The other day I got a box in the mail.
It wasn't a surprise. I knew it was coming. Still, to see it there on my front porch got my heart stuttering. It was my book. Specifically, it was 30 Advance Review Copies of my forthcoming book Thin Space. The next day I would mail most of the books out to librarians and booksellers, teachers and blog reviewers, but for a few hours I had a grand old time taking pictures of the box and its contents and sticking the photos on Instagram whilst singing the words to "Look at this Instagram," the favorite fun song around our house these days. (Please click here for a laugh.)
I also enjoyed fanning the book at my face so I could suck in the scent of its bookish perfume, lining it up on my bookshelf just to see how it looked up there, and carrying it in my purse out to a celebratory dinner and placing it on the table as a centerpiece so my husband, teen daughter, her friend, and the confused waiter could gaze upon it and bask in its glory.
Then it was back to work. I'm in the middle of a revision of a revision of a revision of another book, something I "finished" before Christmas, and this week was the week I planned to read that manuscript and figure out what to do with it next.
I could hardly concentrate.
I keep thinking about my book, my book, winging its way out into the world via the postal service, heading towards people I know and people I don't know who will read it and like it. Or not like it. Some of them will say nice things, and I will wonder if they are just being kind. Some won't tell me anything and I will imagine that they hate the book and are just being kind.
I see the book on Amazon and I freak out. OMG! It's on Amazon! Or I notice it on Goodreads, and I freak further out. It's on Goodreads! People are adding it to their to-be-read lists. Holy freaking cow. I'm amazed. I'm proud. But in the next moment I'm crashing. The book I'm working on now is a mess. I don't even know because I can hardly read it. What if it's too terrible to rework? What if I can't fix it?
But, hey, I wrote a book! It's going to be published! Of course I can fix it. The dream is coming true and all of the pieces are falling into place. Next stop: best seller list and awards and film rights.
Don't kid yourself. That book was a fluke. Who says you can do it again? Reality is that it sinks like a stone and disappears into oblivion. Two months after the release there'll be a forgotten stack on the remainder table: For sale. $2.99.
Yeah. So that's just a snippet of my loony rollercoastery thoughts. The funny thing is that it's only January and the book won't officially be out until September. I've got to nip this ridiculous, potentially paralyzing anxiety in the bud.
Anyway, why do I even have any anxiety? The me of last year would smack the Me Now upside the head. Be happy, you goofball, I imagine Last Year's Me saying. Fall down on your knees and praise the publishing gods. It wouldn't hurt to take a chill pill too, and enjoy the ride.
I worked toward this dream for a very long time, so why not prance around the house sniffing my book for like, two minutes?
(My favorite pic: It's me taking a picture of The Box with my iPad while my biggest fan looks on adoringly)