The moment an author waits for

Walked into the Manhattan offices of Gotham Books earlier today for a meeting with the publicity department.

Walked out with the first copy of Sweetness: The Engimatic Life of Walter Payton.

Were I Jay-Z or Katy Perry or whoever, I’d be advised to play it cool; to act all laid back and chill. But I can’t, and I never do. Having spent 2 1/2 years on this book; having interviewed nearly 700 people; having dug through thousands upon thousands of articles; having driven my wife and my kids and my friends and my parents crazy with Walter Payton stories; having traveled myriad times to Chicago and Mississippi; having skidded two lanes across the New Jersey Turnpike in the pouring rain (then slamming into a wall); having missed too many events; having stayed up all night in my greasy local diner, trying to pump out words when there was nothing left to pump …

… well, I’m elated.

The book is beautiful. Absolutely beautiful. I’m not saying the writing, but the actual physical splendor. The type is raised; the colors are sharp and crisp; the picture sections are wonderful laid out. I’ve written four previous books, and the onlt cover I genuinely loved was The Rocket that Fell to Earth—ironically, my least-favorite of the bunch. Sweetness, to me, looks regal.

The writers I know cite different moments as the best. Some love when you hand the final draft in. Others dig seeing it in stores, neatly stacked on the NEW NONFICTION table. To a couple, there’s no joy unless it hits The New York Times‘ best-seller’s list.

For me, it’s here. Now. Holding the book. Feeling the book. Staring down a new baby and knowing it’s yours; that you created it; nurtured it; brought it to life.

And while that last sentence is absolutely inane, it’s inanely true.

Today is a great day.

14 thoughts on “The moment an author waits for”

  1. Congrats Jeff, you can tell how much this means to you. Plus, it must be an enormous relief just to be done with the damn thing.

  2. Congratulations Jeff! Take a moment (well, many moments) and revel in that feeling. It is surely well deserved. Can’t wait to get a copy.

  3. Tracy Tidwell (Grinnell)

    Ok…So this is the first I’m seeing!!! Just wrote you that I was going to your site! I’m thrilled for you. I can’t wait to buy it and read it! Fabulous!

  4. Can’t wait to get my copy. You have obviously poured your heart and soul into it, and couldn’t have a better topic. I have a feeling this will be a very popular book.

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