A week and a half ago I recieved an email from a friend. It said, "Congratulations! See below!" Below was an attachment from a mutual friend had seen "Maya was Grumpy" in her local bookstore. My first reaction was disbelief. Maya is scheduled to be released on May 1st. But. There it was, a lovely photo showing Maya face out at Barnes & Noble. I showed it to the hubby and we cheered. I emailed my editor and then I let it go as some sort of fluke or a stocking mistake.
But, a few days later, another friend posted a photo on FB showing Maya at a different B&N across the country. Holy Cow! I couldn't believe it. My book, my baby, my very first book that I had worked on (and sweated on and cried over and learned a whole new technique and style from) for the last year was out at multiple stores! Now. 3 months early.
At Barnes & Nobles, on displays that I used to stand in front of reading, researching and dreaming about. I thought that I would have time to prepare myself for this moment but I didn't. Honestly, I don't know if you can ever really prepare yourself for this strange mixture of exitement, wonder, community and fear that is the release of your first book.
Other friends and family started popping up to report B&N sightings. My sister and mom went to their local B&N and bought two copies of the book. I did a google chat with the husband as I held the actual book in my hands and read it for the very first time. (Ah, the smell and feel of a picture book, so wonderful!)
On twitter & FB, lovely photos and notes of congratulations kept coming and my mind began to maybe somewhat accept the reality that my book was really, really out. My agent and editor calmed my early release fears and I buckled down to get ready for the NYSCBWI conference.(and re-design and add work that is in my new style to my portfolio) I waited to check FB friday night so I could properly absorb and respond to the wonderful community that is kidlit. There is no other community as supportive and wonderful, I am positive.
At the illustrator intensive, I signed my first book (between the giggling, goofy photos, practicing, finding the right marker and forgeting to sign my name it was a long process) The Saturday of the conference, two friends and I took a trip to the B&N close to the conference so I could see the book on display. (They had just recived the book at my local B&N so I didn't actually see it on the shelves) I signed two more copies for family and showed the book to whomever asked or I thought to share it with.
After all of the photos, notes of congratulations, seeing friends and strangers purchase the book (the hubby likes Bookscan) holding it in my hand and sending the hubby into our local B&N to confirm that it was now on the display shelf, it is finally, really, really sinking in that "Maya was Grumpy" is available in a B&N near you. It will be available in other stores soon and can be pre-ordered online now.
Now I have promotion to do.