My novel Amiga will be released by Black Rose Writing on November 27, 2019. I have been describing my publishing journey in a series of posts. This is the ninth of the series.
October is special month for us. My wife is counting the days to her birthday. Our granddaughter has already picked out her Halloween costume. Pumpkin spice fills the air. And the release of Amiga is only eight weeks away.
Release is a good word to describe that phase of the publication process. The book is out of your hands. You don’t get to change that scene or fix the typo everyone happened to miss. You don’t get to add more backstory. You shouldn’t retcon or add extratextual content. The book no longer belongs to you. The book belongs to the reader.
Readers will shape their own perceptions of the book. They will visualize the characters in their own mind and assign their own meanings to different scenes. They will speculate what happened to the characters before the story took place and what happens to them afterwards.
As writers, we should encourage readers to do this. For example, I provide enough description for readers to place themselves in the story. They can then fill in the rest of the scene from places and people they know. The scene that plays out in their mind may be different from the one we had when we wrote it. Or it may be unrecognizable. What matters is that they’ve made the story their own.
It’s difficult and frightening to let go of something personal to us that we spent years in creating. But if we wanted to keep the story for ourselves, we wouldn’t commit it to words. We write because we want to share our story. We believe it has value to someone else. We seek connection. But we cannot make connection unless we are willing to entrust our story to someone else, to let them draw what they want and need from it, and let it inspire them to create their own stories.
I’ve already let Amiga go to reviewers, to family members, and soon, to readers everywhere. If you’re in Orange County, California on October 12, you can come to Indie Author Day at the Anaheim Central Library and buy a copy. I can’t wait to share this story with you.