When your goal is to be a writer your entire life, it’s a bit surreal when your book is finally released. It was just two months ago when my first novel, Undercard, hit stores, and since then it’s been a whirlwind. There have been interviews and events, signings and reviews.
People keep asking me, do you feel different? Do you wake up and be like, wow, I wrote a book? Do you marvel when you see it on the shelves of bookstores?
The answer is, no, not really. Publishing a book, and its positive reception, has definitely been a great source of pride for me. It has been a boost to my confidence. And it has been a relief to finally establish a career in a field I have always wanted to pursue. But, being honest, it does not feel as wondrous as I imagined it would. There are definitely special moments throughout this experience: I remember the first time I saw the book listed for pre-order on the websites of Amazon and Indigo; the first time I held the finished book in my hands; the first time I saw it reviewed in the paper; the first time I saw myself on TV; and yes, the first time I saw it in a bookstore. There was also my first live interview and the launch party of Undercard, which were both memorable nights. But for me, if there is a task to be done, then that is where my mind goes. It’s next step, next step, next step (and I believe my writing reflects this, as people keep telling me how much they like the fast pace of Undercard, and I definitely wanted to keep the story moving to ensure a dynamic reading experience, but I also feel that that’s the way my mind works). And with a book’s release, there are a seemingly unlimited number of tasks that could be done.
More than one established writer has given me the advice, “Enjoy it. You never get to have a first book again. Make sure you enjoy it.” I have been trying to take this advice to heart, but I can’t help but worry about things like organizing events, performing well in interviews, developing my social media, and getting the word out any way I can. In my experience, things become more enjoyable the more you do them, and I imagine books are no different.
So for anyone about to release their first book, or anyone who is on the cusp of a major breakthrough in their life, value your achievement. But don’t feel bad if you’re not jumping for joy.