In case you missed it, From Under the Mountain is now officially published.
Now, I’ve published stuff before. But this is different. The “Web” novellas, as much as I love them, have been about exploration and experimentation with writing, publishing, marketing, the whole shebang. Mountain is better, more…permanent. And because it’s better, because this is my traditional publishing debut, my debut novel, the stakes–and the stress–feel higher.
Between the release on Tuesday and the launch party/fashion show on Saturday, this week has required a lot of personal pep-talking. I thought I’d share some of the dos and don’ts of which I’ve reminded myself this week.
DO be proud.
One thing I’ve had trouble with this week is expressing my excitement as easily as my friends and family. They see me and they grin and they congratulate me and my awkwardness increases exponentially and I don’t know what to do or say. It’s been easier online, but still, there’s a feeling like any minute now, someone is going to call me a fraud, or everyone will start reading and completely hate it, or the Gatekeepers will storm my apartment and revoke my author privileges.
This feeling is unfounded. I am proud of my novel. I think it’s a good one, well written and well edited and well produced, and I think people will like it. And even if I turn all mumbly and weird when people express their congratulations, inside I am reminding myself that I have done a good job.
DON’T focus on bad reviews.
People, readers, are not a monolith. Bad reviews from individual reviewers are not portents of utter ruination. I have disliked many a book in my time and written reviews to that effect, because my relationship is with the book and not the author. That’s my prerogative as a reader, and every reader has that right.
Keeping my own reading self in mind helps put reviews into perspective, as does remembering that one person’s dislike of a book generally doesn’t undermine another person’s appreciation of it. Occasionally, I’ll check out the low-star reviews of a book I loved. Sometimes I learn something, most times I won’t. Because reviews are subjective, they rarely change my mind about the book.
I’ll probably read reviews of From Under the Mountain periodically, and I expect the bad ones will upset me. But then I’ll remember that I love this book, and move on.
DO set up some kind of “I don’t suck” folder.
I’ve heard this advice from other authors before, and I’m adding my voice to all those who have said it’s a good idea. It’s easy to say we can ignore or get over bad reviews, but even the best of us will succumb to Imposter Syndrome at some point, and having depression only adds to the problem.
So, I’ve started taking screenshots of positive reviews, excited tweets, anything that reassures me and makes me happy about Mountain; I’ll stick them all together in a nice little “People like what you write sometimes” gallery for when I’m struggling.
DON’T forget to eat something.
I have felt absolutely glued to my phone and computer this week, between social media and the planning for the launch party. That, plus a lot of running around, has meant more than a few skipped meals and as a result, a hangry author.
Set reminder alarms. Instruct a trusted person to nag and/or feed you. Whatever works. Just remember to eat.
And on that note…*stomach grumbles*