It’s about 5-6 months out, and it’s the pre-buzz period. You’ve finally seen the Advanced Reading Copy (ARC) of your book, you’ve gotten maybe a couple blurbs from authors, a few family members have read it. What you don’t have, though, is any way to gauge how the book will be received by the public.
That’s exactly where I find myself with The Porcupine of Truth. I came back from the NCTE Conference (National Council of Teachers of English) a couple weeks back having said “I’m really excited about Porcupine” more times than I am comfortable to admit. It was the first time I got to sign some ARCs, and I just wanted someone to read the dang thing!
Well… I now have received four comments on Porcupine. Two by email, two on Twitter. And I want to share them with you, because, well, “I’m really excited about Porcupine.”
For now I will focus on the comments rather than who said them, but I will say that in each case, these are PRIMO readers — educators, booksellers, book professionals — who know YA extremely well.
First emailer said, “This was just…WOW. I have never cried so many times (and laughed so many times) or loved a book so HARD from the first chapter right on down to your acknowledgments. … There is so much truth and loveliness in this book. It just gets everything so exactly right about being a child, being a parent, and being a friend.”
The second: “I’ve just finished The Porcupine of Truth and am captivated. The characters are all wonderful in their individual ways (the father is heartbreaking) and beautifully realized; the plot, superbly conceived and executed. … In short, this is a terrific novel.”
The first tweet: “Wow. Just. Wow. This might be the most beautiful book I’ve read this year. Thank you @billkonigsberg. Thank you.” In a second tweet, it continued: “It made me happy and sad and hopeful. I loved everything about it!”
The second tweet: “@billkonigsberg The Porcupine of Truth. Friendship, family, faith, history, identity. Complex journey to acceptance.” A second: “TPOT was painful and lovely.”
I am obviously encouraged by these responses!
There’s simply no way to know if The Porcupine of Truth will resonate the same way Openly Straight has, or if it will break through to an even larger readership. I hope so, but in the end there is only so much I can do to get the book in reader’s hands. I will surely do everything I can, but the most important thing for now is that I feel like I poured my heart and soul into this book, and I’m proud of it. So whatever happens, I will always stand behind it!
The book comes out in May 2015.