If there’s one thing I’d like to be known for, it’s my extreme pessimism about publishing. I never believe a book will actually be published until it’s actually printed and shipped. Until then I always think something could go wrong.
But now that the text is locked, and I’ve seen galleys, and we’re sending the book out for blurbs, it does seem likely that my third YA novel, Just Happy To Be Here, will come out on January 2nd, 2024. Right now the main effect has been for me to slowly go mad with anxiety–I’ll be kind of happy when it’s all over. The thing about publishing a book is that nothing ever happens: the book comes out, gets some reviews, and then it’s over. Like the story I once heard about an author whose book came out in March and got glowing write-ups everywhere, and then April came around, and they asked their publicist, “So what’s next, can we get some coverage in XYZ” and the publicist was like, “You wrote a March book, and it’s April now.” Today’s newspapers will be used to wrap tomorrow’s fish, etc, etc.
It’s funny sometimes to see new writers, and they haven’t gone through the wringer yet, and they still believe that their moment is coming, just because they went to Iowa and got a Stegner Fellowship and sold at auction. And you’re like, oh sweet summer child. Your star is not coming. Of course it does happen for people, but the chance it’ll happen for you is not high.
This time I have added anxiety, because I do still have this bizarre hope that my star will come. I’ve shelled out 20k for a private publicist, and my book will come out, with its trans girl protag, right around the time the primary season has turned up the volume on the conversation about “the gender ideology” in our school. So something could happen. Hope is the thing with feathers, etc.
I also have a second book coming out next year!!! My literary novel is tentatively scheduled for end of May, 2024, though the exact date is TBD. I still can’t believe it’s going to happen. FIVE YEARS of work. SO MANY REJECTIONS. I can’t even count the number of rejections this book has gotten. To the point where I really at some point internalized the idea that I wasn’t good enough and didn’t deserve to write serious books for adults and be taken seriously.
But it’s gonna come out! So strange.
As with yesterday’s musings on the future of trans people in the US, there’s no telling which way things will go with regards to my books. I feel relatively hopeful about the political situation, though. I just don’t think people want to be unfree. People might be fine oppressing others, but w abortion, we are getting into a world where folks are oppressing themselves, condemning themselves and their own daughters and wives to needless suffering. I just do not think, in the end, that the American people have the authoritarian mindset–I do not think that they want to be commanded and dominated.
The thing is, the Republicans can’t win without a lot of woman voters, and for a woman to vote Republican in 2024 is to vote for living death. You can always find a Serena Joy here or there, but I don’t think there are enough for the bad guys to win out in the end.1 Despite what people say, we are some sort of democracy. I think, according to the terms of our democracy, Trump won the election in 2016 and Biden won in 2020. And if the people vote for Trump or DeSantis in 2024 then they deserve what they get.
- Serena Joy is Fred’s wife in The Handmaid’s Tale ↩