From my point of view, this is one of the few perks an author gets that’s worth anything. A month before pub date… I get mine first.
It’s real now. The sale doesn’t matter (well, okay, it matters, but only as the setup for this): the rewrites don’t matter, the first pass pages don’t matter, the ARCs don’t matter. Only when one of these arrives is the book really real for me. Only when the whole finished thing can be picked up and held in the hands does it become honestly, genuinely, really-and-truly a book.
Now I open that bottle of champagne that’s been lurking in the fridge since New Year’s. It took a while, but here’s Games Wizards Play, finally. Real.
And meanwhile I can get back to work on the next one…