This blog introduces you to my special brand of BIKE. I show you how to find your Best self, access your Inner strength, tune in to your Killer instincts, and use your Expressive voice. It's inspiring, spiritual, quirky, and it's all in your head. It's about ATTITUDE, not exercise, though that might be a side benefit.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Authors: on finishing a long-term project

Well, I did it

I really did write my first book. Backroads & Byways of Arizona really is going to be published.

You've heard this before here, but now it truly and officially is complete on my end. I just sent the final proof copy (with a few minor edits) back to the publisher for printing. They responded with relief over the mistakes I caught, and I'm told I can expect to see a real copy in my hands by August. But, as they ran behind on the schedule as it is, I am thinking I'll see it in September. It's going to be on the shelves in October. You can already pre-order the book at places like Powell's bookstore online and also at Borders, Barnes & Noble and (Search for it under my name or the book's title. The link above is to an Arizona-based independent bookstore, Changing Hands.)

I'm feeling such a myriad of feelings. They fall somewhere between relief (Thank goodness that part's done!), elation (Wow, I wrote a real book! And it includes all my own photographs!), fear (Yikes, what if I made a huge error and didn't catch it?), hesitation (Will my readers like it, find it useful?) and worry (I hope the editor takes care of all the edits correctly.). Back and forth I go from one of those feelings to the next. It's been that way since I turned in the very first edit. We won't go into the feelings I had during the writing process, especially the end of it. Those are not fit to print here. But I've been bracing myself for each next step since, just moving forward in the process as best I could.

Curious to know how other other authors have felt at this moment, the moment when they, too, finished their long-term book project and turned it in to the publisher, I asked a few authors on Facebook and Twitter. Here are their responses:

  • Brette Sember, author of Bad Apples: How to Manage Difficult Employees (Adams Media) and more than 35 other books, says about her first one, "I think I was nervous about what people would think of it, scared it wouldn't be received well." Long past those feelings now, Sember says she feels relief when she's completed another book project. She can actually feel "excitement to move on to the next."

  • Andrew Hayes, a writer in the United Kingdom, says it was a bit weird after he finished his book, The Edinburgh Historic Walking Guide (Available next week, you can pre-order it now!) and turned it in to the publisher. "Perhaps surreal is the right word. I never thought I could accomplish such a task as writing a 50,000-word document in three months." After such intensity, relief set in as he realized how much time had passed. " wasn't until I saw the sample cover that I realized the reality of the situation. Success!" Now he says he "can't wait to get started on the next one." It's a walking guide to Amsterdam.

  • If you were Dara Chadwick, author of an important new book out this year, You'd Be So Pretty If, which explores the mother-daughter relationship and how it affects body image, you'd feel quite the mixture: pride, fear, relief (there's that word again), "and something I can only describe as bittersweet." She explains why she felt all of this: "Pride because, hey, I just finished a book--and not only that, but it was MY book: my idea, my passion, my project from start to finish. Fear because it's a deeply personal book and a subject I care about. How would others respond? Would they understand what I'd written? I felt relief because signing a book contract was the biggest professional commitment I'd ever made and I'd met my commitment." The bittersweet feelings resulted from the fact that her book really was about her relationship with her now deceased mother. "She really would have been so proud," says Chadwick, who was also sad to say goodbye to the process of writing the book itself, adding, "Letting go of my 'baby' was difficult."

  • Relief seems to be the common theme amongst authors, as Illinois-based Annie Logue, who wrote the Socially Responsible Investing for Dummies book for Wiley (published this year) felt that, too. "And now? She says she feels "like I need to start working on all the things that I put off while working on the book."
Have you written a book or worked on a long-term project which left you feeling at some point during the process that maybe it would never end? You know it took persistence to pull you through. You had to believe in yourself and what you were doing. If you've got a long-term project going on now, even if it isn't a book, maybe you can relate to what all of us here have experienced. Eventually, you can expect to see that sense of relief set in. And it's a great accomplishment, as Sam Greengard, author of Finding the Work You Love, says. But most of all, it's pretty damn cool to join the ranks of the published authors worldwide. I think I'll rest on that feeling, at least for today.

Tomorrow, I have work to do.

So much for relief, right? What do you think?


Debbie said...

I've never written a book personally but one day ...

Congratulations on it's completion. I can't wait to read it Jackie. You should check out a blog called The Writing Life. Terry Whalin is an author of about 60 books and a publisher who lives in Scottsdale. He's a good person to know and a very kind and helpful man. Here's a link:

The BIKE Lady said...

Do you know Terry Whalin personally? I only know him from an organization to which we both belong: American Society of Journalists and Authors. I keep meaning to buy his new book. But I don't read his blog often. I'll add it to my follow list.

How are you? When are we going to get together for coffee or wine or meet face-to-face. I'd still love to. --j

Debbie said...

No, I don't know Terry personally. However, he's commented on my blog and provided encouraged to me on several different occasions personally. My mother-in-law self published her first book at the age of 84 and it's listed on amazon. I emailed Terry to ask him a few questions and he always responds.

My personal email is Maybe we can figure out a time to meet for coffee or something. I think I may also have more info on Terry that I could give you even in email.

Irene S. Levine, PhD said...

I felt all of the above, but...

When you hand in the manuscript, it isn't over! It's a challenge to figure out how to get your book to the public during a tough time when publishers have few resources for publicity and fewer people are buying books. So you morph into a defacto PR person with inadequate knowledge or experience.

Congratulations on handing in the manuscript, Jackie. Now the equally hard work begins!

Author of "Best Friends Forever: Surviving a Breakup With Your Best Friend (Overlook Press, September, 2009)

The BIKE Lady said...


I know. That's all I'm thinking about right now. I took a day to have the satisfaction of completing the book. And now, it's like the work is just getting started. I'm trying like you know what NOT to get overwhelmed. Thinking I need to sign up for a friend's movement class just to stay sane. It's too hot to ride my bike much right now in Arizona. You're right. The work is just beginning.

Congratulations on finishing your book. Maybe together we can promote each other. Glad you came and posted your link.


Tamara Hart Heiner said...

congrats to you! I can't even imagine that feeling. I won't know it for another year and a half. How wonderful. It is all so surreal for me right now, I can hardly believe that I'm getting my book published. I have a lot of fears about the promotion and marketing ahead, also fears about its reception.

Thanks for sharing!

Andy Hayes said...

Thanks for the shout out.. really appreciate it and it's nice hearing what other authors have to say...

Charles Ray said...

It took me over a year to write my first book - a real labor of love, considering it was under 100 pages. The second, which was a follow on to the first, was longer, but took less time to write. I was, though, totally wrung out after each. You'd think I had enough after two tries, but I'm now working on two - one is finished and I'm revising, and the other is about halfway home.

The BIKE Lady said...


I always look for ways to find a connection with others, and when I visited your blog just now, I found two: Sue Grafton's PI books (I am a fan.) and Colin Powell (I have a personal connection to him.). I'll return to the Red Room to visit your blog. Thanks so much for visiting mine.

All my best,

Ken Lovering said...

Congrats! I also know that feeling of relief and joy. I recently finished an e-book HOW TO KEEP YOUR TRAVEL UP WHEN THE ECONOMY IS DOWN. I feel great about compiling all this info for would-be travelers who might be letting the economy keep them home. But I'm also terrified that the information isn't useful ENOUGH (but, ahem, I really think it is). And of course, there's that nagging "next project" tapping its feet, waiting for me just down the road.
Check out my promo material for it at!

Ken Lovering
Writer & Travel Professional
Travel on a Dime ... Now!

Julie Achterhoff said...

When I was writing my first novel, Quantum Earth, I had a multitude of different feelings about it every time I sat down at the keyboard. I had done a lot of research on the coming of the year 2012 and the repercussional possibilities. I knew what I wanted to get across, but I had to tell a good story, too. It's a little bit different when you're writing fiction. I was mostly excited about the possibility of actually getting published. I've been writing on and off all my life, but now in my late forties I finally decided it's now or never as far as taking the plunge and putting myself out there trying to get a book in actual print.
I have my second novel, Deadly Lucidity, with my great editor right now and am waiting to finish up the process of getting it published as well. Quantum Earth is available at and, which I think is still running a free shipping offer.
Julie Achterhoff