Life As A Newly Published Novelist, by Jenn J McLeod
The moment is here. The dream is now a reality. Your book is out there – loved by a publisher, edited, printed, distributed, displayed, launched, promoted. Now what? Time to kick back, relax and let all you’ve dreamed just happen. This is, after all, what the other side of the publishing fence is all about, isn’t it? Life is but a dream as you row, row, row your boat merrily down the book sales stream.
You’ve got to be kidding! Who has the time to row a boat?
If I’m not writing book three, I’m editing book two.
When I should be writing, I’m Facebooking.
When I’m Facebooking I think I’m promoting. (I am, aren’t I?)
Oh, and then there’s the blogging…
I’m blogging right now to bring you up to date with life as a newly published author now that House for all Seasons has been in bookstores since March 1.
In my January post I compared that desperate state of an aspiring author to a cork bobbing on an ocean; a sea of arm-waving wanna-be writers all crying out, “Pick me! Pick me!” while treading water, waiting for HMAS Publisher to rescue them, welcome them with steaming hot chocolate, and wrap them in a warm, comforting blanket.
The reality of being a first-time published author is not all warm blankies, book signings and Sunday brunches. (Sad but true!) So what’s really changed for me since March 1? I’m still hunched over a keyboard in a kind of self-imposed solitary confinement and developing addictions to coffee and chocolate, only now I’ve developed new addictions to Amazon rankings, Goodreads star ratings and sales figures. Oh, and then there’s the necessary Facebook status update along the lines of: “Look at me. I’m great. Buy my book.”
You probably think that having the ultimate affirmation – a published novel – would make a writer feel six feet tall and want to brag. No! I actually am six-feet tall and the thought of spruiking myself and my work is more likely to have me shrinking into the closest corner because, as I’ve discovered, it’s when that groundswell starts to form as your book hits the shelves and reviews start coming in that a writer can feel the most vulnerable. One minute you’re swept up in a tsunami of promotion: guest blogs, bookshop signings and Twitter storms (I wish!). Life is but a dream and you’re riding so high until… until that wave of expectations – reader, publisher, family, friends… your own – flips your stomach inside out; the kind of dumping wave that turns you in every direction and leaves you gasping for breath.
That’s where I am right now, trying to breathe, desperate to know if I’m meeting everyone’s expectations. Yes, reviews by book bloggers and readers are coming in and they are GREAT! But are they as great as Author B’s or Author C’s reviews? Why did that newspaper not review MY book? Are my sales good enough? Have they justified the promotional spend? Will all this affect book two? Will there be a book three?
Maybe I need to “suck it up, princess” (as my friends like to tell me when I get like this). Am I the only author who stresses out about all this stuff? Do I sound all whiney? Should I not just go with the flow? Am I being too honest right now? Am I asking too many questions? Oh dear, I think I’m about to hyperventilate. Some one, please pass me a paper bag.
Jenn J McLeod’s author website: www.jennjmcleod.com
Writing Novels in Australia