A Damnable Beginning

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Book Launch!

Today (August 25th) is the official release of Damnable, and, not coincidentally, the kick-off of my blog. To keep in line with the street-date of my first novel, I’m starting off with a discussion of what it feels like to publish your first book, since that seems to be a question a lot of people want to ask.

Short answer: probably not like what you think.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s a great feeling, carries with it a satisfying sense of accomplishment. I read somewhere that out of every 1,000 people who make the decision and set out to write a novel, only three ever make a sale to a major publishing house. Heady stuff when you get the call from your agent telling you you’ve got an offer. By then you’ve already imagined seeing your book on racks, laid out on tables, in readers’ hands. But from the time of the sale (to a major publishing house, at least) to the date it lands on bookshelves, far too much time passes for the reality and the expectation to be in sync. And for the for the aspiring career novelist, far too much work is involved, the meat of it beginning on publication, for the release date to be event you assumed it would be.

What it really is, is the start of the marketing phase.

Writing a fantastic novel means little if nobody reads it. If you want to be a professional writer, you have to treat writing like a profession, which means recognizing that it’s a business. The business not just of writing books, but of selling them. Assuming you’ve written something worth reading, selling copies of your book means getting people to know about it.

So, for the typical debut novelist, the release date is a different experience than what he or she likely imagined when they were envisioning being published. The twelve-eighteen month interim between sale and publication is filled with work on the next novel (a must if you want to be a professional writer), and the months and weeks leading up to release is a time filled by arranging book signings, working with a publicist, and getting copies of the book into the hands of reviewers.

It’s a hectic time, a demanding one, and bears little more than a passing resemblance to what a writer is likely to have imagined at the beginning of the process.

Okay, I’ve told you briefly a few ways how and why it’s likely different than most would expect, but there’s still the question—what does it feel like?

Ask me tomorrow.  Today, I’m just going to enjoy it.

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