So, as luck would have it for my monthly visit here at WU, I had a book come out last week – the paperback version of Time of My Life (hey, hey, pick up your copy today! Pretty please?), so it seems like a perfect opportunity to share with you what goes on in the brain of an author during the whirlwind of a book launch. Unless you’ve actually been in this situation, you might not recognize that it’s a weird blend of euphoria and nausea, and in light of the bad analogy contest, perhaps I can compare it to having your first child: half of you can’t wait, the other half is wondering just what the hell you were thinking.
I’ve been through this before, obviously. Three times in fact, and yet every time, I’m just as stressed, the same tumble of short-tempered nerves. My book launch-diet kicks in (the one in which I feel too sick to eat), my sleep becomes choppy at best, my husband keeps asking, “What do you have to be stressed out about?,” and I keep wanting to punch him in the face. The good news in all of this is that I’m not alone: every single author I’ve ever spoken to about their own launches feels much the same (spouses be forewarned) because, at the root of it, while having your book hit shelves across the nation is, of course, wonderfully exhilarating, it’s also terribly nerve-wracking because there are SO many elements that are out of your control. Among those elements: will you get any press coverage (the chances are very small for the paperback, although, yay, Dallas Morning News – I got this lovely review last week!), will people like it, will people READ it, will people BUY it, will your publisher be happy with the results, will YOU be happy with the results?
This last one is often the trickiest, at least for me, because I have such high expectations of myself. Which is a complicated thing when, as I noted above, a lot of how well a book does has nothing to do with the book or the author – it has to do with print run and publisher support and co-op space and review coverage. But that doesn’t stop me from trying to do what I can – from blogging, to interviews, to tweeting, to emailing everyone I know. And in between all of this, trying not to stalk my book (and unwitting customers) at my local bookstore and on Amazon. Hee.
At the end of the day, published authors are in a tremendously fortunate position. I mean, how lucky are we to be published at all? So I’m not complaining. In a few weeks, this wave will have passed, and my nerves/appetite/appreciation for my spouse will have rebounded, and life will go on. And then, come next summer, when my next book is released, I’ll start this all over – and maybe come back and reread this post – and remember that it’s just a book. Hopefully, a good book with a lot of buyers, but if not, I’m pretty dang lucky to be here in the first place.
PS – (No husbands were harmed in the writing of this post.) :)