Monday, August 27, 2012

Terri Bruce's Post on Her Release Day and a Chance to Win a Free Ebook

Update: The winner of the ebook is Sherry Fundin. Please send me your email and Terri Bruce will get you that copy of Hereafter.

Free Copy of Hereafter:

To get your free electronic copy of Hereafter in the format of your choice, leave a comment on this post and be a follower of the blog. A random winner will be chosen on Labor Day. 

Release Day or How I Stopped Worrying and Learned to Love Anti-Climaxes

My odyssey to publishing was just that—an odyssey. There are so many twists and turns and it was an epic voyage of many years. So many times during the eight-month process of querying (for just THIS novel) for an agent/publisher for Hereafter I wanted to give up—and probably would have if I hadn’t had a wonderful support group of friends, family, and peers.

So, how did I feel on Release Day—the day in which all my years of hard work paid off, all my hopes and dreams finally came to fruition, my day of vindication, my day of triumph?

Um…yeah. Not so much with the vindication and triumph. More like ARGH, when I wasn’t bursting into random tears.

How can that be, you ask? Shouldn’t Wednesday, August 1st go down in history as one of the happiest days of my life?

Well, the “argh” feelings came from the fact that my book wasn’t actually available on release day. I made a very rookie mistake, here—one I won’t make again—when I told everyone that August 1st was my release day. See, August 1st was the publisher’s release day—meaning it’s the day they “make it available” to the world by uploading the files to the various distributor catalogs. They send the print book files to the printer and upload the book information to the various distributor catalogs that retailers purchase books from (Baker and Taylor and Ingram’s). However, that is not the same as the book actually being released to the public. The various distributors, and then the retailers, have to process that uploaded information, update their catalogs, and make the information available on their retail pages. So on August 1st, my book wasn’t actually anywhere for sale—it was wandering around the in the ether, a series of digital dots and dashes wading from one place to the next.

The fastest update is the Amazon Kindle store, since the publisher can upload the file directly to them, but it takes Amazon up to 48 hours to update its catalog and website. So the earliest the book I had been touting to family and friends (and tenuous acquaintances, my dentist, my hair dresser, my doctor, and random strangers on the street) for months as being available for purchase on August 1st was available was Friday, August 3rd (and that was only in Kindle version). So release day was spent answering quite a few text messages, instant messages, emails, and tweets that said, “I can’t find your book! Where is it?!” ARGH!

In fact, as of the writing of this blog post (written two weeks before it will actually be posted), my book is still not available anywhere else, and I have yet to hold a physical, hard copy of my book in my hands—which is the big moment every author dreams of and is usually marked as the one in which it finally hits you that this is real, that this is, indeed, happening.

As for the random tears? Well, to understand that, you need to understand a little bit of history. My mother was one of four children—she was the youngest and the only girl. Her eldest brother, my Uncle Nelson, was the first—and only—person to go to college (until my generation when almost all of us “kids” went on to post-secondary education), which was a very big deal. On my dad’s side of the family, my father and his two siblings were the first to go to college. There was a push for my sister and I to achieve academically, to also go onto college, but there was also a somewhat buried current of hostility to my always having my nose “stuck in a book.” There was a strange push-pull, as if being highly educated and literate was in some subtle way strange, alienating, and foreign. My Uncle Nelson, however, was a bibliophile of the highest order, and he supported my sister’s and my love of books—books as gifts, fascinating stories of the lives of great writers (he read memoirs and biographies like nobody’s business), wondrous insights into the writing of some of the greatest works of literature. He always had some new book he was reading, some new author he had discovered, some new used bookshop he had found.

My mother supported my book habit—though money was always tight, I don’t remember her ever denying my request for a book. I wrote stories growing up—copious, copious amounts of stories—that at first I wrote out long hand. My handwriting being God-awful, I wanted to learn to type. She let me “borrow” her electric typewriter the summer before 9th grade for just that purpose. I taught myself to type and starting banging out stories faster than ever—serialized novels that I would pass out to friends at school. She didn’t get her typewriter back until I graduated high school and went off to college.

My grandmother—a solid, plain-spoken woman who had dropped out of school in the eighth grade and who was the person who tweaked me most about having my nose “stuck in a book”—was a fond, indulgent, protective woman who was proud of pretty much anything I did, though she always acted like it was no big deal despite looking “tinkled pink” whenever I showed off my latest accomplishment. She was my greatest cheerleader, my greatest supporter.

On release day, these are the three people I should have been sharing my accomplishment with. These are the people who would have been proudest, who would have been jumping up and down and screaming the loudest. Unfortunately, my Uncle Nelson passed away at the beginning of 2009, my mother passed away at the beginning of 2010, and my grandmother passed away at the end of 2010. The absence of their voices in my cheering section was deafening, and the healing—though not quite healed—wound of their passing was ripped open afresh. All the sense of loss I thought I had managed to pack away burst free once more, a crushing, overwhelming wave. On the way to work, I burst into tears— great, heaving sobs that blinded me so that I nearly ran off the road. All day, I was on tenterhooks, tense and over-wound—the congratulations of my coworkers almost physically painful because they threatened to set off the tears again. In a way, the “argh” of the day was my saving grace. The frustration of not having the book overwhelmed the sorrow, pushing it to the back of my mind.

Needless to say, by the end of the day I was wrung out, limp like a dishrag, emotionally drained. At 7:00 pm I was required to participate in a virtual “release day” party held by the publisher. By this point, I wasn’t really sure what I was celebrating—“release day” seemed to be just one more inching, anti-climatic step toward some vast, formless goal of “being a published author,” which was starting to seem more and more like an amorphous state of being, or possibly a state of mind, than an actual, concrete thing with a finite start and finish.

Then…several friends showed up at the virtual party, to cheer me on. In that moment, as I saw one after the other “walk through the door” of that chat room (thank you Paul, Teresa, Danielle, & E.F.), something happened. Despite the fact that my “greatest” supporters were no longer with me, I was not alone in the world. Not by a long shot. So many people—some of whom I don’t even know that well, “just” internet friends who I’ve never met in “real life”—had replaced the “old guard” of my cheering section, and were supporting me just as strongly, just as loudly, just as unflaggingly. Yes, there were some voices that “should” have been there that day, and yes, I was mad at the universe and the unfairness of it that they were missing this moment, but life offers no guarantees, and a part of me knew I needed to let go of what I had lost in order to better focus on what I currently have. In the end, most of what I felt on my release day had so very little to with my book or being published, and instead, was about who I am, where I’ve come from, and where I’m going—which made it one of the most important days of my life. Thank you—to everyone—who has helped me get to this point.

By Terri Bruce
Why let a little thing like dying get in the way of a good time?

Thirty-six-year-old Irene Dunphy didn't plan on dying any time soon, but that’s exactly what happens when she makes the mistake of getting behind the wheel after a night bar-hopping with friends. She finds herself stranded on earth as a ghost, where the food has no taste, the alcohol doesn’t get you drunk, and the sex...well, let’s just say “don’t bother.” To make matters worse, the only person who can see her—courtesy of a book he found in his school library—is a fourteen-year-old boy genius obsessed with the afterlife.

This sounds suspiciously like hell to Irene, so she prepares to strike out for the Great Beyond. The only problem is that, while this side has exorcism, ghost repellents, and soul devouring demons, the other side has three-headed hell hounds, final judgment, and eternal torment. If only there was a third option…

About the Author:

Terri Bruce has been making up adventure stories for as long as she can remember and won her first writing award when she was twelve. Like Anne Shirley, she prefers to make people cry rather than laugh, but is happy if she can do either. She produces fantasy and adventure stories from a haunted house in New England where she lives with her husband and three cats.

Contact Details
Twitter: @_TerriBruce


  1. Awww, this made me cry for you and also for me. I don't think I've grieved until now for not being able to really celebrate with my mom. I dedicated my debut novel to her, but she has Alzheimer's and doesn't really know it.

    And Terri, you must know how much you bring to those around you, with your energy and creative outlook. Yay, Blog Ring of Power! Yay, Hereafter!

    1. Awww, thank you Teresa - I very much appreciate that :-) I'm so sorry about your mom :-(

  2. Oh, too bad about the release date! My print copy arrived in the mail from Barnes & Noble and it looks great!

    1. LOL - are you just trying to rub it in? :-) I'm so glad to hear it looks great...still waiting for mine! :-)

  3. I had to swallow a couple of times while I read you article. My first release several years ago came out on my grammie's birthday. It was because of her that I fell in love with books and I knew she would be so proud.

    Thank you for sharing your heart:)

    I wish you many more release days!

    1. Thanks Em! Having a release day on your Gram's birthday is a pretty good omen! Now that I think of it - my release date was August 1st and Gram's birthday is/was August 7th, so pretty close!!! Wow...I didn't really stop and think about that before!

  4. Beautiful. I can't wait for you to have your hard copy so you can soak it in.

  5. One of my greatest supporters in writing isn't here on earth anymore either.

    It's not something writers talk about specifically a lot, but sometimes we cry and freak out and get depressed over our jobs. There are parts of it that are really hard and we can be cruel to ourselves when we make mistakes, even though we're only human.

    1. That is so true! That's why it's so nice to have those people in our lives who give us that love and support, who we know will be rooting for us no matter what. In focusing on those that I had lost, I almost missed how many others have stepped in to take their place. I've been absolutely overwhelmed by the incredible support of "virtual" strangers and by the realization that even though I've lost people in my life, I'm still not alone :-)

  6. What a touching story, Terri. Thanks so much for sharing your journey!

  7. Hi Michelle, Terri contacted me and we took care of it. Thanks for the giveaway and of course for my win. lol I'm sure I'll be visiting your blog again.