Endings. Oh, endings. You have upset me for as long as I can remember, an issue I have discussed before.
That post was written before I had a child, and now, I fear my “ending anxiety” will only get worse. Already, I look back at photos of my now four-and-a-half-month-old son in his first week and get misty. “He’s growing up so fast,” I think. “Before I know it, he won’t be a baby anymore.” And then I get choked up and blot my eyes with his burp cloth and blame my hormones. (It is the hormones, right?)
A lot of authors joke that launching a book is a lot like bringing a baby into the world. Since my debut came out in February and I gave birth in March, I’m somewhat of an authority on that topic. My opinion? The analogy is dead on — and that includes the misty-eyed nostalgia mentioned above.
When you launch a book, there is a lot of excitement and buzz and craziness, and the experience is thrilling, exhausting, stressful, and wonderful all at once — much like the early days of dealing with a newborn.
But then life starts to hit a more even keel. You’re still exhausted, but some of that initial excitement has faded away, and soon it’s just…life. You’ve written a book, and it’s still out there, and you still get a thrill seeing it on a bookshelf or hearing from a reader who enjoyed it (much as you still get a thrill when your baby screeches with laughter). But just as you aren’t reading What to Expect the First Year every hour to make sure your son’s drooling is normal, you also aren’t checking Amazon and Goodreads every ten minutes to see if you have any new reviews or what your Amazon ranking is. You still check — just as you still consult the baby books — but you don’t do it nearly as often.
So now, nearly six months after my book came out in the US, I get a bit wistful when I think back to my launch in February. You only get one shot to launch a debut, and that was mine. Are there things I would have done differently? Absolutely. Am I still proud of the book I launched? You bet. Am I sad my book is no longer a “newborn”? Yeah, I guess I am a little.
But here’s what’s great about books: they live forever. No matter how old my book gets, as long as there is someone to read it, the story endures. So I don’t have to get teary over my book’s early days because now that it’s out in the world, that never has to end.