January 31 was a writing deadline for us. The rewrite of Stars Beyond was due to our editor.
There was the usual ‘do not press send’ moment where you open the email attachment—to check if you had sent the right document, and that it was formatted properly—only to see a really clunky, wince-making phrase on the first page, plus two clumsy transition sentences and another clunky turn of phrase on page two. It’s not as if we haven’t spent months working on the thing, or that we haven’t read that page plenty of times before, but there’s something about that final email that makes poor writing stand out. I wish my email had recall and resend.
Afterwards we ate dinner. We may have had a glass of wine (three days ago is a long time now), but I don’t recall. Work-wise, I was super busy and had something I needed to finish afterwards.
It got me thinking about how we celebrate book milestones, and what we do celebrate.
It seems to consist mostly of eating out and drinking a lot. 😊
Getting an agent
This was a celebratory dinner and a bottle of wine.
I have to say that so far this has been the most euphoric (as in, so happy) of all the celebrations, because it was the first.
In the twelve months before that our writing had also levelled up, we were writing fast. We knew we were writing better and getting an agent was proof of that.
On getting the offer
We had a celebratory dinner out when Caitlin’s mail with the offer came through, along with her recommendation we accept.
The actual signing of the contract didn’t happen for months. That was close to the time we had to hand the book in to the editor, so it was much later. We had a nice wine to go with dinner for that.
On delivering the manuscript on the deadline due date
This is the date you are contracted to provide the manuscript to the editor. We work hard in that month prior (especially Sherylyn) to polish the story. We’re exhausted by the end.
A glass of wine with dinner for that.
Receiving our first ARCs
Advanced reader copies are the pre-final proof versions of the book, sent out for publicity purposes. Until this time, you only ever handle the book electronically. This is the first time you have a physical book in your hand. Because of that, it’s almost a bigger buzz than publication day.
Release day for Linesman was Sherylyn’s birthday. Plus, it was our first book, so we combined the two into a weekend shopping tour/overnight stay/celebration in the city.
For other books we’ve celebrated publication day with a home cooked dinner and wine.
We don’t do book launches. Our books are available for sale in the US. They’re difficult to get here in Australia except in specialty bookstores. Regular bookstores have to order them in. Thus publication date is a celebration just between us.
Selling Japanese rights for Linesman
Our first foreign rights. You guessed it. Wine and a nice dinner.
Contract for the two Stars Uncharted books
This time we celebrated when we had the contract in our hands to sign. We went to the Pancake Parlor for breakfast. No wine, because it was breakfast.
Neither of us likes pancakes, but we love the ambience of the restaurant. It is so easy to work on stories in there. It’s our go-to place to work out particularly knotty problems in a manuscript.
As you can see, we eat and drink our milestones. The best dinners, we’ve found, are simple. Nothing too fancy, just basics we love, like homemade pasta (literally, since we bought a pasta machine and love what’s coming out of it) with a simple sauce. Okay wine. Good company. Shared experience. We’ve been through the journey to produce the books, we celebrate the highs together.