Swoon Author Claire Kann's Publishing Confessional: Dear Winnie
Sophomore Slump or Comeback of the year? Oh, how I wish I had enough gumption to get away with a Fallout Boy-level humblebrag.
The truth is I’d been very anxious about June 4th, the release day for If It Makes You Happy, for a bunch of reasons. Everything about the book was difficult. :) I fully intended to lay my soul bare in the spirit of transparency and let y’all know what happened so we could commiserate together. But you, my dear Swooners, have all heard that story before from far better writers than me, probably, because most writers do struggle with Book Two (unless you’re Vicky Skinner who’s fantastic and would make a killing if she could bottle that talent of hers).
So, if a group therapy post was out, what could I write about? The obvious choice became a Day in the Life blog—what is sophomore release day really like? I would film videos and take pictures! It would be positive and joyful and amazing! And that’s what I started to do.
9pm PST – Midnight on the East Coast. IIMYH is available for purchase. Crying ensued—send an ambulance for my feelings because I honestly sat in the dark and cried.
12AM PST – Midnight on the West Coast. More crying and then SLEEP.
4:00 AM – My mom is dog sitting, so I hear his little nails click-clacking on the floor. He peeks into my room, hopeful. It’s just too cute—I roll over and go back to sleep.
6:15 AM – I naturally wake up at this time even though my alarm is set for 6:45 AM. It takes me a few groggy minutes to remember my book is out today. I check my socials:
Instagram? Nothing. Oh okay.
Twitter? OH, THAT’S WHERE THE PARTY IS. My notifications broke in the first hour. INSERT MORE CRYING HERE.
6:45 AM – I take my medicine because I’m an old lady whose body needs supplements and get ready. Teeth. Hair. Make-up. Smile. Selfie!
7:30 AM – Breakfast of (decaffeinated) CHAMPIONS!!
8:00 AM – Writerly work. Emails, responding to comments, posting on Wattpad, and updating the draft for this here blog post. Weeee!
8:45 AM – Take a break to pester my mom and the dog. LOVE MEEEEEEE.
9:00 AM – Get inspired to write the draft for an Instagram caption that would be posted with a picture of IIMYH in a bookstore. Have an unexpected breakthrough…
While I enjoyed tracking my day, I realized I’d done that kind of blog before too. IIMYH deserved a day of celebration just like Let's Talk About Love. I wanted to share that with y’all. But in a surprising plot twist, the best part of release day wasn’t seeing IIMYH on the shelf. It was that letter.
Don’t get me wrong, the bookstore part was really AMAZING, and I yelped in the store, but writing a letter to my main character really put the entire Book Two process in perspective for me because even though it was difficult and I’m still anxious about the future, it was ultimately worth it.
Winnie exists in a space of her choosing, on her terms, and for someone like her, that’s a revolutionary act. We defied the odds. Her story has a place in YA canon now. How many Black, fat, and queer girl characters (and writers and books) get to say that?
Until next time,