Dreaming about tomatoes

By Joe Moore
When your first book was published, was the experience everything you dreamed it would be? For me, it was quite different than what I expected. The first time I walked into a national chain bookstore and saw my shinny new novel on the new release table, it was a rush. I was proud. I felt like I was on top of the world. I couldn’t wait to see customers gather it up in their arms and rush home to read it. Then I stood back and watched as people picked up my book, glanced at the back cover copy, and put it down with no more interest than in choosing one tomato over another at the supermarket.

tomato1 That book cost me 3 years of my life and they passed judgment on it within 5 seconds.

Reality quickly set in. Not everyone will want to read my book. Not everyone will like it if they do read it. And I found out rather fast that once a book is published, the real work begins.

Today, I’m writing (with co-author, Lynn Sholes) my fifth novel. My books have won awards and I’ve been published in many languages. And yet, every day I face the reality that the true test of my success or failure is what the customer does when they stand over that literary produce bin and pick what they think is the ripest tomato. It’s about as scary as it can get.

As a full-time writer, I have the best job in the world. I would not trade it for anything. But a word to anyone dreaming of publishing their first book: be careful what you wish for. You just might get it.

So when your first book came out, was it everything you dreamed of? And if you’re still working at getting that first tomato out there, what are you dreaming it will be like?

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