My book baby is over a month old now. Because I’ve been a part of Emu’s Debuts for quite a while, I knew that launching my debut novel wasn’t going to be like crossing a finish line, but more like crossing a threshold out of a now-slightly-familiar maze named I HOPE I GET TO PUBLISH THIS into a new maze, named something like HOLY COW, MY BOOK IS OUT IN THE WORLD AND I SURE HOPE PEOPLE LIKE IT.
As I explore the first twists and turns of this fresh jumble of experiences, please let me share some things I’ve discovered:
- I am grateful twelve ways to Sunday to have a group of fellow authors with whom to share this experience. I not only have my Emu Team, but also a big ol’ Facebook group of 2018 YA and MG debut authors called the Electric Eighteens. I can’t recommend it enough. Future debuters: do whatever you have to do to find an Author Friend Tribe. Shared worries get lessened, shared joy gets increased. And they’ll send you plenty of pictures of your book out on shelves in the wild. (This never gets old.)
- How many people buy and enjoy my book is not my control. Very little about anything at this point is under my control. (This is the same lesson I re-learn over and over again as a parent.) I did everything I could to get my book ready for readers. Now readers get their turn with it.
- If I’m wrong and it turns out that how many people buy and enjoy my book IS in some way under my control, it better not depend on how breezy and fabulous and well-connected I am at posting things on social media. But does it? Might it? This thought wakes me up in the night and makes me feel small and sort of stabby.
- Hanging out with kids and talking to them about books is THE BEST. Launching my book means I get to stop talking only to grown-ups about my book. Kids are excited for you, they are excited by books, they are excited by so many of the tiny good things in life.
- Reviews are for readers, not for writers.
- Even if I tell my dad very firmly that reviews are for readers, not for writers and that I don’t want to know what my reviews say on Goodreads or Amazon, he will insist on telling me about them, even writing down the lousy troll-written ones to read out loud to me when I stop by for dinner. He wants to assure me how clueless these reviewers are and pick apart their criticisms one by one, not realizing I’ll be hearing those criticisms replaying inside my head in the middle of the night while I’m also worrying about my social media skills. My midnight mind isn’t always my friend in these matters.
- I can’t hold anything against my dad because he is undoubtedly a force for good. He goes to our two local bookstores and stands near my book, loudly exclaiming to anyone within range, “Oh boy, they have that bicycle book here! This is one of the best books ever written! Have you read this yet?” He checks on the display at Costco nearly every day, counting up how many have sold, making sure my books don’t get covered by any towering piles of James Patterson hardcovers by accident. He’s hand-sold my book to practically everyone he knows and a bunch of people he doesn’t, like the lady who took his prescription order at Express Scripts yesterday.
So. Holy cow, my book is out in the world now, and sure hope people like it. Let’s see where this next turn of the maze leads…
Author Christina Uss wants you to know that she likes you and appreciates you even if she doesn’t know how to properly answer you on Twitter or Facebook. If you meet her dad at Costco, please tell him you’ll buy a copy of her book, The Adventures of a Girl Called Bicycle, because it’ll make him really happy.