Monday, November 28, 2011

Legend is finally here. An emotional day.

(posting a few hours early :) )

Today is November 29, 2011. It is the day my first novel, Legend, releases in bookstores.

I’m sitting in the little living room of the bungalow I share with my boyfriend, buried under a pile of dogs (I have three—two corgis and a Chihuahua), and attempting to not hyperventilate into a paper bag. Playing the ‘Finding Nemo’ theme song on repeat is probably not helping, either. (Could there BE a more depressing theme? I want to bawl every time I hear it. Oh, Nemo! You adorable little gimpy-finned fish egg! Anyway. I digress.) Is it really The Day? How do I articulate the avalanche of emotions going through my head? How do I even begin to communicate this? Today, my twelve-year journey of trying to get published officially comes to an end, and I will have stepped through the looking glass to the other side.

Sorry, I may get a little metaphorical and cheesy, but come on! You only get a debut novel release date once in your life. (Well, once in your country, anyway…) Cut me some slack, yeah? Besides, I like cheese. It’s very delicious.

For some reason, the only thing I can picture in my head is my fourteen-year old self, back when I first started trying to get published. I remember setting my alarm for 2 AM every night, then writing by lamplight for two hours with a robe stuffed under my door so that no one would know I was awake. Out of all my writing memories, this is the one I see the most clearly. I remember everything about those late-night writing sessions. How quietly I tried to type on that old IBM computer. How annoyingly hot the lamp would get. How chilly the nights in winter were, and how stuffy the summers felt (this was taking place in Houston, by the way). How sometimes I’d pass out in front of the computer from sheer exhaustion, then wake up after half an hour and keep going. I’m fairly convinced that I might have gotten a few more A’s in school if I’d gotten more full nights of sleep. But I can’t say that I regret it. For any of my high school teachers who might be reading this, now you know why I occasionally looked glassy-eyed in your class. I promise I still loved learning! I just…lacked sleep…

I was incredibly na├»ve at fourteen, so blissfully unaware of how long the journey would really take. In fact, I think I had less fears back then than I do now. It’s the day Legend launches and I am scared, so very scared. Eat-a-pint-of-ice-cream-by-myself scared. There are a thousand expectations I’ve created for myself, and so far to fall. Am I any good? Will readers be disappointed? Will they like the story? Will they like the characters? Will they egg my door? Should I change my address? Move to the Alps and hide in obscurity and shame? The closer I got to seeing Legend on the shelves, the more I understood why a lot of writers are a little wonky in the head. I feel the wonk quite strongly now.

But just when I think the pressure and terror might swallow me whole, I remember that I’m walking a well-trodden path. There are hundreds of thousands, millions, of writers who have taken this road before, and I’m just one traveler in a group of many, many others. I’m not alone. I remind myself that a lot of people held my hand through the bumps in the road. I remember that I have so much more to learn. I think of all the kind words and support people have given me during the time leading up to today, and those words help quell the fears.

It’s no secret that there has been a lot of upheaval in the book industry lately. A lot of bad blood, a lot of fear, a lot of anger thrown back and forth between all the cogs of the profession about contracts and technology and change, about money and percentages and formats and royalties. But in the midst of that, there are books—little bundles of words built on heart and soul that we tentatively push out to the public and then cross our fingers for. This has never changed. (Okay, except for Snooki. Maybe.) It reminds me that in spite of all our bickering, we all love books, we all love words, and we wait for these little moments, the quiet connection between our world and our readers’ world. This unites us, no matter what.

So… Thank you booksellers, thank you writers, thank you bloggers, thank you reviewers, thank you Penguin, thank you NLA and UTA, thank you CBS Films/Temple Hill, thank you family and friends, and thank you readers. Thank you, readers.

Thank you for giving me today.

11 comments:

Petra @ Safari Poet said...

Congratulations to the you today and at fourteen! I'm eagerly anticipating picking up from where the excerpt ended, what the music playlist hints at and getting to know the world I've been imagining since I saw the beautiful artwork you created for the book. There is no doubt in my mind that I'm going to love it :-)

Aun-Juli said...

Marie,

I'm not sure I can adequately express how this blogpost makes me feel. Happy? Excited? Hopeful? I'm not entirely sure--I haven't found the right word for it.

I started following you a few years ago on deviantART, and when you began posting journals about your books and eventually your agent and then your deal, I felt as though I was sort of reading a book through your stories.

It's amazing how one person's story can affect another's because I've found myself going back to your journals, your blogs, and finding the motivation and inspiration to keep moving. To keep writing.

There are so many great things ahead for you, and it feels, in a lot of ways, that one journey has ended and another has begun. Congratulations--you have worked so hard and deserve every ounce of amazing that is headed your way.

Thank you for writing and for sharing. And now? ONWARD. ONWARD TO THE ADVENTURES.

Van Pham said...

Congratulations on your debut novel! This blog post was amazing, and very inspirational. I'm looking forward to reading Legend :)

jonyangorg said...

Happy release day! I love your art and am looking forward to reading Legend!

Sarah said...

Hi Marie!
I stumbled Onto your blog after doing a google search on "Marie Lu legend sequel" because I just finished devouring your book and wanted to know when legend 2 would be coming out. I am a follower of Angry Asian Man and when he mentioned your book I had to check it out and I'm glad I did. I absolutely loved it! Congratulations on having your first book published and I hope to see more from you in the future!

iklore said...

This is an extremely late comment, but congratulations! I learned about you and your book from a friend (she goes by AR Flynn) and one day told me your book made the shelves at our local book store. I went to check it out myself and found a little sticker on it as one of the "staff picks" for reading. As soon as I can gather enough cash, I'll buy the book. I can't wait to read it!

By the way, thank you for sharing your story from when you were fourteen. It's inspiring to read!

Common Sense said...

I stumbled onto your book on Amazon, and have to say, was nicely surprised. The world you are building is fascinating, and I am looking forward to reading your future endeavors.

Macey said...

Legend was so awesome!! Fantastic plot without those dull spots that your mind kind of just skips over. Not to mention the simplicity of the writing can appeal to everyone. Good job and congratulations!

DPLblog said...

Congrats on your publish - you mentioned this was a twelve year journey. Do you remember day one, twelve years ago? What was that like?

Grace said...

This book was great! I read a lot and my brother got me your book for Christmas. I never put it down :-) The detail in it was astonishing. The only issue I had with it was that it ended! I would love to know if you were planning on making a sequel?

Anonymous said...

This comment has nothing to do with the blogpost itself, considering it's been more than a year since it's been written, but Marie I just want you to know, I'm 15, my friend gave me your book for christmas and I wasn't sure about it, but then my computer crashed and I thought "well why not" and I COULD NOT PUT IT DOWN, DAY AND JUNE ARE SO AMAZING i can't even, and i loved it so much I stayed awake all night reading and then I took it to my best friends house and told her the story and we started reading it again and we finished the WHOLE thing together and we were just so amazed by how perfect the characters and story were, and then i went home and thank my friend profusely for getting me it, and it's funny how everything that happened in the book took place so close to the day I read it, anyway I loved it, and I can't wait till Prodigy, AAAAAHHH I HAVE A NEW SERIES TO FANGIRL OVER! YOU'RE AMAZING!