Tuesday, April 12, 2011

The Deafening Silence...

Can you hear it? That whoop of victory that lessens to a dull roar that slowly fades to a faint buzz, and then...nothing.
It's the deafening silence.
And I'm hearing it.

If I had to label my feelings right now, I'd say the honeymoon is over.
The anticipation, the hype, the excitement of finally having my book release has died down, and I'm left sitting alone with my thoughts. Not always a good thing.
It's kind of like Christmas morning. You know how it was as a kid - you longed for it. Made your list. Couldn't wait to see what you'd get. And then in the space of an hour the floor is covered with bright-colored wrapping paper, you've whooped and hollered and shown your presents to everyone, and it's all over.

Now what? That's what I'm asking myself right now. I've never sailed these particular waters and I don't know how to navigate them. Is it normal to wonder how my book is doing? I'm getting a bit of feedback, but not much. Most of it's good, with the occasional nonchalant remark here and there. That's okay. I've already discussed not being able to please all of the people all of the time, so if somebody doesn't really jibe with the story, oh well. At least they read it.

I'm trying to figure out what I'm feeling.

This isn't to say I expected the book to rocket up the list until it hit the NYTimes Bestseller List - that only happens in my dreams - but, you know, in the lull it's easy to wonder what's going on out there. Who's reading it? Anybody? Nobody?
I can drive myself insane with this, I realize that - checking Amazon, trying to come up with fresh ideas to get the word out. Maybe I'm not looking at it the right way at all. It's possible that in my angst of what the coming months will bring, I'm forgetting about what's happening in the moment.

I have two local radio slots scheduled this week. That's great, but it makes me very nervous. I'm just praising the Lord that it's not television. I also have my first local book signing on Saturday. Again, really cool, but nerves are hitting me hard. Silly, considering I'll probably know half the people that show up. But what if nobody does?
See what I mean? It's a crazy thing.
I've got a blog tour scheduled on May 2, so I know things will probably pick up after that. One thing I'm learning post publication is that there will always be something that will drive me nuts.
If I let it.

I'm trying to continue to write as normal, hoping eventually I'll get over this whatever it is!
I'm getting toward the end of a manuscript I've been working on for a really long time. It's taken forever to carve out these characters, figure out the plot and see if it works. I just want it to be done so I can focus on really polishing it up. So I'm trying to fix my thoughts on other things, better things. Things I can actually do something about.
Some days I do this better than others. Today I'm feeling a little out of sorts.
Got any encouragement for me?


Laura Josephsen said...

I think that's totally normal. I'm over six months out of publication and there have still been moments of "Is anyone reading this? What are we doing? What should we be doing? Are we missing something?" and so on and so forth. And it's not like this is our only project! Faith and I are only writing one series together; we also write books on our own. I've been writing a novel on my own for the past year, Faith has been rewriting one of hers. Plus, we were trying to get through writing book 4 in our series. We got to the point a couple of weeks ago where we both felt burned out and stressed out with everything going on. We talked to each other and decided to breathe, take a step back, and take a reading break.

I have to tell you that this is one of the best things we could have done. I have read four books in the past week or so. I have a giant stack on my bookshelf waiting to be read. It has been refreshing my brain and I needed that. I already feel the itch to get back to one of my in progress projects, but I'm ignoring it because I know I'm not ready yet. So more reading is ahead for me!

I think it comes down to trying to find a balance, and it is hard. There will always be something to ask yourself regarding what you could/should be doing with your book. There will always be another project to work on--I have multiple projects going on at once. There will be waiting for the next book to be published (OakTara has contracted/is contracting three more of my books. Two of them from the series Faith and I are writing, and one of them that I wrote by myself.) So there's always going to be something--it's part of this writing/publishing journey. Sometimes there's a huge push and lots of action as you're going through one part of it, and then nothing. Just a lot of quiet and waiting and wondering. Then suddenly more action! More to do, more to write, more to edit.

I don't know if there's a perfect answer, but maybe on those days when you're feeling overwhelmed you can just take a deep breath, step back, and do something that doesn't relate to your writing. Something that relaxes you and puts your mind on something else.

Amber S. said...

I haven't yet experienced this, but I can certainly imagine what it would feel like--the Christmas morning analogy fits really well, I think. I'm so sorry you're feeling this way!

I have a few encouragements for you. :)

1. I have your book sitting on my desk right now and I'm eager to dive in! :) We could do an interview or something (to go along with the review) on my blog if you wanted in order to help spread the word!

2. I think really diving into your next project will be a big help--getting excited and involved in the next journey. :) And then there's always the story after that, and the story after that...

3. Have you ever seen the movie Meet the Robinsons? (What can I say? I love Disney movies!) If you haven't, here's the main theme:

"Keep moving forward." :)

God knows exactly who needs to read your book, and even if just a few people are blessed by it and reminded of God's love, then it's enough. :) But don't worry--I'm sure there are more than a few people!! After Renee's pre-review on Goodreads, I think she's got a lot of people intrigued!

God bless!


Heidi Willis said...

There is a sense of "Mountain High" when your book releases, but like everything in life, you can't live there. The great thing is, there will be other mountains that come along.

Your first book signing will be one. I was scared to death about my first one as well, and it turned out to be one of the most extraordinary days of my life. People are very gentle, and strangely intimidated by authors. You'll find yourself trying to reassure them you are just a person too. :)

As for the rest of the time... it may settle into something less of a high, but it will never be the same. When the random blog review goes up, when a reader email shows up, when you see your book hit some milestone you never expected (Mine hit the top 10 of Amazon's Medical thriller list once, between Crichton and P. Cornwell, which was SO surreal, and very cool considering it's a Christian book!). You'll come to find those things are enough.

And keep writing. You'll find people always asking, "When's your next book coming out? What are you writing about now?" If you have an answer - at least to the last question - it will make you excited about the new possibilities too. :)

Catherine West said...

Oh, good! I feel better now!! I actually do have another book under consideration at the moment and I'm kind of hoping it takes a while to hear back because I'm still getting used to this whole being published thing!! I'm not meaning to complain at all so I hope it doesn't sound like I am! Just feeling my way...!!

Miriam Forster said...

IMO, there will always be things to obsess over. I think you're smart to focus on what you can control--the writing--and try to let go of the rest.

My go-to solution for any kind of writer angst is to write another book. More books=less pressure. :)

Rosslyn Elliott said...

Cathy, I love Laura's suggestions!

I have had to take a little break, myself, over the past week, and I haven't even released yet. I think reading is a wonderful remedy for both an overstimulated spirit and a fatigued one.

Loree Huebner said...

I just ordered your book from Amazon. How's that for encouragement?!?!

It should be here by Monday at the latest. I'm excited to read it!

You know, your feelings are normal. Don't be afraid...it's all good...really.

Catherine West said...

Thanks, Loree!! Hope you enjoy it! I think this ride is one that we just have to take day by day! Today I am taking books to our local bookstore, so that is exciting!!

Lindi said...

I think what you are feeling is perfectly normal. In as much as the whole 'publishing' aspect is a dream come true, it's a lot of hard work, highs, lows, and everything in between.
They say word of mouth is the best advertising. And I've been wording of mouth your book! It's great!