The Complicated Emotions of Publishing

My debut poetry collection comes out a week from tomorrow. It's a day I never thought I'd see. It's a day my mom and older brother won't see; I ugly-cried when I received the acceptance because I couldn't share the news with them. I felt scooped out like a melon... open, wounded, and bare to the world.

I'm so grateful I ended up with the press I did. My book received extensive editing (thanks, Alex) and no changes were ever forced on me. The cover is my concept with my talented publisher's execution (appreciated, Emily). It's the book I wanted it to be.

Around the sixth time reading my manuscript, I began to hate each poem. I saw them as flawed, shambling creatures waiting to grip me with the teeth of cliche or shred me with claws coated in grammatical errors. I still think I missed something obvious.

Early reviews are trickling in due to NetGalley and my press' efforts. Each kind word and positive rating only strengthens the surreality. It doesn't feel like people are talking about my work. To me, my book is still on the island of my hard drive with the cursor blinking in secret smugness: I'm the only other thing seeing your words. 😉

I hope my book finds those who need it. My publisher told me two days ago that the collection has sold approximately 15 copies so far. Will one of those go to someone who will relate to it and feel less alone? Will it make someone evaluate a belief they hold? Will a metaphor inspire someone else to begin writing again? I hope so. I hope it changes someone (regardless of how minutely) for the better.

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