They don’t issue handbooks to newly published writers. If you’re lucky you have friends to answer questions, an agent who has your back, and a patient editor.
I am lucky. I have all those things. I still have to hit the deadlines alone, do all the work, and handle the emotional side of it all.
Because ladies and gents, when you’ve waited years to have a book published there is an emotional side. Things that you never even thought about will throw you and you’re not even sure why. It’s an odd combination of panic and joy.
I discovered the other day, quite by accident, that my book is listed on sale in India, New Zealand, Australia, and the UK. Not pirated or anything like that, not because we sold to publishers there, but because my US publisher is distributing the book to all those places. Today I discovered a metric ton of places here in the US you can pre-order the book.
And my major, overwhelming response to all of this is quiet panic.
Now don’t get me wrong, this is what I want. The more places the book is available, the more likely it is to do reasonably well. I know from talking to other writers that doesn’t always happen. See comment above about being lucky.
But the panic runs along the lines of Oh god…what do I do now? What if I screw this up by doing the wrong thing? How can I NOT screw this up? I don’t know what to do…
The more something means to me, the more likely I am to panic over the chance that it might be taken away, or that I might make some misstep that will be fatal to my success. Wacky mental hijinks ensue.
And the answer to “what do I do now?” is…keep writing book 3. Breathe. Wait to see what the plan is when I talk to my publicist (if/when I get one) for the first time. Be myself, even if myself is apparently utterly forgettable. * *
This is the kind of thing they never tell you, that feeling of being tossed into the jungles of publishing without a map, without a guide, and needing to avoid the tiger pits. I’ve watched my friends put out books for over ten years now, been privy to their ups and downs, and a lot of the crap thrown their way. I’m not a total innocent.
It still looks completely different from the other side. Trust me on this.
This is what I think about at midnight, while trying to remember to breathe.
* * I have a long ten year history of being introduced to people at cons, having long conversations with them, having meals with them, and when I see them at another con just a few months later, they have no idea who I am. They’ve totally forgotten they ever met me. Happened again a few days ago, which is why it’s on my mind.
But as long as people remember what I wrote, that’s okay.