Guest blogger Eric D. Goodman shares his book release day experiences.

A good number of people have asked me: what was it like?  To finally have my first novel released after years—decades—of pitching to agents and publishers?  To have a traditional publisher release my baby to the world.

The short answer: somewhat surreal.  What follows is the long answer.

Tracks: A Novel in Stories was released by Atticus Books on June 30, 2011.  In some ways, it was a regular weekday, seated at my desk and working on my computer. But there was ample activity.

Keep in mind it’s been a life-long dream for me to have an independent publisher release my novel.  I began writing fiction way back in the third grade.  I wrote my first novel in the sixth grade—a draft written in a spiral notebook which I’m glad to say has been lost.  In ninth grade, I had a typed manuscript making its rounds at my high school. By the time I was in my senior year of high school, I had a typed manuscript making rounds with agents and publishers.  Off and on, I’ve been submitting manuscripts for the better part of 20 years.  So when I finally scored a big-time agent in New York City, and then a year later got a publishing contract with an independent publisher, it was a huge deal.  The release date was the realization of the dream.

The day started with a flutter of activity online—emails, Facebook posts, messages, website mentions, blogger posts, phone calls, more than a hundred notes of congratulation and announcements about Tracks.  What an ego boost!

Atticus Books let me know that good reviews were continuing to roll in.

The popular online literary journal Three Guys One Book published my essay about falling in love with reading on Tracks Day.

My publisher, Atticus, was full-steam-ahead with posts about Tracks.  First, they reposted my complete interview with them: “Tracks Arrives at the Station June 30: An Interview with the Author.”  They followed that with a posting of my television interview at Loyola College, posts about train stories and French train literature.  Then they published a story from Tracks in four installments throughout the day: “The Silences,” which was originally published in the literary journal Slow Trains.

I shared the announcement of Tracks at appropriate groups on Facebook and social networking sites, like Amtrak, Maryland Writers Association, Lit & Art Reading Series, and my organizations.

WYPR sent me a podcast to my most recent Tracks radio reading, “Mountain of Sand.”

One of the highlights of the day was when my family brought me a “Tracks Day” cake and gave me an orchid.  The children named it Prewitt, after one of the characters in my book.  I’m happy to say that still today, Prewitt is alive and flowering.  And Tracks sales are ongoing as well.

Then, in the afternoon, the mail man delivered the other highlight of the day.  A postcard from author Jonathan Franzen (The Corrections, Freedom).  I had sent an advance reading copy of Tracks to Mr. Franzen through his agent.  He congratulated me and wrote that while he hadn’t had time to finish reading the book prior to publication, he enjoyed the opening chapters. “It’s a real accomplishment.”

It may not sound earth-shattering.  I wasn’t tagged by Oprah’s wand and didn’t get invited to Today.  But it was an eventful day, and an emotional one.  You know that feeling you get when you receive a letter or an email or a comment from someone you haven’t heard from in awhile?  Or a compliment from someone you don’t know?  It was like that a hundred times over, this pouring out of congratulations and sharing of Tracks.

And I’m happy to say it didn’t end with Tracks Day.  I still get notes from people about Tracks.  These notes and comments are even more thrilling than book sales.

You can learn more about Tracks at www.TracksNovel.com, where you can read an excerpt, listen to radio readings, and find out what others are saying about the novel in stories.

And if you’ve experienced a “release day” of your own, please share the experience!

Eric D. Goodman regularly reads his fiction on Baltimore’s NPR station, WYPR, and at book festivals and literary events. His work has appeared in a number of publications, including The Baltimore Review, The Pedestal Magazine, Writers Weekly, The Potomac, Grub Street, Scribble Magazine, The Arabesques Review, and New Lines from the Old Line State: An Anthology of Maryland Writers. In addition to Tracks, Eric is the author of Flightless Goose, a storybook for children (www.RunGoose.com). Learn more about Eric and his writing at www.Writeful.blogspot.com.