Thursday, June 2, 2011

Why I can’t look at my own book

I’ve been writing for my supper my whole adult life.

I was a journalist many moons ago, and eventually made my way to a career in marketing/public relations where I’ve grown fairly accustomed to seeing my byline in magazines and newsletters.

That’s a lie, actually.

I pretty much never see my own byline because I can’t stand to look at anything I’ve written after it’s printed. I’m terrified I’ll see mistakes and won’t be able to fix them. That doesn’t hold true for blog posts, which can be edited and tweaked even after publication.

But anything in print that can no longer be corrected? Forget it. I refuse to look. I’d rather slam my hand in the car door repeatedly until I pass out. I’ve had this hang-up since my days of writing for the high school newspaper, so I doubt it’s going to recede anytime soon.

What this means is that even though I received five Advance Reading Copies (ARCs) of Making Waves in the mail Friday, I haven’t done more than take a quick glance at the acknowledgments page.

I’m kind of not sure what to do with the books, to be honest. One copy is making the rounds with my fellow authors at The Debutante Ball. One copy went to blog contest winner Allie Sanders (who read it in less than 24 hours and already posted a lovely review). One copy was viciously stolen by generously gifted to a close friend.

That leaves me with two copies. I suppose I should keep one for myself for sentimental purposes or just to wave around and show people.

So what should I do with the last one?

I emailed the Sourcebooks publicity director to see if there’s some special way I’m supposed to use the ARCs. Like maybe this is one of those things all the real authors know about, but I somehow missed the memo.

She wrote back with a few suggestions, but ultimately, left it up to me:

I send these copies for your own use, so do what you will! she wrote.

So I’ll go ahead and turn this over to you guys. What do you think I should do with this extra ARC? Offer it to my mom? Do a blog contest giveaway? Bury it in a time capsule in my backyard?

I’ll open this up for your suggestions and will decide this lonely ARC’s fate within the next few days.

In the meantime, I’ll be over here not looking at it.

40 comments :

Shakespeare said...

Hmmm... mom's always a good bet. If she's anything like MY mom, she'll gush over it like it's a newborn baby, getting teary and all.

I'd say send it to me (ha ha!), but, frankly, I'm already going to buy it, so there's no need.

Crystal Jigsaw said...

I was the same with Discovery at Rosehill. I think it's the apprehension at seeing a typo or an error, or a sentence that doesn't read well. Oh, the shame!!

I'm sure it's fabulous!

CJ xx

Susan Flett Swiderski said...

Oh crap, now that Shakespeare's gone all altruistic, I don't guess I can get away with suggesting you send that book to ME. So, I'd say give it to your mother. She's probably your number one fan and supporter.

Sarah W said...

I'm not altruistic --- I'll take it off your hands!!

(note the careful use of two exclamation points --- three would be stalkery)

I'd love to pre-review it on my blog, too, which I supposed is at least semi-altruistic.

Anne Gallagher said...

As much as I'd love to read it now, I'll buy my own copy.

Give it to Mom.

The Sprouting Acorn said...

You know, I never spill coffee. Never. Until today that is. So unless you want coffee dripped all over the most important parts of this book, yeah, don't send it to me. I'm too busy Making (coffee) Waves!! :)) I vote to send it to the Momma.

Linda G. said...

I have to go with giving it to your mom. It's her grand-book, after all. She should have dibs. ;)

Matthew MacNish said...

My understanding, as an ignorant amateur writer, is that ARCs are meant to be used to build word of mouth. But I suppose your publisher probably has other ARCs for that, and these ones are just for you.

I think you should give it to Candace, FWIW.

danielle Spears said...

That's a toughy. You could have a photo contest of some sort. Maybe someone reenacting the cover art ;)

Ang said...

I would say give it to Mom, but it's like Girl Scout cookies ... moms have to buy extras to show their support! ;) I love the time capsule idea.

Kristie Cook said...

You might want to look at the ARC because you CAN still fix typos and errors. That's part of its purpose, right? I would gladly take it off your hands, but I think you should have a contest. If mom doesn't want it anyway (mine didn't-she wanted finished copy). Do something epic.

Teri Anne Stanley said...

I was going to suggest that you send it to me, but then that whole MOM thing came up. She probably wants to hang it on the refrigerator (send her a BIG MAGNET, too!). My mom still has a copy of my Masters Thesis...and I don't even have that anymore.

Laura Maylene said...

You're asking your blog readers what to do, so we are obviously going to tell you to do a blog contest. :) In fact, why not give away both of them? You don't want to look at it anyway, and you'll have copies of the final, published book soon.

--Greedy McGreedster

(I don't read my work once it's published, either. I was thinking something was wrong with me that I have a stack of literary magazines with my stories in them that I haven't looked at. I will look at my published articles, though. I guess that wouldn't stab me as much if there's a mistake.)

Patrick Alan said...

I think you should have your tenants take turns reading from it in a Podcast or vlog or youtube video.

Patty Blount said...

Encase it in Lucite and prop it on the mantle, preferably with a velvet rope queue before it.

Michelle Miller said...

I think contest is a good idea. Love the photo re-enactment idea. Or maybe a writing contest? Prize goes to the one who can get the most double-entedres in 500 words or less.

lynnrush said...

Blog contest for sure!!! :)

Michelle Miller said...

Oh, and I'm totally with you on the whole 'once it's in print and there's nothing I can do about I'll never look at it again' thing. There's a book I wrote twenty years ago on my shelf that has never been opened.

Tessa Conte said...

BLOG CONTEST!!!

*ahem*

OK no you should give it to your mom. Definately.

*nodds head emphatically*

*no really*

Bethany Elizabeth said...

The selfish part of me suggests a blog contest. :)
The sane part of me suggests giving it to your mom. :)

Charity Bradford said...

Lot's of good advice above. Now, I'm going to give your mind a break and tell you a funny story.

My 11 year old daughter is getting out of the van at school this morning and my 4 year old son yells, "I don't like you!"

"C, that was rude, you know you love her." I say calmly as I drive away.

"No, I just like sleeping with her."

Silence as my brain puts those words into a characters mouth...

Giggling ensues and then he says, "I put an invisible camera outside the door and the cord can stretch as long as it needs too."

Where in the world did all of THAT come from???

good luck making your decision.

ashelynn hetland said...

I say blog giveaway. Your mom can steal your copy, yeah? And then you steal that back. Think of your lovely blog followers...

*smiles*

Gabriela Lessa said...

Well, just like everyone else, selfish me says blog contest, altruistic me says mom.
(Well, actually selfish me really says send it to me and no one needs to know, but the contest is good too....)

Michelle Wolfson said...

I have to say, I'm a little surprised at how many altruistic commenters you have. I wouldn't have guessed it.

I'm sad to note that no one has yet given the correct response, which is: Even though all these people are making me feel like I should say give it to your mom, I'm going to say give it to me, or at the very least do a contest where I would have a chance at winning and because you do cool contests, but really don't even do a contest because I'm greedy and I'm dying to read this so muchthat I can't wait until August even though it's all so silly since I'm going to buy a copy of your book anyway! Actually, what am I saying?? I'll probably buy at least 5 copies!! But still, send me the ARC because I want to read it now. But don't worry, I'm still buying copies.

I don't understand why no one got that right.

Blaire Kensley said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Monica-Marie Holtkamp said...

Ok...so HERE is an end to your dilemma....you give the copy you're keeping for "sentimental purposes" to your Mom...because she WILL keep it UBER nicely for you (you'll be able to see it whenever you do or don't want to!)...and then that pesky extra copy have a cool & wonderful contest of some kind to give the likes of lil ol me a chance to win it! "I" think that sounds like a "win win" that way your Mom can enjoy gushing over her daughter the author...and your adoring fans (aka ME) can geta chance to win such a wonderful book! Whatcha think of that?? ;) (PS...hope to see you Mongering with us again soon!)

Danielle Spears said...

FYI your mom can SO participate in the cover reenactment photo contest too! That way she won't feel left out. She and your dad seem like a happy couple. And I'm totally against your agent getting the copy for obvious reasons. No offense, Michelle :)

Michelle Wolfson said...

Ha, I wasn't answering that for me. I was saying that was The Correct Answer, as far as I'm concerned, and no one has given it.

Luckily for all of you, Tawna does not consult with me on blog decisions.

Judy,Judy,Judy. said...

I haven't read all the comments so if someone else said this, too bad.

The answer is simple. You should give it to me. Think about how simple that would be. I'll send you my address, you send it to me - voila - it's done.

Yep - send it to me.

Sara McClung ♥ said...

Do a blog contest!!!

Also, I'm pretty sure there are many authors who don't reread what they've written once it's published. I met Orson Scott Card once, and he said the exact same thing!

Liz Hayes said...

Contest! Contest! Contest!
Preferably with one of the new houseboys ... er, I mean tenants picking the winner so we can get some photos ;)

Bill Cameron said...

It's like a how to guide, right? I need all the help I can get.

Kay Elam said...

Send it to your ex to flaunt your success :-)

lora96 said...

Although I would love to get my hot little hands on an advanced copy, I have to vote for your mom on this one. She has the prior claim of having, ya know, given you life.

However, if your mom already has one, maybe see if you can use one of those hallmark sound card recorders to rig the ARC to play F*** You by Cee Lo and send it (anonymously of course b/c who would ever guess it was from you) to the ex. Or you could say it was from me. I'm fine with that, too. :)

Delia said...

Now see, you really have two extra copies. Because the one circulating through the other Debs has got to come back to you at some point, right? I mean, if the last Deb to read it gets to keep it, it's not fair to the others. So, in the interest of fairness, it comes back to you. I don't know about the other folks here, but I'm not opposed to a used copy so long as I don't have to wait until August to read it.

Therefore, I vote that you keep your personal copy to pretty up your bookshelf, give one copy to mom, and hold a contest for the used copy. Everybody's happy. See? I can be altruistic, too.

kd easley said...

I vote for mom. :) That's what I would have done if I could.

khanes said...

I just want to say congratulations, and I can't wait to read your book. Do you know if it will be available on Kindle? This is such a huge accomplishment, and is so encouraging to me :) My novel is in its third revision and I haven't touched it in 6 or 7 months. I love seeing these success stories!

Penelope said...

I vote for a Twitter contest. You have such a unique voice, that I think it would be hilarious for people to post tweets in an attempt to make you laugh. You would pick the best one.

In this format, for example:

I'm trying to make @tawnafenske laugh: I meant to text xoxo to my mom, but autocorrect turned it to cock. #makingwavesgiveaway

Either way, I'll buy it. :)

Simon C. Larter said...

I've wanted to edit every published story of mine so far. You're not alone.

After the second or third drink of the evening, the urge to edit passes, though, so maybe read your ARC while plowing through a second bottle of Chianti?

#helpful

Claire Dawn said...

Since I want it I'd say contest. But Momz would be cool too :)