During the writing of the poems that comprise illusions and misdemeanors, and during the whole editing and production process, I thought I’d planned for everything that goes into publishing a book of poetry.

I didn’t.

When the files had been sent to the printer, I heaved a sigh of relief, thinking the heavy lifting was done.

It wasn’t.

When the bound proof arrived and I ripped open the FedEx® envelop, seeing all of my work bound into an actual book, I felt a tsunami of emotions. Pride. Joy. Relief. Uncertainty. Fear. I poured through every poem, every page, terrified I’d find a typo or an errant piece of punctuation. There were passages I wanted to rewrite, poems I wanted to dump.

I left everything as is.

Yesterday, two boxes of books were delivered to my doorstep—two boxes of MY books.

Shit got real. Fast.

You see, the thirty-one poems in my book are deeply personal and, in some cases, reveal parts of me that I’ve never shared with anyone. All are autobiographical to varying extents — even those I consider products of my imagination have some element of my emotion or experience in them.

So, handing that first book to a buyer made me feel exposed and raw. It exposed a vulnerability I hadn’t experienced in my lifetime.

Signing books is a strange thing, too. I’ve been signing things all my life: checks, contracts, credit card receipts. But I’d never actually autographed something I created. Last night, I signed a couple dozen of my books, inscribing personalized messages to people I’ve known for years—people who would now learn new things about me and my life. Would I be judged for it? Would I be judged for my writing?

Today, I personally delivered a dozen books to those who bought them in pre-sales. It felt like handing over my diary to them.