and they love me.
But it’s not about me anymore.
It’s about Stella Rose, A Novel.
And I’m terrified.
What if my friends don’t like her? What if she’s bullied on the mean streets of the literati? What if she doesn’t have the right stuff to survive out there on her own? What if …?
“It’s stage fright,” my friend says, and it’s true. I feel better already, just giving this feeling a name. Then my friend smiles and says, in that quiet roar of hers: “You’re both going to be fine.”
And, as usual, she’s right.