When I was struggling...for fifteen years, struggling...to get a book published, my husband would sometimes challenge me. "Why are you doing this?" he would ask, always logical. "What is your goal?"
I'd sniff, and waffle around for a while: 'to get a big 5 contract' 'to see my book in stores', all sorts of things. But when it came down to it, I always ended at the same, deep goal: "I want other people to read and enjoy one of my stories."
That's it, in the end. I wanted people to read my stories.
Fast forward to now, 3 months out from the release of my first book. It's easy--soooo easy--to get caught up in the stress of it: getting another deal, worrying about sales numbers and store placement and comparing. Sometimes I fall prey to it like everyone else. But when I do, I have a very simple strategy for overcoming the stress.
I go and look at Worldcat, and I see that my book, a story I wrote all from my own head, is in libraries. All across the country, across the world. Not only that--it's checked out, in lots of places. Hundreds of copies are checked out right now. It's in people's hands. And you know what that means?
People are reading my story. No matter the rest of it, no matter how many bookstores it's in or who bought it today, someone, somewhere, is probably reading it right now. That was my goal, my dream, and that is real now.
So I want to thank you, the most important people in this equation: the readers. Especially thank you to the ones who blog and review on Goodreads and Amazon and all that, who recommend and share with other people. I am so grateful to you for spreading the word. Thank you to the excited readers I've met at signings, to the ones who email their love. But also thank you to the kid who checked it out from the library yesterday, who's curled up with it on their couch tonight, who's sneak-reading it when they should be doing chores or homework. Even if you quietly close it at the end and smile, and never tell anyone.
Thank you for making my dream come true.