But still I read reviews with my eyes squinched, half-closed so I can shut it down if there's a snarky (and probably valid, sadly) remark about me or my lovely characters or my clever plot. You'd think with this being my 9th novel I'd have gotten over it.
And because misery loves company, I was telling Jacqueline Winspear (whose 11th Maisie Dobbs mystery, "A Dangerous Place," debuted last week; USA Today ran a glowing review), how nervous I was, expecting her to be all lah-dee-dah and tell me that yes, it does get better.
But no. She said she dreads these before-launch days as much if not more than me. I found this oddly reassuring.
So, dear Reds, does pre-launch give you the jitters? Or is it just an exciting version of "anything can happen days?" And while we're at it, what's your cure for nausea and insomnia?
LUCY BURDETTE: First of all, we can't wait for pub day so everyone can read this great book!
I kind of like the pre-launch days because anything is possible. To me the more stressful time is launch week itself--waiting for those reviews to hit and watching the silly numbers--which truly don't mean much because we don't have access to the whole picture.
But I can't imagine that any writer has a thick enough skin so that they aren't nervous...wouldn't that mean you hadn't put everything you had into it?
RHYS BOWEN: Having had a book out three weeks ago and having returned home from an exhausting three days in Southern Cal last night I'm still in full launch jitters mode. Really manic, swinging between elation and despair.
I saw who had a new book out on the same day and resigned myselt to not making the New York Times list with this book. Then I found that the Huffington Post had done a feature on the seven most suspenseful new books and I was one of them!
So ups and downs. Knowing I shouldn't read reviews, especially Amazon, but doing it anyway. The thrill of seeing my new book on the shelf in one store and the agony of defeat when a Barnes and Noble has never heard of it.
I'm trying to learn never to expect too much and being pleasantly surprised by the good things. But I haven't learned it yet. Probably never will.
So Hallie, enjoy every moment. Tell yourself that you are luckier than several zillion writers who are dying to have a book published or who have self-published it but nobody will ever know about it. You're in the top tier, the tip of the pyramid. It will be a brilliant success!
HALLIE: As a wise woman once said... well, what you just said, Rhys. And congratulations on the Huff Post call out! Wow!!
DEBORAH CROMBIE: Hallie, I'm excited about your book launch for you!! And I have no doubt that reviewers AND readers will love it. It's a great book.
That said, however, I sympathize with you. I try not to look at numbers (although for the first few days it's impossible not to...) I wish I had never heard of Amazon ranking. I dread reviews, even though over the course of sixteen books the good have certainly outnumbered the bad.
Still, there's always a first time, and THIS one could be the book that is a total flop, right? I try (and mostly succeed) not to read any reviews on Amazon. And I tell myself repeatedly that all I can do is write the best book I can, and then go on to the next one.
Cure for nausea and insomnia? Read a good book:-)
SUSAN ELIA MACNEAL: Oh, I was a mess at first — a total mess. But with each book, more things seemed to happen, both good and bad in so-called real life.
For my last book launch for THE PRIME MINISTER'S SECRET AGENT, I was in the hospital with Miss Edna — and, honestly, I really didn't care about reviews or really anything much at all besides her and my family. My book tour that summer was plagued with worries I'd have to fly home at a moment's notice for an emergency or worse.
Which all sounds pretty depressing — except that it give great perspective on the vicissitudes of this business. And I'm grateful for that.
HANK PHILLIPPI RYAN: Here's what I think. The only thing worse than prelaunch--is NO pre-launch. Right? AmIright?
So--easier said than done, I know--count your blessings, this is wonderful, your book is wonderful, this is it it IT, and the hard part is over (sort of, except the air travel and smiling)(but that can be wonderful), you've written it, it has a gorgeous cover and a gorgeous inside and everyone is going to clamor for it.
My cure for insomnia and nausea is ..um, well, nothing. I'd say shopping, but you don't do that and it doesn't work anyway, or wine, but that way lies madness and you can't drink during the day.
Really--how about simply TRY to be happy. Your stomach is hurting and you can't sleep because you are EXCITED! Yay.
(And you can do the same for me in October.)
HALLIE: I AM happy, because while I'm posting this I get a link to a review of my book in the Richmond Times-Dispatch. It's a rave, and ends with:
"So hooray for Hollywood, hooray for homicide, and hooray for Hallie Ephron, who begins with a seed of truth and grows it into a bumper crop of crime and cynicism."
That helps. In fact, it's probably the best antidote for this version of anxiety.
What do you do to keep quiet butterflies in your stomach and lull yourself into tranquility. I'm listening!