After the Prom

I’m still in the edit cave on Stormdancer 2 atm, but it’s been weeks since I posted anything bloggish, and up with this slackness I will not put.
So. I’m going to tell you a secret today, my friends, which for some reason is often spoken about in author circles but seldom mentioned publicly. Maybe because everyone who gets published feels lucky as this penguin to be here, and nobody wants to be seen talking about anything that could be perceived as less than awesome stuff. But fuck that noise. We (in the royal sense) are nothing if not Real® here. Gather ye ‘round and lend me thine ears.
Launching a book is a lot like getting high.
Sherlockians among you may deduce from this statement that I have, at some point in my life, been under the effects of consciousness-evolving substances. While I’ve not done anything as flaky as necking a bottle of cobra juice, yes, I did once spend nearly two hours in a 7-11 telepathically communing with the hot dog machine (he was a nice chap). Admitting this fact probably drastically limits my chances of ever being elected PM of my country, but when I take this joint, it’ll be at the controls of a 70 foot tall death-spewing robot dinosaur with flames painted up the sides, not a poll booth. Consider yourselves all on notice, bitches.
But yes, launching a book is kinda like being on drugs. It starts with an initial spike of excitement, a rush in that moment when you realize this is actually happening –  that this Book Thing you’ve been sweatshopping on like some pantsless organ grinder monkey for the past two years is actually going to hit shelves soon. It will be real. People will be able to pick it up and read it and love it and holy shiiiiiit that’s more exciting than being Kate Beckinsale’s thong.
Then, if you’ve done your PR right, or if you’re lucky enough to have a PR crew working for you, awesome will be raining from the sky like all the confetti I threw when I discovered JJ Abrams would not be fucking up the new Star Wars film. You’ll have about a thousand interviews to do – radio shows, and podcasts and blogs and vlogs and guest appearances at hoedowns and baptisms. Your days will filled to the tonsils with it – every waking minute will be spent in the company of people who want to know all about you and this Book Thing you did. You’ll take photos with babies and make ringing endorsements of battery operated marital aids. Your book launch will be this huge party with signings and all your friends and All The Booze and yes Damien, it’s all for youuuuu. The President of the United States will be photographed reading your book, people you haven’t heard from in years will call you up and be all like “duuuuuuuuuuude, you wrote a booooooook, I’ve got this awesome bottle of cobra juice, you wanna come over and drink some” and your parents will finally admit that yes, you are their favorite and your other siblings a mere shadows in the cornea-frying light of your awesome.
It’s exhausting and intoxicating and relentless.
And then? It all kinda… stops.
The awesome still happens, of course. It’s not like you’ve pulled a Carrie White, all glittery and prom-queeny for a brief shining moment of pure happy and then OH MY GOD THE PIG’S BLOOD. If you’re lucky, you get folks mailing you stuff and making you stuff. You get strangers from countries you’ve never visited taking the time to tell you your book made them cry or that it was their favorite read of the year and that’s all still 100% Kate Beckinsale Thong territory, no mistake. But the intensity – that all-consuming, hundred-mile-an-hour high of the month before your launch isn’t there anymore. The bloggers who wanted to know all about you are now finding all about the next author. Your PR crew are working with the next gal/guy. Your book is OUT, and folks can go buy it. Much of the attention that was focused on you is now elsewhere. Things are quieter. You need to sleep. Your skin is itchy. You wonder if you really did stand on a table at your launch and proclaim yourself The Second Coming of Christ, or if you just imagined it. And did you have a two hour conversation with a hot dog machine?
You know this feeling. You’ve felt it before.
You. Are. Coming. Down.
This happens to everyone – like a Tom Baker vs David Tennant debate when more than four geeks find themselves in close proximity (Tennant, lol), it’s unavoidable. I’ve noticed a lot of folks in my 2012 debut author group are talking about the comedown recently. And it’s not necessarily a bad thing, it simply is. With luck, you’ll have plenty to occupy yourself in the post launch hangover (recuperating from the bar-tab tally induced cardiac arrest, apologizing to all the religious groups you offended during your messianic fit, or hey… writing your next book). But at the very least, as I told a few of my author buddies, you have the following knowledge to stave off the post-high crash:
You wrote a book. Not only that, but in a post-Amazon world of Penguin Houses and Schuster-Collins you got it published. You took an idea and a blank page and you made something you can hold in your hand, something that people can read and absorb and love. No matter what else this ride might throw at you, you did that.
And THAT, my friend, is pretty fucking cool.
The Comedown is natural. The Comedown is necessary. But when the Comedown passes – as it inevitably will – the book you made will remain. So cheer up. Your life is kinda awesome.
Righto, that’s it. Back to the edit cave.

13 Responses to “After the Prom”

  1. Tygenco says:

    Your last bit about the Comedown… it reminds me of this:
    I must not fear.
    Fear is the mind-killer.
    Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration.
    I will face my fear.
    I will permit it to pass over me and through me.
    And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path.
    Where the fear has gone there will be nothing.
    Only I will remain.
    Except it’s about the book. Replace words if/where necessary.
    Also, will you be doing a contest again for ARCs when you have them next?

  2. bwtaylor75 says:

    I kind of suspected this. It seems logical to me. Hopefully I’ll experience this someday and talk about it with first hand knowledge. As unpublihsed writers, we sometimes forget that when we get published, publishers are always going to want more. Where’s the next book? And the next, and the next. The publishing machine won’t stop because we drank too much and need to hang our head out the window and spew, or celebrate our first book. While we should never diminish our accomplishments (and publishing anything is a great accomplishment), we should be aware of what we want out of the publishing process. I’d like a meaningful career and I suspect it to be hard work, neverending work. You know better than me. But I’ve prepared myself for this for when my moment comes. I don’t wanna spew on any pretty ladies.
    Great post. I hope many up and coming writers read and understand it. And prepare for the impending giant robot dinosaur destruction. Oh, and Kate Beckinsale’s thing. 🙂

  3. i think it would be quite damp and sweaty being kate beckinsale’s thong, but that’s just me…and why laugh at tennant? i, mean, baker was my first doctor but tennant has his merits.

  4. Completely agree with you. Writing can be a wonderful journey and being published and doing well like you have but be very rewarding and mind blowing.

  5. And there’s also those people that rushed out to buy your book and put it on their TBR pile, which grows larger and larger and falls over so you have to make a new pile with the ones that fell off and then they get mixed up so you don’t know what order you bought them and suddenly you’re reminded about STORMDANCER in a posting by the author himself and you say to yourself, WHERE IS THAT BOOK? as you try to read the spines of ALL THOSE BOOKS that are now in many stacks. THOSE people will eventually read your book and comment profusely on teh interwebs, thus keeping the conversation and awareness of the book going. Mini buzzes for your head!

    • Ha, I sympathize with the TBR pile. I totally believe once mine reaches a certain mass, it’ll attain sentience and start shambling around the room, demanding to be read.

  6. Pabkins says:

    Don’t worry Jay, Some of us will always stalk you, eating up any vile crazy you spew from your fingertips. Course I can’t also help but wonder what thou would look like covered in pigs blood. If you’re too squeamish I’m sure your dog would volunteer. Now back into your cage and get on with book 2!

  7. Pabkins says:

    I think your blog just ate my first comment. I must destroy it now. I’ll sleep on the matter and stalk thou again tomorrow. In the meantime…pigs blood yes…

  8. Beck says:

    Duuuuuuuuuuude, you wrote a booooooook, I’ve got this awesome bottle of cobra juice, you wanna come over and drink some?
    Chris showed me your book in Kinokuniya today and I was very excited for you 😀 Congratulations! Hope you and yours are well – long time no speak.
    -Beck x

    • Holy SHIT, Beck Longbottom! Talk about blast from the past. How you doing, girl? Are you going back tot eh breeding pit for xmas? We should totally do beers n stuff.

      • Beck says:

        You what up J! Am so excited about your book, and can’t wait to hear all about it.
        I’m not going to be in Perth this xmas, if that place is indeed a breeding pit. Where do you live? I’m in Syd-vegas in these modern times, and would LOVE to do beers…. it’s just about arranging an appropriate city…
        Oooh and my email address –

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