So I am less than four months away from the publication of my next novel, The One That I Want. There’s been major progress since my last post here at Writer Unboxed: my galleys – aka, ARCs, which are uncorrected proofs of the book (essentially paperbacks with some errors in them) are out into the world. Yikes. And now, it all begins – the madness, the promotion, the reviews, the gnawing my fingernails down to the bone.
This is my third time in this rodeo. You’d think that I’d have tamed my nerves by now. That I’d be calmer, less concerned about ushering my blood, sweat and tears (sometimes literally) out into the world. In some ways, I am. I think that I care less about what reviewers say, understand that reading really is subjective, and know that I’ve done every last thing to make this book a success. These things count for a lot toward my mental health. At a certain point, you just have to be okay with the product and process, no? And yet at the same time, I’m right back where I was when my first book launched: objectively, I know that LIFE WILL GO ON if people don’t love this book and buy it in droves. But subjectively, I can’t help but feel a little bit like Sally Field: I want them to like me, to really, really like me.
And such is the conundrum of the published author – a luxurious conundrum to have, I admit, but one that a lot of us struggle with all the same. How much of reader feedback matters? For me, a fair amount. But does it take away from the hard work I put in? No. Does it mean that if someone doesn’t love the book, that I should be any less proud of it? No. But do I still really want to please my readers? Of course!
I’m not sure that I ever considered this angle of publishing before I was published: that you put something out in the world, and well, you’re judged on it. Again, I’m not complaining, but it’s something that hovers over a soon-to-be published writer all the same. When I write, I sort of write in a vacuum: I have a few people around me who guide me and usher me in the right direction, but mostly I use my inner-compass. So what happens if that compass is off-course with my readers? Well, I guess…nothing. I might feel badly about a review or two, but in the end, whether I’m a glutton for punishment or just so freaking lucky to get to do this as a full-time day job, I’ll dust myself off and keep going. My next book, after all, is due in June. When I’m gearing up for that release, I’m 100% certain that I’ll once again be right back here: anxious but confident, nervous but hopeful, and all I can do is cross my fingers, drink some Pepto and anticipate the best.
Photo courtesy Flickr’s katmere