It never gets old
I’ve had a lot of my own books hit my hands. With 28 novels and dozens of books containing my shorter contribution, I’ve received a lot of hardbacks with my name on the cover.
But in case you’re wondering, no: it never gets old. I still open the box or envelope and pull the weight of it out with a thrill. Still run my hands over the dust jacket to feel the matte texture or the gloss sheen. Still admire the cover that I’ve been looking at, digitally and on stacks of ARCs, for the better part of a year. Still open it to check on the design of the title page and the look of the dedication and the crisp sharp print on the page.
What I don’t do is settle down to read it. Some writers do, but not me, for that way lies madness, because the moment I begin to read, I spot my first error, my first clunky phrase, my first missed opportunity for some clever plot point or clue….
Other than that, no, it never gets old. And I always take that first copy and write, just inside the flap, the words Author’s first copy. I add the date, and I sign it. That copy then goes into the file box stuffed with all the notes, printouts, articles, maps, and photos I used during the writing. It often contains an ARC, if I managed to hang onto one, as well as the first-draft typescript and what the publishers call the “foul matter”–a printout (what we old-school types have instead of e-edits) marked up with the dialogue between the editor, the copy editor, and me: comments, corrections, suggestions, queries, and quite a few of my own testy STETs, riding in the margins where I do not want something changed, thank you very much.
One of the next copies I receive will get a signature and a place on that shelf you see above (or rather, shelves, since they have now hit the end of my study’s second wall and require a start on the third.) But that first one goes into the master box, saved, to mark the project as complete.
If any of you are writers, tell me–what do you do with your first author copy?
Riviera Gold (excerpts and more here) will be out June 9, world-wide, print and audio: you can order a copy signed from Bookshop Santa Cruz or Poisoned Pen—or from your local Independent bookshop, or Barnes & Noble/Nook, or Amazon/Kindle, or CD or audio.
(And have your local Indie write me if they’d like some signed bookplates.)