I got my proof copy of The Muse in the mail a couple of days ago, and the impact of actually having the book in my hands, in very nearly its final form, was remarkable. Suddenly, this nebulous concept of "my book" had mass, and color, and texture.
Even re-reading the story was a different experience. There were still a couple of annoying typos to correct, but what really struck me was a few passages that seemed fine in the electronic copy felt like they needed adjustment in the printed copy. Some words didn't seem to resonate the way they should. Something about leafing through the story page-by-page was different from scrolling through it on a monitor.
The physicality of the book also ended all the comfortable convenience of treating it as something abstract. There it was, and from that point on, I was responsible for marketing it and answerable for what was between the covers. It's one thing to say, "Oh, I'm writing a book," or even, "I wrote a book that's going to be published one of these days," and quite another to have the thing sitting on your coffee table, demanding attention from everyone who passes by, with your name emblazoned across it in big, spooky letters forever identifying you as the one who made it happen.
It's daunting. It's like bringing a child into the world, hoping on the one hand that it will thrive and prosper, while at the same time praying it doesn't become a delinquent and wreak havoc on everyone and everything it touches.
Anyhow, The Muse is still on track to arrive in November. Get ready, world, here it comes!