Monday, July 8, 2013

Life Post-Debut.

Tomorrow will be 7 weeks since TRANSPARENT came out. I can't believe it's been that long already, and yet at the same times it feels like forever ago that I was stressing over that very special day when I officially became a published author.

It's all just...weird.

I mean, for the most part it's just the same as it was before. I am still working on the same projects. I still  live in the same place and have the same kids and life. I still struggle with my confidence more than I like. Pretty much everything is the same, save for the fact that anyone can go and purchase my words if they so choose.

But things have changed, too. In little ways. Mostly I've noticed people in my non-writer life treat me differently. People will most often ask me about how my book is doing right off the bat. This is a question I still haven't found the right answer to, and I kind of dread it.

Because I don't know how my book is doing. In fact, I'm too scared to search out any kind of "signs" that it is or isn't selling. "Scared" might be too light of a word—I'm really quite terrified. I hate failing more than anything, and if TRANSPARENT isn't "meeting expectations" I honestly don't know how I'll take that. So I have made a concerted effort to stay in blissful ignorance. I know it can't last forever, but I'm delaying that particular reality for as long as possible.

The other question that scares me is, "What's next? What are you working on now?" I get this one more than ever these days, and I also have no real answers. Because even if I do say what I'm working on, that doesn't mean it will SELL. And I certainly don't want to get people excited about a project that may never see the light of day. I've done that before (hello, Relax, I'm A Ninja). It sucks.

And then there's the new comments like "How's the famous author doing?" or some variation, that kind of blow my mind while also making me squirm. How in the world am I supposed to answer that?

I think what's hardest for me to accept right now is that other people see me as a Real Live Author. This sounds ridiculous, I'm sure, but I'm still trying to get used to the idea myself. I keep thinking at some point it will feel real, and even now that it's here sometimes it still feels like a dream. So when I see other people treating me as official it totally freaks me out.

It's all so new, this author thing.

And this isn't to say that it's been bad or that I in anyway regret publishing my book, but I have been surprised by my own emotions through the whole process. Even now post-debut I am still surprising myself in how I feel about everything. I'm often confused about how I think I should be feeling versus how I actually feel.

I hope in a few months time I'll be better able to understand what I'm feeling, so that I can express it better. For now I'm just calling it Post-Debut Stress and praying it fades soon.


  1. I finished Transparent in a matter of hours. I LOVED it! I've been recommending it left and right! =)

  2. Wow, I can't believe it's been 7 weeks already--time flies!

  3. Thanks for sharing your feelings, and letting us see behind the scenes. It's easy to imagine that life after publishing is all rainbows and fairy dust, but as everything, you never really know what it'll be like until you experience it. I hope your recovery from PDS is painless. =)

  4. It must be hard enough for any writer post publication, but if you suffer from anxiety, it must be a million times worse. Makes you even braver for choosing to follow your dream to be a writer. Don't forget that.

  5. "The problems of failure are hard. The problems of success are harder, because no one ever warns you about them."
    -Neil Gaiman

  6. Aww. Mine hasn't faded yet, but I've found better ways of coping with it than I had before. I've also found ways I'm comfortable answering all those questions. What I get almost more than anything now is "are you working on a book?" and my answer is always an enthusiastic "yep! I'm always working on a book" and then I'll laugh because what I've found more than anything is readers and fans and friends and family never react well when I sound upset about my writing career. And honestly, I never want to get into it with anyone outside fo few close people who I know will understand. It's just not worth the energy to try to explain to anyone else, so I've quit trying, and I just smile and say everything is unicorns and cupcakes because that's what most people want to hear, I've found. Yeah, I'm a bowl of sunshine, aren't I?

  7. I think when non-writers ask questions like what you'd mentioned, that might be their way of showing interest in what you're doing. But because these questions seem to be about your assessment of your progress, or your book's progress, I can see how you'd feel like you're being put on the spot.

    As an unpublished author, I still don't know how to respond when non-writers ask me how come I'm not published yet.

  8. When people ask you if how the famous-author-thing is going, you should say, "Great. I'm awesome." Because it's true. And you are. ;)

  9. I have to agree with the others who suggested making up some stock answers to questions you get a lot. That way you don't have to get stressed out in the moment. Or maybe just tell them to read your blog to see what you're working on? :)

    Plus remember how awesome you are. Whenever real life tries to be all dreary, just be like, this random person on the internet said I'm a super fantastic writer SO IT MUST BE TRUE.

    I have sort of the opposite problem. I've loved the journey of self-publishing my book, and it's easily the most fun thing I've ever done. But it does mean that the non-writers in my life tend to act like I'm not a "real" author. On the good days when I'm having a blast and chatting with all the great people this path has led me to, I know it's worth it. On the bad days when I'm stressed out and feeling overwhelmed by the amount of work I have to do, well, I remind myself of all the good things and keep going.

    I guess no matter what kind of writer you are, we all share one thing in common. We have to get the writing done. :)

  10. I gotta say this was really interesting to read. I mean I never thought about what it would be like post-publishing because I'm so used to not being published. Congrats on 7 weeks by the way! That's so exciting. I bet it'll get better in time. You're bound to get used to it. Very interesting post though. Thanks for sharing!


  11. I've been there, Natalie. Book writing is so different. Everyone wants measurable results, which you sometimes don't have. It's all a waiting game. But the post-debut stress will pass.