Pre-Release Jitters

This content was originally posted on www.reutreads.wordpress.com as part of the Shudder Blog Tour in 2013.


What goes through an author’s mind leading up to the release of his/her book? Of course, every author’s experience is different, but speaking from the perspective of one author with a big release looming on the horizon, I can tell you one thing for sure – it’s A LOT.


I published my first book, Stitch, in the summer of 2012, and at the time of writing this post, I’m currently a little under 3 months out from the targeted release of its sequel, Shudder, in summer 2013. As you can imagine, things are getting down to the wire. My brain at the moment is basically a three-ring circus, with jugglers in every corner tossing flaming objects back and forth to one another while silently praying that they don’t drop anything and subsequently light up the entire tent.


So what exactly is it that’s keeping me up at night? Well, here’s a glimpse into what’s going on in my head at the moment. Take heed: It’s not going to be pretty. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.


1. How do I make my book NOT SUCK?


Okay, I’ll be straight with you – I don’t think the current draft of my next book sucks. I actually think it’s pretty good. But I thought that about my last book, too, up until the day I released it, and then almost immediately after I realized that I hated it. And then I loved it again, and then I hated it, and so on and so forth, until one day I finally saw it for what it actually was: a book – and a pretty decent book at that – but one that, like most books, has its flaws.


So what I learned after my experience with Stitch is that it’s really not for many months after the book has been released that I can actually see it clearly. The problem is that in order to make the book the best it can be, I need to know what’s wrong with it before I publish it.


I’m still not quite sure how to accomplish this, but I can promise you one thing – I’m TRYING. Really, really hard. I’m thinking about my book constantly, before I fall asleep at night and first thing when I wake up in the morning, in the shower, while I’m cooking, when I’m supposed to be doing my day job… it’s always on my mind. Where are the problems and how do I fix them?


2. More importantly, how am I going to finish the damn thing on time??


I have a confession to make. The book is set to be released in T-3 months, and… I still haven’t finished the first draft yet.


!!!


I know that sounds crazy, but really, I have a plan – I know what’s going to happen in the remaining chapters, I just… need to find the time to write them. And I need to do it soon so that I still have plenty of time to get beta reader feedback and do some heavy revisions before I move into the formatting phase.


So, naturally, I’m stressing about this. My life isn’t exactly leisurely at the moment and I’m expecting that I need to find probably 20-30 hours to finish what’s left in the next two weeks. As many of you can probably understand, easier said than done!


3. And what about all the Other Stuff?


“What’s the ‘Other Stuff?’” you might ask.


Well, my friend, I’ll let you in on a little secret that I learned when I self-published my first book. There’s a LOT MORE that goes into a novel than writing it! Cover art, back-cover synopsis, editing, typography, print and e-book formatting, networking with bloggers, building reader engagement, website/blog/social media maintenance – you name it. I’m doing it all.


Believe it or not, this Other Stuff actually takes more time than writing the book does – and it’s only beginning when the book is released. Granted, this is all fun stuff (especially the reader/blogger interactions), so I can’t complain. But at the same time, if I drop the ball on ANY of this, either no book is produced, or my pretty little book sits lonely on an Amazon page that no one else knows exists. Either way, not good!


4. But am I really doing this marketing thing right??


Ah, this is one… this is one of those silent nagging worries that just gnaws away at you whenever things get quiet. Yes, I did my research, and I came up with a comprehensive marketing plan for my book. But the problem is, I never seem to see any correlation between what I do in the marketing department and how my book actually performs.


So that begs the question: is anything I’m doing really making a difference? And now that I’m doing it for a second book, should I be doing the same things?


This self-doubt is probably the hardest part of the indie experience – sometimes I just wish I had an experienced agent or publisher who could reassure me that, “Yes, what you’re seeing is normal, and what you’re doing is right – you just need to give it time.”


Luckily, I do have the thousands of voices of other indie authors who have shared their experiences online who are all saying those exact things, so that helps. But sometimes… I just wonder.


5. WHAT WILL THE READERS THINK???


Okay, this is the whopper.


Deep breaths. Don’t hyperventilate. It’s all going to be okay… right??


Of COURSE I’m nervous about what readers will think of the book! The entire reason I write is for the readers – because it’s an AMAZING experience to share a story you made up with a total stranger and see them get excited about it. (Readers, you truly are the best!)


I was very blessed with Stitch to find a whole host of people who loved it, and sure enough, I want them to LOVE the next one as well. But will they? Only time will tell…


Until then, deep breaths!


So there you are – a small window into the crazed mind of one author with a book that’s just about ready to pop. It’s disturbing, I know. But I did warn you, didn’t I?

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