Well, it's been six months to the day since SURVIVAL COLONY 9 hit the shelves, and I'm happy to report that the reality has exceeded my expectations.
No, I don't mean the book's become an international bestseller or scored a six-figure movie deal. Sales are fine but not breathtaking. The things I expected to happen have happened, but not in any spectacular way; I didn't pack Madison Square Garden for a public reading.
What I mean is that many little things have happened that I couldn't have imagined before the book came out. Though there have been many such small delights--fan emails, speaking requests, invitations to blurb other people's books--here are five particular highlights:
1. At my launch party in Pittsburgh, I had two surprise guests: a close friend from high school who lives in California, and a beloved cousin who lives in Massachusetts. I was blown away when one of them walked through the door. I was speechless when the other did. (That's my cousin on the right.)
2. A couple of my ARCs went out on "tour" to members of the writers' groups to which I belong. Both of them came back with signatures and nice comments. One of them came back with original artwork inspired by the story.
3. Many friends (and some complete strangers) have sent me pictures of my book on bookstore or library shelves, or in their own hands or the hands of their children. But I didn't think people would actually go out and make SURVIVAL COLONY 9 T-shirts!
4. Thanks to my publicist and my own contacts, I spoke at a number of schools and libraries. Many of them had good-sized crowds; one of the schools had the entire eighth grade class, about 150 students, reading my book. At this same school, one of the students handed me a picture she'd drawn for me. I felt almost as good as I used to feel when my own children were little and gave me one of their special drawings.
5. Out of the blue, I received an email from a friend I haven't seen since high school (that's over thirty years, if anyone's counting). She attended a private all-girls high school, while I went to one of the public schools; she invited me to her prom, and we went as friends. In her email, she said she'd read my book and wanted to tell me how much she enjoyed it. It was a mind-boggling experience, and it reminded me how amazing it is to be an author.
Madison Square Garden would be nice. But it's the little things that are the very best.