Mark Terry

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

How Do You Celebrate?



April 4, 2007
Over on the Inkspots blog (which I can honestly say is becoming one of the more interesting blogs I check daily), Julia Buckley posted about her reaction to the news that she was getting published and wondered how others celebrated?

My experiences with publication have been so quirky, with deals falling through, self-pubbing, and such, that I'm afraid I never did crack open a champagne bottle or even give a shout of "Yippee." Or maybe that's just me.

Now that I'm a fulltime freelancer and novel contracts seem to be part of the business, I tend to not get overly excited about the whole thing, fretting instead over contractual details and the eventual contract fulfillment and marketing issues that await me. I do, though, think of Mike Noonan's routine, from Stephen King's "Bag of Bones." Mike would leave the last line unfinished, open a bottle of champagne, pour two glasses, and have his wife Joanna type the last line and The End. She would say, "Well, that's all right then," and they would drink champagne.

When I complete a manuscript sometimes I think, "Well, that's all right then." (It most definitely is, isn't it?) No champagne. (Don't really like it, anyway). And come to think about it, I did recently complete a kids' novel and I primarily celebrated by mailing it off to my agent. Maybe there's something ritualistic about the visit to the Lake Orion or Oxford Post Office. (There is at the Oxford PO--my blood pressure goes up; chronically understaffed and reliably surly. Certainly seems ritualistic). Occasionally I send a little prayer to the Creator or the gods or whatever whimsical forces bestow blessings in the universe wishing this creation's financial success. But otherwise my publication notification, contracts and eventual book release (if books were Klingons, they would escape! my friend Andy tells me) remain relatively celebration free.

Maybe I've taken all the fun out of it.

Of course, I get excited over all this, but there may be a bit of a Puritan or superstitious freak in me that says, "Shhh, don't get too excited over this, if you get too excited, it won't happen."

Anyway,
For those of you who are having your fiction regularly published, how do you celebrate, if you do?

And for those of you who hope to be published, how do you think you'll celebrate?

Best,
Mark Terry

13 Comments:

Anonymous Eric Mayer said...

No celebrations here. It's all a continuing process. The final manuscript will need revision. Even when a book is finally completed satisfactorially and printed you don't know what the reviews will be like. Or then what the sales will be like. Or where that book might lead, if anywhere. If it leads to the chance to write another book then you're starting the whole process again.

I'm trying to think when I would feel like I'd achieved a victory to merit celebration. Probably if I got a big enough check that I could write fiction full time. Even then, I'd have to get right back to work, but getting the job I've always coveted would be worth celebrating.

5:45 PM  
Blogger Mark Terry said...

Eric,
You and I--for better or worse--seem to have the same attitude.

Of course, it's possible that the real reward (aside from the checks) is the actual writing. Imagine that!

5:23 AM  
Anonymous gregory huffstutter said...

I already have an agreement with my wife. If I get the call that my novel has sold, I've got to take her out to "French 75" -- a swanky restaurant in Laguna Beach with escargot and a chocolate souffle to kill for. It will be fair payment for all the weekends I spent behind the computer instead of doing chores around the house. And given French 75's wine list, I just may blow my entire advance.

9:44 AM  
Blogger Mark Terry said...

...escargot and a chocolate souffle..."

I have to admit, my brain dropped the "a" here for a moment. I'm thinking, now, there's a souffle you don't hear much about--snails, chocolate and garlic butter. Yummmmmm...

Hope you'll be celebrating soon!

10:16 AM  
Blogger Mark Terry said...

Oh, and Greg, you bastard, we got 2 inches of snow last night with 25 to 35 MPH winds. Please, please, send some better weather our way!

10:17 AM  
Anonymous gregory huffstutter said...

That sucks. Would this be a bad time to mention that it was in the 70's and sunny all weekend?
Since my wife and I can't afford to buy a house in our zip code, bragging about the weather is our main consolation.
Let me put my fingers together and send a warm front your way...

11:50 AM  
Blogger Mark Terry said...

Just so you know, Greg, we had record highs in the 80s just about 2 weeks ago. I went to Austin, TX for the weekend--80s and sunny--came back with some warm weather, but it only lasted 2 days. It's been mild until the last couple days, which suck, even by the standards of a Michigan spring, which is notorious for coming grundgingly.

12:34 PM  
Blogger Joe Moore said...

Everybody stop and listen for a second. Hear that sound? It’s the hoof beat of the herd of wanna-be-published writers getting ready to run over us. This whole thing of not celebrating is definitely a “stop and smell the roses issue”. If we don’t take a moment to celebrate in some manner the milestones and accomplishments in our writing career, much less our lives, then what meaning do they have? For that matter, why bother? For every writer lucky enough to have their words published, there’s that herd made up of hundreds of thousands of writers who would kill for the same privilege. With the competition in publishing so cut-throat, it is a major accomplishment to have a publisher extend a contract and agree to risk their money on our work. Take a moment to relish each accomplishment, whether it’s a finished manuscript, or the day a books first appears on Amazon, or the first great review. Remember that published writers are a tiny, elite group. We’re easily trampled by the herd.

12:43 PM  
Blogger Mark Terry said...

Damn, I heard hoofbeats and thought they were zebras!

Somebody else told me, "Hey dummy, when you hear hoofbeats, look for horses, not zebras!"

Now you're telling me I hear hoofbeats, I should be looking for writers!

Damn, this is getting confusing.

2:18 PM  
Blogger Bernita said...

The first time I had an article published I did want to run screaming into the streets and buttonhole complete strangers.
Now, I think my primary reaction would be, Okaay, what's next?"

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