Wednesday, January 19, 2011

In the end, there are only two words

In the beginning, there were 80,000 words.

At the time, I thought it was the end. The end of the novel--not my first novel, but my best one.

But really, that was only the beginning.

So, in the beginning, there were 80,000 words.

And then there was an agent (whom I adore) and an editor (ditto) and a publishing house (which was all beyond my brightest dreams). And then there were 10,000 more words added to the manuscript.

And three new ones: a title--ACROSS THE UNIVERSE.

And I loved all 90,003 of those words.

Today--today I heard four words I didn't dare dream that I would hear: NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER.

And a number: 7.

When I worried about my book doing well enough, living up to the expectation and making my editor and agent proud, my husband would say: is there anything you can do about it? And the answer was simple: no. I'd already written my 90,000 words, and I had to hope they were enough. And my publisher--my brilliant, wonderful, better-than-I-ever-dreamed-of publisher had marketed their hearts out to promote it. There was nothing else I could do; there was nothing else they could do.

This was all YOU.

YOU, the ones who believed in me from the start. The ones who ordered my book. The ones who read it--and re-read it, and told me how you cried when X happened, or how you thought Y was funny, or how when you got to the end, you started over again to find the clues I'd hidden.

This was all you.

And so, in the end, I don't really have 90,000 words, or three, or four. I only have two:

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