I feel much happier and calmer about this second novel’s launch than I did about the launch of my debut novel. That may seem odd if you’ve ever read writers’ blog posts about the sophomore novel blues. Writers often seem to worry more about their second novels than their debuts
I’m the opposite.
Before my debut novel Fairer than Morning launched, I was an anxious wreck. My unprecedented state of nervous anticipation started a full two months before the May 2011 launch of the book.
I knew why I was so wound up. I was about to realize a lifelong dream, with all the emotion that entailed, but very few people in my immediate vicinity had any clue what I was going through emotionally. If I had said “I’m running in the Olympics next week so I’m a little jittery,” most people would have understood the massive understatement involved. But the publishing dream is not as easy to imagine and therefore, not as easy to support. Most of my non-writing acquaintances didn’t realize that I was literally in an agony of suspense. The few times that I hinted at it, I got blank stares, so I found it was more prudent to keep it to myself. Non-writers tend to see publication as a glamorous, ego-pumping event, and they totally would not get it if your response to “So, are you excited about your book?” was “Will you excuse me? I think I’m going to be sick.”
In addition to the tension of awaiting the dream-come-true, I didn’t know what I was doing with PR during my debut. I had to feel my way through it, with varying degrees of success. Many of the elements of the publication process were so new that they were disorienting.
So now, I am very, very thankful that all those debut-novel storms have passed, and the sun is shining for the launch of my second novel.
I know what I’m doing with PR, and I understand my publisher better.
I’m confident in the novel itself, thanks to my editors and their wise suggestions.
I understand the readers who will read my novel, and how they are likely to react to it. I know that every novel that has any substance will receive at least one or two harshly-critical reviews, so there’s no point in letting it ruffle any of my feathers. I’ve also learned to distinguish which criticism is constructive and which is the result of some reviewer having a really bad day. It happens. No big deal.
So the good news I want to share today is that for some authors, the second novel is going to feel much, much better than the first, when the big launch day rolls around.
I’d love to hear about your experiences with non-writers around you, when you went through a stressful experience in your writing life. How did they react? How much did you decide to share with them?