This morning I went down to my local framer to have the cover for Shimmers of Stardust matted and framed. In a couple of weeks it will hang on the wall, opposite from the first cover (Whispers) that I took in last year to be preserved.
This is something I had promised myself a while ago when it first began to look like I might actually sell a book to a publisher. The queries were being rejected slower, they were coming back with personal comments that editors were taking the time and interest to write and more material was being requested in full before it was being rejected. I took all those signs to mean I was getting better at writing and closer to possible publication. So the pact with myself was made that should I sign a contract, I was going to mat and frame that cover. Now book # 2 has been taken in.
It is just as an exciting high for the second as for the first. But the whole experience got me to thinking– as events like this usually will. What about those authors who have 50 some or hundreds of published books? Do they get each cover framed? Do they donate a wall in their house just to showcase their covers? Probably not if they have that many. I suppose they might reach a point where they stop. Maybe they just frame the cover of the first big ones–the first sale, the first bestseller, the first record breaker, the first to do something really wonderful. A mile marker in their career.
Now how about the emotional firsts? The first book in which they learned a new writing technique? The first book they felt they really nailed something they had been trying to perfect? The first book that spoke to them in a whole new way? The first one that make they reach much deeper inside themselves than they thought they could ever go? In other words, the first book that really meant something to maybe no one else but the author, regardless of its selling performance.
I have one, a novella, I like. It’s not published but it is special because it was the first time I took the frustrations at my personal life and gave them to my heroine. For a while, I let her be me and deal with one aspect of life like I had too. Her struggles that came from that novella opened my eyes to how I cope with those frustrations. For that reason, the novella ‘Glimpse Eternity’ will always be special to me, regardless of what published status it achieves.
I have another novel in which the setting is very special to me, as are the selection of character names. I have one short story that was written solely at the happy place I travel to physically. I have one WIP that takes place at my mental happy place. If any of those are published one day, the covers will be special because of what parts of me are inside, between the covers.
I guess writing any book is an emotional endeavor, we struggle with all the same stuff; POV, setting, conflict, plot, tension, dialogue and so forth. But what about the emotional parts we take from ourselves and inject inside, gently and forcefully blowing life from us into our creation? Does the publication–the ultimate crowning achievement– make that cover worthy of framing on that merit alone?