Those early weeks... weeks of excitement, anticipation, anxiety. Those weeks following the release of your next book when you wait for the early affirmation that your story has connected with readers, that it will be accepted and supported by the book stores, and that it will have life beyond the early flurry.
My third novel, Grayton Winds, was released this past December. We've been busy supporting distribution through independent books stores in the Midwest, and down along the Northern Gulf Coast of Florida where the story is set. Schuler Books in West Michigan has again gone above and beyond, stocking and supporting the book in prominent locations in their stores. In Florida, both Sundog Books in Seaside, and the Hidden Lantern Bookstore in Rosemary Beach are providing enthusiastic support and encouragement. I'm looking forward to attend book signing events at both locations in March and April. For those of us who love our local book stores, we need to continue to support them, even if it's through their online distribution.
And then there are the early readers and the first true feedback from people who have paid to read your work. There is a great sigh of relief that I'm sure most writers share, when those early bits of feedback are strong and encouraging.
I had the pleasure of attending a reading group session two weeks ago. The ten women in the reading group had read my first two novels, and most had already read the new Grayton Winds. They had even taken a field trip last summer to Charlevoix, Michigan to visit the many local sites that were prominent scenes in my first two weeks. As usual with reading group visits, the discussion was delightful.
The true sign of acceptance comes when you see people begin to recommend your work, and those referrals lead to even more. Those long hours of research, writing, editing and on and on, all become well worth the effort when you find that you've connected with a reader, and that your story moved them to have real emotions around the people and places in your story.
So the early weeks are showing positive signs for Grayton Winds. There is much work left to be done, but it's nice to take just a moment and a deep breath of relief.
And then there's the next story coming together in your mind...