Surprise Mail

Posted by on Aug 12, 2008 in Writing | 9 comments

Yesterday brought a surprise Priority Mail, and I’m so far into my break that I racked my brain for a full minute to recall the sender: Tekno-Books, the company that’s packaging the anthology (as mentioned here). What a welcome jerk back to my best reality: Yes, I’m a fictionista! Awesome!

The package contained the galley proofs for my story, plus my author bio and the table of contents. Need to send corrections back by the 20th. I question my author bio now — I want to change it up completely. I’ll need to ask someone for advice.

Also, I noticed that my story comes in last. In publishing parlance, it “anchors” the anthology. I know from previous experience that publishers like to end their anthologies on a strong note, so I was pleased with myself.

However (and isn’t there always one of these?), I quickly talked myself out of feeling pleased because I wasn’t 100% sure all publishers use this strategy. In our culture coming in last is bad. Failure! And since I might be a tiny bit competitive…well…let’s just say I let that downer thought anchor itself for one minute too long.

Another “however”: My friend Liz, who also wrote a story for the anthology, sent me a woo-hoo message this morning, congratulating me on my final position in the anthology. Whew, okay then!

I find it strange that I sometimes need a wise voice from the outside to confirm what I already know below the surface of my doubts and worries. I’m not the only one like this, right? I hope?

(P.S. Now I’m thrilled to be in last position! Validation: I wrote a worthy story!)


  1. Congratulations!
    And no, you definitely not alone about self-doubt. I think most writers are just hardwired that way. I sure am. 🙂

  2. Yes, last is good in an anthology. Why do I so readily agree? I recently edited a book and took great great pains to put the pieces/essays in a very particular order. One of the pieces was so damn good, I put it last, kind of as a surprise, as a “cracker”, the kind you pull open at Xmas in the UK.

    And then I thought, will they read to the end like they do in a book of fiction – will they get to this one, the very best of the bunch?

    And then I said: my instinct is best. And this best one goes last.

    So I will trust that your anthology editor’s instinct was like-minded: your piece being last is the icing on the cake.


  3. Nice work Lisa! Stop doubting your exceptional talent and enjoy your story’s placement in the ‘saving the best for last’ position.


  4. Congratulations! It’s an awesome feeling to hold the galley in your hands on the first one–and I imagine on all the others too, even though I’ve only had the pleasure one time.

    And no, you’re not the only one who suffers with self-doubt. Like DeAnna says above, it’s entirely possible it’s hardwired into all of us. Or maybe not. Hey, maybe we should take it as a sign that we are indeed awesome authors!

    As for the bio, don’t even get me started on that. I must’ve written mine a hundred times!

    I hope you’ll keep us posted on the release date. Can’t wait to see it on the bookstores shelf!


  5. congrats.
    what do you write in a bio? i had to do one recently and feel a bit daft about it all because I was the only one who listed all the shit kicking jobs I’ve had.

  6. Hey Lisa,

    There’s great precedence for having the last story in a collection – The Dead anchors Dubliners, for example. It’s probably best to get the Joyce comparison out of the way early in your career…


  7. Oh, so happy for you 🙂 I can’t comment on the significance in being the last story of a collection – however, in music performance we always save our best, most exciting piece for last!

  8. Love the title of your story.

  9. Hey that is wonderful! A big congrats to you!


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