Some Thoughts on My Year in Print

Post first appeared on Uncommon YA, 1/15/14.
Hollywood has not come calling. I have not been mobbed on the street by eager readers. I have yet to churn out—in the words of Publishers Weekly—my next “solidly woven … well-executed plot.” Hopefully, this doesn’t mean I’m no longer a “name to watch” (Thanks, PW!); just that watchers will need a little patience. So those are the disappointments of THE NAMESAKE’s year in print. Rather minor, eh? And clearly tied to unrealistic expectations (on my part, not those of Publishers Weekly).

THE NAMESAKE follows Evan Galloway’s exploration of his family’s past as he attempts to solve the puzzle of his father’s suicide. While the secrets he uncovers are as dark as a Death Eater’s cloak, THE NAMESAKE is clearly no HARRY POTTER. Dang, if I’d only added wands! So I guess that explains Hollywood’s reticence, chuckle. And a throng of readers would probably be frightening for someone who’s fairly shy at the core.

But seriously, the path to publication was long, filled with arduous work, multiple wrong turns, and plenty of frustrations. So I guess I made the (admittedly foolish) assumption that once THE NAMESAKE was actually released, all would be smooth sailing and accolades. I’ve learned a lot. About writing. About publishing. About accolades (and critical disses). And about myself. Minor disappointments aside, it’s been one amazing year.

Some highlights include:
Walking into several bookstores and libraries to find a novel that started out as an idea in my head on a shelf in front of me. Never gets old!

Barnes & Noble Waterbury, CT

Barnes & Noble, Waterbury, CT

Having an It’s a Wonderful Life experience at my book launch on January 18, 2013. People from every stage of my life came out to support me. Truly amazing and humbling!

Namesake Cake!

Namesake Cake!

 

Book Launch Friends

Book Launch Friends

Making appearances at several libraries and bookstore events. Whether running a writing workshop or having the honor to sit on a panel of authors, it’s always special to talk about my writing with readers and fellow writers.

Prospect Library Workshop

Prospect Library Workshop

 

Byrd's Books Bethel, CT

Byrd’s Books, Bethel, CT

 

B&N YA Night with Liz Barone (L) & T.L. Costa (R)

B&N YA Night with Liz Barone (L) & T.L. Costa (R)

Doing interviews and guest blogs on sites like Jean Book Nerd and Dear Teen Me to promote the book and having the opportunity to correspond with folks around the globe who have been touched by Evan’s story.

Each of these opportunities has been a gift, so my first year in print has actually been like a solid twelve months of Christmases and birthdays. As for the disappointments, those are small potatoes in the face of all the joys of this experience. Besides, those Hollywood folks might just be taking their time.

And as THE NAMESAKE’s official birthday nears, I’d like to thank a few people for making this year a truly special one. To my agent, Victoria Marini, and my editor, Jackie Mitchard (and everyone at Merit Press), I’m so grateful for your guidance and faith in a rookie author with a challenging story to tell. To my friends and family, especially my wonderful wife, Janet, a million thanks for support and belief. To my Uncommon YA friends, thank you for making the writing and promotion process far less solitary. And finally, to my readers—past, current and future—I can’t thank you enough for embracing THE NAMESAKE. Hang in there; I’m hard at work on the next one! It’s a YA about a girl named Teddi Alder, her boozy mother, two guys with potential, and of course, some dark, twisty secrets. Stay tuned!

Sample Reviews:
Publishers Weekly praised my novel as “an introspective debut.”

Kirkus Reviews called the book “a memorable, disturbing story, carefully wrought.”

Book blogger, The Subtle Chronicler, said, “The characters were all perfectly laid out. I was able to connect with each and every one of them.”

Book Blogger, Dayla F.M. at Book Addict 24/7 chose THE NAMESAKE as one of her top ten reads of the year, calling the book “heartbreakingly real.”

Find Me Online:
Like my author page on Facebook!
Follow me on Twitter and check out THE NAMESAKE on Goodreads!

Buy the Book:
Purchase THE NAMESAKE on Amazon, Barnes & Noble.com or find it on Indiebound.

Leave a comment here by noon on Wednesday, 1/22/14–Evan’s birthday–for a chance to win some NAMESAKE swag (swag to be determined)!

Comments

  1. Happy Anniversary! I can’t wait to talk to you about this publishing stuff, there’s really a this side of the fence/that side of the fence difference in having your book published, isn’t there? I am so happy that you’ve had such a positive experience (a year of Christmases and birthdays!) and I have to say it couldn’t happen to a nicer guy. You deserve every accolade and, fortunately, you’re getting older so you will probably forget the disses. (I can say that because I’m older than you are.) I am looking forward to reading Teddi’s story and actually making the launch next time. Good job!

    • Thanks so much, Cindy! Yes, there is a difference–in some great and scary (or at least flummoxing) ways. It has been an amazing year all-in-all. So excited for you, embarking on a year in print of your own!
      I’m certain there are nicer guys, but I don’t know if anyone’s as blessed with wonderful and supportive friends! Yes, I am getting older; quite soon, in fact, I can join you in sporting Flip-flops after a certain milestone age.
      I’m looking forward to Teddi’s story too (that’s one of the flummoxing aspects), and also REALLY looking forward to our writing/publishing chat. Take care, friend!

  2. Denise Doran says:

    Eagerly waiting and watching for the arrival of Martin Scorcese!

    • Denise, I like the way you think; might as well dream big (though a Marty-directed NAMESAKE would most definitely have to feature more gunplay)! 🙂

  3. Steve,
    I was honored when you allowed me to read an early draft of your incredible story and I cried tears of joy when you wrote to say you’d be published. I know all the heartache and work that went into seeing this dream through to the end. But is it really the end? I don’t think so. I believe THE NAMESAKE will be one of those stories that builds momentum as people discover it and tell their friends. There are no wands or magic spells, but there is truth and a story that touches the reader’s soul. I think those are much more important!

    • Thank you, Kim, for this beautiful comment, which got me a little misty if truth be told. It was my honor to share the draft with such a true and insightful friend (and talented writer)–one of the first people to read it. Your early feedback definitely helped me shape the novel, and your continued support is a treasure. I am certain the same momentum will continue to build for Woman of Flames, another book written from the heart with truth and faith as guideposts. Dunk ’em slow!

  4. Really interesting to hear about the ups and downs o your debut year. Congrats on your success, and here’s to more to come! 🙂

  5. Andrea Petrario says:

    Congratulations on an extraordinary year! Evan and The Namesake came to life for me when you so graciously gave this amazing gift to me for my birthday, October 2011. I had never been gifted something so precious and personal, and to this day feel so very honored that you chose me, (ok, maybe I pushed a little with the “All I want for my birthday is…”) but either way you trusted me enough to let me read it, in it’s manuscript form with red notes everywhere. The email subject line reading, ‘Geronimo!’ I still smile when I look at it. I read this amazing story in two days because I simply could not stop reading…it was that good. I believed in it and I believed in you. Watching the process of you navigate from writer to published author has been amazing. My favorite part is that you include all of us in the journey with you, and that my friend, has been amazing! Take it all in and enjoy every moment. Happy birthday to The Namesake!

    • Andrea,
      What a beautiful comment, and it’s truly my honor to have the friendship and support of such an extraordinary person. It has been sort of an indefinable experience seeing THE NAMESAKE end up on actual shelves and in the hands of for-real readers. On some level, it still feels like it’s all happened to someone else. But seriously, the greatest joy has been sharing this experience with the amazing people in my life. So blessed to have you among them, helping me navigate the geronimos ahead.
      Steve

  6. It’s wonderful to hear what good things your first year of being published has brought! Don’t worry–we’ll wait for that next soon-to-be-critically-acclaimed book as long as we need to!
    I’ve been truly blessed by your writing and your story–and glad that your book introduced us to each other. 🙂

  7. Dear Faith,
    Thank you so much, friend! The blessing definitely goes both ways. I can say with certainty that our connection through the Tassys is one of the absolute best outcomes of this writing thing. I think of you often, out there plugging away at your own wonderful writing, knee-deep in beautiful children, and I send prayers and all the best to you. Hope to meet again one day soon in the real world!
    SP

  8. SP – you are such an inspiration! Not only did you write a great book – you stuck to it – and through it – in spite of all the twists and turns to make it happen… Wishing a BIG Happy Birthday to THE NAMESAKE! Keep writing! – TFFCL

  9. Thanks so much, TFF! You know, of course, that I couldn’t have done it without the love and support (not to mention all those prayers for plug removal) of truly wonderful folks, including truly wonderful you!
    SP

  10. Coleen Willis says:

    Well I loved The Namesake. It made me , laugh, cry and think. I’m so proud of you and I can’t wait to read your next novel. I see a movie of the week mini-series perhaps! Stay positive, you have accomplished much!

  11. Thanks so much, Cousin Coleen! I think you’ll like the next one for the locations. Teddi, my protagonist, lives in a converted family store and spends a lot of time roaming “Sylvan Park” with her dog. Pride goes both ways, by the way. Look at you, picking up stakes and creating a brand new life! AWESOME!
    xo, Cuz Steve

  12. Congratulations my dear and gifted friend for all the successes of your brave and powerful first book! Can’t wait to read the next one which I know will be just as amazing. Love you. Edwina

    • Dear Edwina, A million thanks for your unflagging support and the gift of your friendship. Fingers crossed that Teddi doesn’t dawdle and will soon be sharing shelf space with Evan. Love you back! Steve

  13. Joan stokes says:

    Dear Steve- to watch your journey this year has been such a pleasure- and no one deserves this success more than you!! Enjoy!

  14. Thanks so much, Joan! I truly appreciate all the enthusiasm you’ve shown for The Namesake, and your support and friendship have made this year all the sweeter! SP

  15. Big congratulations to the winners of my blog comment contest: Andrea Petrario, Denise Doran, Kim Stokely, Joan Stokes and Coleen Willis! And thanks to everyone who left me a comment. You made it a very special end to my first year in print! All best, SP

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