Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Tell Me What You Want (What You Really, Really Want)

Ugh, I apologize in advance for putting that song in your head, but I guess everyone's day isn't complete without a Spice Girls earworm.

If you're on Twitter and follow publishing people at all, you'll notice that just about everyone and their mother is going to BEA--Book Expo America, the largest publishing trade show in America and one of the biggest book events in the world.

And I am super jealous of everyone who's going.

See, I've always wanted to go to BEA. Even before I was published, I wanted to go as a fangirl, but couldn't afford it. Now that I am published, I've wanted to go as an author, but the timing of my books' releases haven't been good for it.


I have a book that is very close to my heart, and that I want to make it out into the world. I've been writing and revising it between my other contracted books (I started working on it before I finished Shades of Earth), so it's been slower that normal, but I really love this book.

I recently saw a dress on ModCloth that was perfect for this book. This one. Everything about it--words, pens, birds--was perfect for this book of my heart. The one that I'm currently revising--again--and hope, hope, hope that it sells.

Which means it's not sold yet.

And I've been doing this long enough to know that it might not sell at all.

But...I could see myself holding a launch party for that book wearing that dress. When I shut my eyes, I imagined how it would be to sign a book in that dress, and have the reader notice the tiny details in the cloth and realize that the dress really was that perfect.

But...I hadn't sold the book yet. I shouldn't buy that expensive of a dress for an imaginary launch party for a book that had not sold yet.  It was sort of ridiculous.

I bought it anyway.

I decided that I needed that dress. I needed to believe that I would have this launch party, that it would happen for me, for the book. I needed to believe that one day I would wear that dress and a reader would notice the details and connect them to this book. That a reader would read the book.

That's why I bought it. For the chance of this dream coming true.

It's hanging in my closet now. I'm not going to wear yet. But I will. One day. Hopefully soon. I will iron the wrinkles out, and I will whisper to the cloth, "I told you so."

Seeing everyone tweeting about BEA right now of course makes me a little jealous. That's a dream I would like to fulfill, one that probably won't happen any time soon. But rather than stew in my own envious green juices, I decide what I'd do is make a list of things that I hope will one day happen. I don't want to seem ungrateful! My biggest dream--to have a book published--has already come true, and with it, so many other dreams that I hardly believed possible--listing, reviews in Kirkus and PW, seeing the book on a shelf, being asked to sign, getting fan mail and fan art. That stuff is amazing and I wouldn't trade it for the world. If nothing else happens, those memories will forever be a part of my happiest place.

But I also think it's important to think about what else you want--to strive for something more, to never quite reach the star in the distance. So here's my list of pie-in-the-sky dreams, the things I desperately wish would happen:

My Wish List

Attend BEA as an author: I've just talked about this one, but it's one I definitely want. BEA has been this glimmering dream of mine, and I really want to walk into the Javits Center as an author and do a signing or a panel. Other events that I really want to go to as an author: Comic Con in San Diego and the Texas Library Association Conference (TLA).

Do a signing in the Philippines: I hear from readers in the Philippines about every other day, and they seem like voraciously avid readers, and I would love to come and meet them! I've never been to that side of the world before, but it seems so awesome. Other countries that I really want to visit for book signings: Germany, Spain, Brazil, and basically everywhere. I love to travel. 

Get a movie (or TV series) made of one of my books: While I'm dreaming big, right? I'd love to see a movie of one of my books. The most asked question I get as an author is, "Why don't you make a movie?" Of course, it's more complicated than that, and even if I sell movie rights, there's a huge chance it won't happen. But's definitely a dream of mine. (And, of course, part of the dream is they make a good movie...)

Merch: This likely would never happen unless a movie is made, but I've always sort of wanted to see some kind of merchandise based on something in my books. A Lego kit of Godspeed? A FunPop vinyl doll? 

...and now I realize that, with the possible exception of the second wish, George RR Martin is living my dreams. I really should just grow out my beard and swap lives with him...

And the biggest one of all: A lifetime career in writing and a legacy of books. This is one that I will never see personally. But...I want to always be writing. This is my dream job, and even now, it's still a dream. And...I'd like it if, long after I'm gone, I have an oeuvre out there in the world, and that far in the future, some kid will pick up a copy of one of my books and enter my world again. This is the closest thing you can get to immortality on Earth. 

Some of these dreams I can control. If I save my money, I can attend BEA or do an international signing on my own. Some authors have even run successful Kickstarters or other campaigns to turn their books into film or launch merch lines. And I will certainly not quit writing as long as I am able. I'll do all I can to give Fate a chance to make these dreams come true.

That's it--those are my current biggest dreams for my profession. What are yours?

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