After all of the build-up to release day, it would hard not to have the entire post-mortem be slightly anticlimactic, and I’m here to tell you that, indeed, the weeks following your book publication are a bit of a downer. Now, before you get all worked up saying that I’m acting insane – after all, my book is on store shelves – let me explain. How many of you out there are married? Quite a few? Good, then you’ll get my analogy. There is a condition that therapists have actually diagnosed that’s called something like, “post-wedding depression” or “post-wedding letdown” or something like that. And what it refers to is the period of time when brides and grooms get back from the high of the wedding and the honeymoon and come home after months of elaborate planning, and sit on their couches and look at each other and say, “Now what?” After all of the hype and hoopla, it’s just the two of them, now out of the spotlight and back to reality.
And that’s sort of how it feels to have your book come out.
Life goes on. You start to lose the thrill of seeing it stocked on shelves. You worry about writing your second one. You stress over sales. You wonder if you did enough promotion, even though you’re still doing promotion and frankly, are a little tired and rundown from doing said promotion. But the apex of the release, or the apexes, I should say – the sale, the galleys, the reviews, the actual release – have all come and gone, and you’re now left with the nitty-gritty of pushing the word about the book and trying to get it read, just like post-honeymoon, when you’re left with doing the work that keeps a marriage healthy.
I’m not complaining. I’m not even moping. I’m not saying that it isn’t a total and complete damn honor to be a published book author. It is. Especially when I get an email from a reader telling me how much he or she enjoyed the book. There is nothing more gratifying. I’m just telling you the facts. Talk to most authors, and many will tell you something similar. Time, and the publishing world, marches on. Your team at your publishing house still looks out for you, but they also have new writers to cater to. Eventually, your book is removed from the front table at shelves to make way for newer ones. Everything moves forward, and so, as a writer, you have to too. For me, this has meant diligently working on my second book, while trying not to lose sight of the fact that I still have this one to push. Knowing that I might get to see those apexes again – those thrills when someone says that she wants to buy your manuscript or when a rave review comes in – are what I’m working toward. That’s all I can do.
Everyone always tells new aspiring authors to keep writing, but the same is true for those of us who have already tasted a bit of success: keep writing. It’s the only way to keep the cycle going, until the bubble bursts again, and you hunker down to start another book anew.