- by Eileen Dreyer
It is the best of times, it is the worst of times. My new book, BARELY A LADY, came out this week. Anyone who has ever wanted to be published would assume that it would be a moment of unfettered joy, marked by fireworks, happy dances and rainbows. Champagne would be popped; Michael Buble would be singing in the background. Little girls would toss rose petals at my feet as I walk past. The only thing missing would be a dramatic reading by Hugh Jackman.
Yeah, I can hear all you multi-published authors snorting soda out your noses.
Not that it truly isn’t a wonderful moment. By God, it really is. After all, I took a huge chance and veered in a completely different direction in my career. Instead of researching SWAT teams and post mortems, suddenly I was looking up Regency fashion and the cavalry battalions that fought at Waterloo. I finally got the chance to follow a direction I’ve wanted to follow for years and came up with a series set in the Regency period. Don’t tell anyone, but I figured I’d won just to have the thing accepted.
But it actually made it to the stands. So I should be wallowing in my success, right? Don’t be silly. First of all, we never get to enjoy any success in a vacuum. By the time the book you’ve taken that big chance on actually comes out, you’re so immersed in the rewrites on the manuscript that comes two books later, you can barely remember the characters’ names of the book you’re supposed to be celebrating. You’re distracted by blogging and Facebook and Twitter, and trying to organize contests and appearances and newsletters.
But that isn’t the worst of it. The worst is that you’re compelled to go to the nearest bookstores, just to torment yourself. If the book isn’t there, you wonder if it’s even been ordered. If it is there, you wonder why they didn’t order more. If there are a lot, you worry about why it hasn’t sold.
You see, for some reason, it is impossible to just celebrate the success of the moment. It never occurs to you that the book you’re so proud of is selling well. And if you actually have the guts to ask the staff about sales, and they tell you the book is selling well, you immediately head to another store to prove them wrong. If you get good reviews from Romantic Times and Publisher’s Weekly and Library Journal, you run right to Amazon so you can pour the public reviewing snark over your head like acid. And anybody who says they don’t is lying.
But this time I swear I’m going to try and break the cycle. Oh, I’ll probably go to the bookstores. But I’ve decided that I will believe the best. At least until I’m proved miserably wrong.
Sigh. See? It’s a hard habit to break.