Posted by: drrozkaplan | August 4, 2010

It Has an Index

A copy of my book arrived in the mail today, with a note from my editor.  “Congratulations, it’s a book.”  It is.  It’s a HARDCOVER book, with a bookjacket, and a title page and acknowledgements and an INDEX.  I can’t believe it has an index!  I know, that’s really dorky, my book comes out, and I’m more excited about the index than anything else.  Okay, I admit it, I’m a dork.  It’s just that an index makes it real and serious and official.

The book won’t be available for sale until the middle of September.  This is just an advance copy, hot off the press, something for me to see while we’re gearing up for the actual release.  But it’s really crazy seeing it.  Even after all the work, all the years of conceiving this project, the writing and rewriting and searching for an agent and a publisher, and then all the negotiations and work with my editors, it really never seemed real until the book was actually in my hands.

Now it’s real.  And I’m excited, but I’m also a little scared.  What if nobody wants to read it except my friends and relatives?  What if even they don’t really want to read it but feel compelled out of loyalty?  What if people read it and hate it?  What if it gets reviewed and the reviewers say horrible things about it?  I wish I could say that I wrote it because I wanted to and because I felt I had something worthwhile saying and that what other people think doesn’t matter to me.  I did write it because I wanted to.  And I do think I had something worthwhile to say- I hope it will help other people.  But I know I also wrote it because it was therapeutic for me to write it.  And I am not without ego.  Of course I want other people to validate me.  Of course I want other people to like what I wrote.

I also might be enough of a baby that I’ll feel really bad if somebody writes something negative about it.  This has certainly happened before, as I was looking for a publisher.  I got some really positive reactions, and some polite passes, but I also got one really scathing review from a peer reviewer at a university publisher, and it really hurt my feelings.  I put my manuscript in a drawer for a while, and only took it back out when some friends in my writing group pushed me to.  I had to learn to take the criticism less personally and also to realize that different people are going to have different reactions.  For all kinds of reasons, too- some of which may have more to do with them than with me or my work.  I hope I can keep that in mind as I move forward now.

Since I’ve written memoir, I am also a little apprehensive about all the personal material I’m launching out into the universe. Of course I knew I was doing that when I wrote it, and when I made the decision to publish it.  Still, it wasn’t real until now.  I guess if nobody reads the book except people who already know me, it’s no problem- they already know it all.  If anyone else decides to read it, well, what will it be like to have told all that to a bunch of strangers?  I have no idea.  I guess i’ll find out if it happens.

There are those who believe that memoirists are egotistical.   I don’t think that I’m more egotistical than most of the people I know.  Maybe its a skewed sample, but still…  Really, though,  I hope I didn’t write a memoir out of egotism.  I don’t think I did, and I know I’ve spent a lot of time examining my motives.

No matter what, the wheels have been set in motion, and there’s no going back now.  It’s a book.  And it has an index.  It’s real.

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Responses

  1. aww Dr. Kaplan– how cool! You took a very personal risk by putting so much of yourself out there for the world to read and review– more than just the inherent risk in any memoir, but how much of yourself has gone into the writing and growing process, the emotional ups and downs. It takes a special strength to take the risk you did, and I hope your readers are as supportive of you as you are of your patients… and yes, I am certain there will be other patients in white coats helped by your experience. Mazel Tov on your accomplishments

  2. Look forward to my own autographed copy.
    No doubt the book will be a success!
    Your written openness and intimacy is healing and helpful .

    • thanks – though I think you may be biased!


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