Thoughts on my book release. Plus a funny GIF.
Thursday, June 04, 2015
This week has made me feel all the feels.
Releasing a book is kind of like getting married: no one is quite as excited about it as you are. Sure, people care. And they're happy for your happiness. But this is your thing, not theirs.
At least that's what I thought before I actually released a book.
I've been walking through this week feeling naked more than anything. And slightly like an imposter. Surely at some point someone is going to jump out from behind a bush and declare, "She's not wearing any clothes! This whole thing is a set-up!" And the masses will feel duped because they believed I was a writer.
But then I hold this beautiful 5x8 bundle of pages against my chest and realize it actually happened. I actually wrote this. And, what's more, people are reading it.
Even better, readers actually like it.
I've been receiving messages from people I went to high school with telling me how excited they are about this story. And people I haven't seen in years have messaged me screenshots of their Amazon order page. It's no surprise that my closest friends are happy for me. And I love LOVE them for that. But when strangers are calling your book "Powerful. Daring. Courageous." and leaving GIFs like THIS
on their reviews (Thanks, Jen.) I can't help but feel a little...validated.
I told my husband last night that the reception for The Best Kept Secret has been what I always dreamed it would be, but not what I expected. I've been rejected so many times as a writer. More times than I can count. I've been rejected as a person, too. Haven't we all? And I know, at some point, someone will seriously dislike my book. They might even hate it. And I'm okay with that. I'm not looking forward to that moment, by any means. But it comes with the territory. Being rejected is a part of taking risks. It's a part of putting yourself - and your work - out into public territory.
Honestly, though, I thought the one-star reviews would come sooner.
Not because I don't believe in my book, but because I tend towards pessimism in more ways than I like to admit. I hate conflict. I'm a perfectionist. I'm also probably (*cough definitely cough*) a control freak. And these personality traits lend themselves to a worldview that often hovers on negative. And because I'm a perfectionist, I get angry at myself for feeling that way.
But then I remember that a healthy dose of reality (I'm currently working to make it more healthy, anyway) keeps things in perspective. It makes those four and five star reviews all the more precious.
I shared in a recent guest post that if I don't write, I end up feeling like a Peep in the microwave. Explosive. Not in a psychological sense. Just in the way that big feelers often do when they have no outlet for expression. I cry almost daily, for a wide variety of reasons. Because I'm feeling anxious. Because Lucy just gave me a great, big hug. Because families have been crammed together on boats out on the Indian Ocean for weeks. And I write. It's how I process. Sometimes I cry when I write. It's like getting a two-for-one therapy session. That's what art is, and it's why art has survived for thousands of years and will continue to survive for even more. We need it, all of it - the dancing, the music, the Sistine Chapel, and the bookstores, too - because it reminds us that everyone is facing something. We're all carrying a weight. And when we carry it together, we share both the burden and the victory. There's nothing sweeter than that.
I'm proud of The Best Kept Secret. I'm proud of it whether readers like it or not. Ratings won't change that. But the fact that it has been so well received, thus far, gives me hope that the things I write are more than just an outlet for expression. They're bridges. And because of this book, I get to connect with people in a way I never have before.
For me, it's the very definition of success. And I couldn't be more grateful.