Unless you’ve stumbled upon this blog with no foreknowledge of me whatsoever, you know that I’ve written this little tome called Alabama Rain. (Little? It’s just shy of 100k words.)
But tomorrow is its release day. I’ve spent two years obsessing over it, shaping it, ripping it apart, crying over it, reworking it, walking away from it, and reacquainting myself with it…and tomorrow it’s available and no longer under my white-knuckled guard.
Be forewarned, this post might sound on the somber side, but it isn’t. It really isn’t.
I’m sitting here tonight wondering what this must be like for a traditionally published author. I think there’s more fanfare.
I tried to create a little of that hoopla for myself, but it didn’t pan out the way I’d hoped.
I realize that not every traditionally published author winds up in brick and mortar bookstores right away, or maybe they do but it’s a regional thing. But, I romanticize it. I imagine a traditionally published author tosses and turns the whole night before, just waiting for the morning. They get up, have a cup of coffee, maybe some dry toast if their nerves are shot, or eggs Benedict if they’ve got a steely constitution.
Then the traditionally published author might run into their local Barnes and Noble, meander the aisles, looking for their book. They spot it from a distance, and cross the room in such a manner that triumphant, cinematic scores should be rumbling from the speakers. They pick up their book, hug it close, and then march to the checkout counter where they purchase their own work and show the cashier their photo on the dust jacket.
This day would probably continue with a short road trip to two or three more stores, where they repeat this process until they stop for lunch and publicly read their own work, talking it up to anyone who will listen.
Maybe that’s how it happens. Maybe not.
My release day will be much different.
I’ll have trouble sleeping tonight because I’ll be worried about my first 1-star review. I’ll wake up at 5:00, drink a cup of coffee while I check to see if anyone saw fit to order my book, drink another cup of coffee while I realize I did not become an indie anomaly and find myself on the NYT Best-sellers list. Then, I’ll go to work and try to find time to check social media to see if there’s even the slightest buzz. I will eat lunch and skim over a copy of my own book. I will talk about it with anyone who listens. But, for the most part, release day for an indie is quiet.
And that’s okay.
Because I will come across dozens upon dozens of people tomorrow who will do most everything I will do tomorrow: wake too early, drink coffee, go to their job, have lunch, come home, make dinner, wash clothes, watch Netflix, go to bed, and repeat. But what those dozens upon dozens of people will not have done is write a book. They won’t have spent two years of their lives writing almost 100k words that have already proven to resonate with readers. Many of those people will have had some sort of creative endeavor they didn’t follow for this reason or that one. Many of them, and it pains me to say this, may not have even read a book in twenty years or more.
So, I can’t go to Barnes and Nobel and find my book on their shelves. (But I can find it on B&N’s website.) I don’t have an agent who will have it scheduled on their calendar to call me and congratulate me. But I have a book.
I have a book that makes me proud. And it’s all mine: ideas, words, formatting, cover. And I will treasure it always. That’s all the fanfare I expect.
That said, if you’d like to purchase a copy, I won’t be mad.