It’s been two-and-a-half months since I launched my debut novel, Pennies from Burger Heaven. There’s so many lessons I want to share with you, mistakes that I made for you to avoid and cool successes I want you to have, too. I’m still trying to process all that, so today I want to focus on the behind-the-scenes emotions.
Publication brings an onslaught of Fears: Will anyone buy my book? Why isn’t anyone leaving reviews? Do they hate it? If I had to select one word to describe publication, it would be:
I mean that in the best and worst ways possible. It’s like a rollercoaster ride of emotions. I’ll spare you the drama of my full neuroses and focus on four experiences – three potential pitfalls and one blessing from publication:
OMG. I’ve thought so much about my free eBooklet I wrote called, Writing Naked. It covers lessons I’ve learned in my 20 years with the craft and how exposed I feel when I first put my words out into the world, whether it’s fiction or nonfiction. That rawness amplified a million times with my 317-page book for sale on Amazon and sitting on the shelves of local book stores.
Believe me, I know it’s AWESOME that strangers are even bothering to read my novel, but I felt vulnerable, nevertheless. I’ve grown more comfortable and confident with each passing week, but it freaked me out in the beginning.
I laugh when I think back to the days when I just worried about goofing off too long on social media or reading too many writing blog posts, etc. Now, people want to stop me in the grocery store to discuss my novel, invite me to speak at their book clubs, or email me their thoughts about Pennies. It’s AWESOME! I’ve worked for 20 years for this and love it.
However, the older I get, the more I realize I truly am an introvert. As much as I cherish being available readers, it’s also creatively draining and I need energy more than ever as I try to write Burger Heaven #2. I’m still trying to find balance here, but it’s a great problem to have.
This has been the biggest blessing. I’ve made my dreams come true. I published a novel with a beginning, middle and end that’s resonating with people in ways I hadn’t expect. One woman said my book changed her life.
At the time of this post, I have 65 Amazon reviews. I sold 74 books in two hours at my first book signing. My local newspaper reviewed my Pennies and called it, “A dark tale … a story to be read, savored and then read again.” These all make my struggles worth the effort. It wasn’t fast or easy, but by Gawd, I did it!
As grateful as I am that people are loving my book, I now feel pressure to recreate the magic with my next novel. I even outlined Pennies to study my methodology and have reread old passages and think … how the hell did I do that? It’s like someone else wrote that story and I’m just this loser writer.
I know this is good ol’ fashion Fear and that it’s part of the process. I’ve earned an unofficial PhD on the subject, but my brain understanding that fact and my heart releasing the Fear are two different processes. I’m trying to be kinder to myself because that’s what I would advise y’all, but do as I say, not as I do …
There you have it. My rollercoaster ride of experiences with my first book launch. It hope it enlightens, prepares or at least entertains you.
If you’ve launched a book before, what other experiences have you had? If you’re working towards your first launch, what are you most afraid of?
Please leave a comment. Let’s talk.
About Marcy McKay. I’m the author of the literary-suspense novel, Pennies from Burger Heaven (SkipJack Publishing). You can download my FREE short story, A Cemetery Plot Worth of Love (which is the precursor to Pennies).