I announced the publication of my new book, A Lap Around America, yesterday. Launch days are funny things to writers – a bit of a combination of Christmas morning and a visit to the dentist, all rolled into one.
On the one hand, it’s nice to get it out into the world and see whether anyone is interested in reading it. By the time launch day arrives, I will have read that book, cover to cover, in excruciating detail, no less than eight times, often more. I’ve written it, rewritten it, edited it, gone over edits from my real editor, proofread it, gone over edits from my real proofreader, and so on, until my eyes are crossed. Publication means, unless a sharp-eyed reader spots more mistakes, I won’t need to read it again for some time, which is a bit of a relief.
On the other hand, what if you publish your baby and no one notices? Or worse, what if people notice your new baby but think it’s ugly? I’ve been very fortunate for most of my writing career. Even when I published my first book, for some reason, there were people willing to buy it and read it. Sometimes, though, I have missed. My last book – Life is Short – didn’t sell very well. I was kind of expecting that, though. Short stories are notoriously difficult to promote, and collections of short stories aren’t much easier. Still, I wanted all of my short fiction collected in one place for my best readers, and it accomplished that, not to mention that I am proud of those stories.
Even after publishing a number of titles, writers can still feel a little catch in their throat when it comes time to push that big red “Publish” button.
Happily, my launch of A Lap Around America is going swimmingly. People seem interested in reading the story of why I quit a good job that I loved to head for the open road. It’s on Amazon’s Hot New Release list in three different sub-genres, and ranking around 5,000 in the whole Amazon store, which isn’t too shabby out of the 8,000,000 or so books that are available.
So, a brief sigh of relief, then back to it – writing The Redemption of Michael Hollister and the memoir of growing up in the seventies I am currently working on. The writing never stops, at least as long as I am converting oxygen to carbon monoxide to feed the trees.
Will I ever stop feeling butterflies on launch day? I hope not. It’s usually a lot more of Christmas morning, and very little of the dentist’s drill.