“Never forget that anticipation is an important part of life. Work’s important, family’s important, but without excitement, you have nothing. You’re cheating yourself if you refuse to enjoy what’s coming.” ― Nicholas Sparks, Three Weeks with My Brother
Today is the day.
Today (Wednesday, March 15, 2023) is the day I receive my paperback copy of the second revised edition of Reunion: A Story, my first novella (hell, my first work of fiction).
As I write this shortly after noon, a package with a small ( 6 x 0.13 x 9 inches) volume that weighs just 3.2 ounces is on its way to Lithia, Florida on an Amazon Prime delivery vehicle from a distribution center in Seffner.
According to the Amazon website, the delivery window is between now and 3:15 PM. I don’t think it’s going to arrive before 1 PM, though. Even though I’m not as familiar with the Tampa Bay area as I am with South Florida, I know that you’d need the USS Enterprise from Star Trek to get from Seffner to my neighborhood by 12:15 PM (the earliest estimate on the delivery window). 1 PM-3:15 PM is a more likely timeframe, in my view.
“… We need the sweet pain of anticipation to tell us we are really alive.” ― Albert Camus
To be honest, I’m surprised by my heightened state of excitement over this delivery. Reunion is not a new story; I wrote it pretty much “as is” in 1998, building the current novella upon the foundation of a creative writing assignment I did for my creative writing class at what was then Miami-Dade Community College’s South Campus in the late ‘80s.
It’s also not the first time I purchase a copy of my own work. When I self-published Reunion in July of 2018, I ordered both the e-book and the paperback, just as I did in 2012 when I self-published my collection of movie reviews, Save Me the Aisle Seat.
Back then, I was giddy as a schoolboy when I saw that the package with my book was out for delivery. In 2012, of course, the excitement was more intense because it was the first time anything of mine was for sale on Amazon, although Save Me the Aisle Seat was self-published instead of having gone through the traditional publication process that involves literary agents, editors, and multinational publishers such as Hachette or Penguin Random House.
Plus, back then, Mom was still around, even though by the time I bought her a copy of Save Me the Aisle Seat, her ability to read was stolen by the onset of dementia. When my book was first available on Amazon 11 years ago, my mother wasn’t so far gone that she didn’t understand that I’d authored a book, and once her copy arrived she always kept it within reach on her hospital-style bed. So I know that though she didn’t read it, she was proud that I’d finally achieved one of my goals – even if it was through the less-traditional medium of Amazon’s self-publishing division.
“The idea of waiting for something makes it more exciting.” ― Andy Warhol
My excitement over Reunion’s release five years ago was a bit more restrained. Mostly because Mom had died three years earlier and I was estranged from my older half-sister Vicky. I also published the first edition of the novella on July 2, 2018 – 17 days before the third anniversary of my mother’s passing, an event that led to my departure from Miami to the Tampa Bay area – in a bit of a melancholic fugue. I had a plethora of reasons for wanting to dust the story off and “put it out there,” including embarrassment over not having published anything in six years and the desire to impress a diverse group of people, including the woman I was dating at the time.
Also, I was hoping that since Reunion seemed to be the kind of literary work that would appeal to a wider audience than a collection of movie reviews, it would be more successful – critically and commercially – than Save Me the Aisle Seat.
I was right, in a way, about Reunion selling better than my first book; it didn’t go viral and earn me a publishing contract with one of the major publishers – otherwise, I would not have sleepless nights worrying about my future now– but it did get good reviews, and it has been purchased not only in Amazon’s U.S. store but also in Amazon UK and Amazon Australia.
So, yeah. I was as excited (if perhaps a bit more guarded) about getting Reunion out there in the summer of 2018 as I had been in 2012 when my first book went “live” on Amazon Kindle. (The e-book usually comes out first unless an author chooses to go only with the print edition.)
“Publishing a book is like stuffing a note into a bottle and hurling it into the sea. Some bottles drown, some come safe to land, where the notes are read and then possibly cherished, or else misinterpreted, or else understood all too well by those who hate the message. You never know who your readers might be.” ― Margaret Atwood
It’s been a bit over an hour since I began this post, and my package has not arrived yet. I can, of course, read the Kindle-on-my-browser version of Reunion, which appears to be based on the penultimate upload of corrections I sent to Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) late on Monday night. That’s the best version that I can read now since the versions I have on my PC and Amazon Fire tablet are based on an earlier version of the revisions.
I ordered the paperback yesterday afternoon, so I’m fervently hoping that it will present the story in its final form. From what I’ve seen on my order tracking information on Amazon, I will get a book with the new cover art rather than the original abstract cover displayed on Reunion’s product page.
What I don’t know, though, is if I sent the last upload of corrections to KDP before or after I chose the new cover art. I made those last edits around 1 AM on Monday, but I don’t remember with any degree of confidence whether the cover was done or not.
If it was before, then it’s likely that the paperback’s content reflects the last corrections as they appear on Kindle Create, and I’ll get the definitive edition today.
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