So let's give this post another try.
Getting published is like losing weight. Everyone suddenly loves you, all your problems go away, and if weighloss ads on TV are to be believed, your house will always be clean, your children obedient, and your taste in clothes both expensive and impeccable. That's just the way it works for skinny people and published authors.
I don't know if anyone reading this is like me (except if I'm the only one reading, then yes, I'm very much like me), but sometimes I get delusions of grandeur about the publishing process. Certainly, published authors live stress-free lives, right? They don't face criticism or feel insecure about their work... right? Right?
Okay, so maybe not, but it's fun to pretend. It's fun to believe that everyone I ever knew will rush to get my book as soon as it's in stores. Fun to think that they will, of course, all love it and think it's the best thing they ever read. My family will brag, old boyfriends will kick themselves for losing me, my son's Little League coach will let him pitch just because he's my son. Yes, the moment my books hit the shelves all my problems will virtually shrink to nothing like Crocks in the Arizona sun (true story-- nothing like July in AZ).
In all my daydreaming, it never occurred to me that somebody who knows me, someone I respect or think highly of, would actually NOT want to bask in the glory that will be my first published book.
Lat week I ran into an old friend who I haven't seen in over ten years. We were always great friends-- he was kind, intelligent, super supportive. When I told him I was writing a book he got excited. Without even knowing what it was about, he instantly started comparing my to incomparable authors. Authors it would take a lifetime to emulate-- if emulation is even possible. Then, he proceeded to list some books that he didn't like. The kind of books that, according to him, I would never waste my time writing.
When he asked what my book was about, I was deliberately vague. How could I tell him my book was exactly like the books he was criticizing? That not only had I wasted my time, but I had spent almost the last two years of my life working on "that kind" of book?
For the first time, instead of imagining a city parade thrown in my honor, I actually entertained the idea that people might be disappointed. They may not only dislike it, but feel the need to tell me about it. Ouch.
From this I have learned one thing: nothing is always as glorious as it appears on the surface. And no matter how skinny I am, I will still have dirty dishes to clean and occasionally disobedient children.