At a conference last week my publisher had a book table and sold the first pre-release copies of my debut novel, The Confessions of Adam. About a dozen copies went home with readers from various locations across the US.
It is surreal to think that at any given time a stranger somewhere could be reading your novel. I have moved the work from that silent and solitary place of daily writing, through months of maneuvering a manuscript toward publication, to this new and foreign stage of observing from afar unknown readers as they react to a book with my name on it.
I am reminded of the axiom ‘the story must stand on its own.’ I’m not sitting next to each reader giving them a synopsis of the novel or telling them how I came to write the story. They’ve never seen my name before. I’m an unknown. I’ve nothing to do with the reader’s experience. The book is now theirs to complete, to read and to imagine.
The story must stand on its own—while I write the next one.