Release [at Convergent Books]

This is the fifth and final installment in my 5-week “Publishing Journey” series. Some expressed interest in knowing the process that took my book from an idea to to a manuscript, and it seemed a fitting way to prepare for (and celebrate) Book Release Month. You can read the first four parts here:

Part 1: The Art of Backwards Book Writing

Part 2: Agents, Platforms and Gifts in Disguise

Part 3: Faith is an Empty Room

Part 4: What Doesn’t Happen When You Sign a Book Deal


For the final installment of this little series, I’m over at my publisher’s blog.

I meant to write about all of this last week. I thought it would be a perfect end to Release Week to write about what it feels like…but honestly, I didn’t know yet.

The last couple of weeks have been a blur — a flurry of love and encouragement and stress and anxiety. I’m a ping-pong ball, being batted about by opposing emotions. I go from this: “MY BOOK IS IN BARNES AND NOBLE!!!!!!!” to this: No one’s going to buy it. And if they buy it, they’re going to hate it. And also hate me — in about five seconds flat.

addie zierman, when we were on fire

The intensity of it all has been tapered only by a wicked head-cold that has left everything feeling a little more muted than it might have otherwise been. Which might actually have been a good thing.

Thank you for your encouragement about the book and for your patience with me as I bumbled through the blog this week. I know I said I’d post more #WWWoF Non-Blogger stories on Fridays…and I will. But it might have to start next week.

Anyway — the final installment of the series. Here’s how it starts:

In a last-ditch attempt to make a “book trailer” a few weeks ago, I lit a Japanese lantern in the backyard while my husband taped the whole thing with his phone.

For months, I’d been agonizing about the book trailer thing. I understood the value of making one but lacked the skill, equipment or energy to figure it out. Not to mention the fact that my Disney-saturated imagination had taken the concept to unhealthy, idealistic places.

I had this vision of a whole group of people releasing lanterns together. When We Were On Fire, a subtitle would read. I saw it understated yet cinematic, an Oscar-quality short. I envisioned it happening at the edge of Lake Superior, the lights disappearing softly toward the gray end of the world.

In the end, the weather was never perfect, the timing was never right, and I never quite mustered up the courage to rope all of my various friends and acquaintances into my wacky (possibly illegal) scheme.

So there we were, in the backyard, two weeks before Book Release…with one lantern and an iPhone.

I stood in the soggy grass, and I waited for the wick to catch. And it takes a surprising amount of time for the thin paper to fill itself up with heat. For a long time, you have to hold it up, keep it from crumbling…but then, all at once, you can feel it thrumming with energy and light.

You can tell when it’s time to release it by the tug at your hands, by the change in shape, by the way it pulls away from you toward the sky.

You release it, and suddenly, it’s a hundred feet up, gliding over the treeline, disappearing out of your control.

[Continue reading here]

8 thoughts on “Release [at Convergent Books]

  1. I’m going to miss these, Addie. They are some of my favorite posts. Thanks for letting me in on this 🙂 I feel like I know you better, and I’m less afraid of the future.

  2. I started reading your book two days ago, and in between all the mundane routine things you mentioned above, I have not been able to put it down. I have laughed and cried and nodded and shook my head and marvelled at all the parallels between your story and mine, and countless others I am sure.

    For whatever it’s worth, your voice has reached here, all the way to Australia (more so than a drama about good captains and evil pirates ever did!) and brought so much encouragement, even just in the knowledge of shared experiences and emotions (even down to the thrift store sweaters and mis-matched crockery – is this some rite of passage?!)

    Anyway, thank you, Addie, I’ll be raving about your book to everyone, I can feel it now!


    1. Thank you so much for this kind comment Bree. This almost made me cry: “your voice has reached here, all the way to Australia (more so than a drama about good captains and evil pirates ever did!).” Thank you, thank you, thank you.

  3. I loved your book, and I love you! So thank you for sharing your publishing journey. Some day I want to publish a novel and a memoir I am working on, and so it helped prepare me for what may happen to me, if I even get someone to publish it or do it myself. The best thing about your book is the vulnerability. That is what makes it so good.

  4. Hi Addie,

    I finished reading When We Were on Fire today.

    I stumbled on your blog one month ago, more or less, following a link a friend posted on facebook. She had shared your post about marrying young, but after reading it (and a good deal of the comments below it), I read more posts, and then I also bought your book (kindle version) and finished it in less than a week (good for me.)

    I come from a different environment than yours – well, I’m Italian, and I was raised Catholic – but so many experiences and emotions rang true for me too. I’ve been active in youth groups (one lifetime ago, it seems), have flipped in and out of church for years, had one major return to faith, and then mostly abandoned it, when the unanswered and unanswerable questions became too much. Still, some of the best experiences in my life were given to me by religious communities, and I haven’t discarded the idea to go back, eventually, one day (not now.)

    But what really drew me into your blog first, and then into your novel is your prose – you are able to make daily routines feel interesting by the way you embroider them into words. I read almost half of your book on Sunday, and then took snippets out of working time to finish it. Your writing just flew.

    So thank you. I loved the calm, quiet way you speak of religion – without ever coming out as preachy, loved the honesty about depression (I haven’t been technically depressed, but I suffer from anxiety and OCD from time to time), and loved how thought-provoking everything was. Thanks.

    1. This comment means so much to me Cecilia. Thank you for taking the time to write. I love it when people of different faith backgrounds and who have faith struggles that look different from my own are able to resonate in some way with my book. Thank you for these kind words and for reading.

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