Saturday, May 04, 2019

DAY FOUR

Hello and good morning from day four of being an author with a book Out There. It is, of course, not OUT THERE out there—pub date is still a month away—but enough people have it in their possession and are currently reading it that it feels as good as published.

The state of my head these past few days is very difficult to describe. I'd say it's somewhere between About to Cry and About to Barf, but in a good way, for the most part. Sometimes exceptionally good. Sometimes very bad. It's a whole trip. My shoulders are all bunched up by my ears and and I've been doing stupid things, like putting muffins into a heated oven and then...just...not taking them out again (oops).

I barely slept at all on Tuesday night. I stared at the ceiling until about 1 AM. Scarlett was up thinking it was morning around 2 AM and I had to convince her, through that wonderful adult-toddler language barrier with an additional middle-of-the-night sleep fog filter, that it wasn't. She eventually conceded and I went back to bed to stare at the ceiling for another long time. When I did sleep, I had nightmares about waking up to people basically voting me off the planet for writing drivel.

In reality, I only woke up to a headache. No reviews at all—obviously, I guess, because the book had only been up for a few hours. I thought, Well, I guess I should post something about this on Instagram, and I did. Then I trudged off to have a shower like a condemned prisoner, thinking all the same thoughts I had the night I went to the hospital to deliver Sully. There is no turning back now. This is going to hurt. This feels very surreal. 

I should give some context here: First Reads is kind of an internet visibility rocket ship. It places your book, along with only seven others, in front of every single Amazon Prime member in all of the US, the UK, and Australia. I can't remember the exact number she quoted to me when my editor told me we'd been selected for this thing, but it was a really, really high number. I was excited for, like, a day, and then I was just terrified. After all, if you invite thousands of people to your house party, it's a guarantee that at least some of them are going to be stupid and belligerent and break things and the whole thing's just going to get absolutely out of hand. And if you set your delicate newborn—firstborn!—baby book in front of thousands of people...right? Absolutely out of hand. Zero control. I was imagining my metaphorical book's house party, complete with flying opinions, hurled insults, misunderstandings, assumptions, hate mail...!

Also, though, I had (have) stage fright. I, personally, would never purposely choose to stand in front of an audience of thousands of people and read something that is not my diary but which kind of feels like my diary, and allow them to then dissect and analyze my performance back to me—and on Wednesday morning, I realized that I had chosen exactly that. TERRIFYING.

But when I picked up my phone again it was flooded with so many encouraging messages and excitement from friends and family and fellow Lake Union authors (who have also quickly become friends) and all of the lovely, wonderful people I've met through my blogging years (also actual friends) and all of a sudden my brain was like, OH. Oh right, okay, these people are all here too. For me!

It helped a lot.

That night, Barclay took me on a date so I'd stop obsessively looking at the Internet. Being an author in 2019 is strange because they supply you with all these analytical tools. You can see, for example, your book sales in real time. You can see your author rank, your book's rank in the Kindle store, your reviews. You can even see what sentences and passages your readers are highlighting in their Kindles as they read...!!

So. There's that. Here's something I've always known but now know double: I have zero self-control.

But now, like I said, day four. I've made it to day four.

A few reviews have begun to trickle in and—wonder of wonders—they're really, really nice. Actually, my favorite part of this whole experience so far was Wednesday afternoon when I sat down in the quiet of my living room during nap time to take a peek at the first couple of reviews, even though I'd been warned extensively not to (I had to!). I'm well aware that negative reviews will be here any moment, because that's the nature of the beast. I've been preparing for those ones by standing in front of the bathroom mirror every morning and telling myself I suck and don't have any brains.

(Just kidding. I don't do that.)

Right now I'm just planning ahead for the rest of this pre-sale rush and onto publication day and the weeks after that. I'm trying to figure out a way to stay busy enough outside of my house that I don't just sit here and refresh my analytics pages but, also, I do need to sit down at my computer and get stuff done there. THERE IS SO MUCH TO DO. I'M KIND OF A MESS!

Also, I'm going to leave these here for posterity, because this is kind of a once in a lifetime thing.