True story. I came back from an overnight at my daughter’s summer camp, sat down at the computer, wondered, “Hmmm… better write Monday’s Deb Ball post. Wonder what the topic is?” Then I clicked on the page and realized…
I’m the topic!!!
Originally, when we realized Tawna and I debuted on the same day, I volunteered to have Populazzi take the week before launch. Launch week is a big deal, but I’ve always heard that online retailers pay close attention to the week before launch week too, so I was more than happy to take this week at the Ball.
Then a funny thing happened on the way to launch day.
The book launched without me.
It didn’t really — with the exception of tomes with the words “Harry Potter” in the title, books don’t launch like movies. They ship out from the warehouse when they’re ready, and once they’re at the store, or the online retailer, they’re put on the shelves or sent out to customers. So on July 20th, Populazzi started arriving on Amazon.com pre-orderers’ doorsteps, and the “Pre-Order” button became simply “Add to Cart.” Barnes and Noble online followed suit a couple days later, and a day after that, a Twitter friend told me the book was already on the shelves of her local store.
What did I do when I heard the ridiculously exciting news that my very first novel was out there in the world?
I pretty much turned into a Cathy comic.
“AAACK! I haven’t done enough promotion yet!”
“AAACK! What if nobody buys it?”
“AAACK! The next few days will determine the course of my entire career as an author!”
“AAACK! AAACK! AAACK!”
Yeah… it was a lot of that.
Last week I talked about my dysfunctional brain, which flip-flops between delusions of grandeur and self-loathing dreams of doom. I lived up to that dysfunction by building up all kinds of expectations for what I had to achieve by debut day for me to consider it a success. When the warehouses prematurely ejaculated Populazzi into the world (sorry — couldn’t help it), I was suddenly smacked in the face with those expectations I hadn’t yet met. And every time people congratulated me on the book’s release, or said, “You must be so excited!” I’d say yes and mean it, but a little voice would trill in the back of my head, “I’m excited, but…” as the litany of self-erected hurdles (yup, did it again) I hadn’t cleared filled my brain.
Then I took my daughter to the Santa Monica pier. She just discovered she’s no longer afraid of big-kid rides, and was dying to try the Pacific Park roller coaster. They pump music all over the place there, and while we were waiting in line, I heard one of my least favorite songs in the world: Aerosmith’s “I Don’t Want to Miss a Thing.”
I mean, really — I love Aerosmith like crazy, but that song? Total cheese fest.
Yet much to my dismay, that load of Limburger triggered an epiphany.
My debut novel is out there in the world. This is a dream come true, a once-in-a-lifetime experience… and if I let my head stay muddled with neurotic insanity, I’ll miss it. And cheesy or not… I don’t want to miss a thing.
Since then I’ve been much saner. I won’t lie — I check the Amazon rankings, I Google “Elise Allen Populazzi,” I study the Google Analytics for my website… but I don’t freak out about the results.
More importantly, I’m letting the great stuff truly sink in, and there’s a lot of great stuff. The positive feedback I’ve gotten from bloggers, writers I admire, and other early readers makes me jump around the room and dance like a maniac. Writing a story is wonderful, having it published is exhilarating, but it’s only when other people read the book that it really comes to life. Every single time I hear from someone who read and loved Populazzi, I get a rush that’s even better than stand-up paddleboarding… and you all know I’m obsessed with stand-up paddleboarding.
This has already been a phenomenal journey, and in the mad rush towards publication I forgot that pub day isn’t the end of the race, it’s just another mile marker in an absolutely incredible marathon. My head’s in the right place now, which means I can not only enjoy the hell out of every minute, but I can also go back to listening to real Aerosmith songs.
Thanks so much to my fellow Debs and to all of you for your support throughout the year! And if you haven’t bought a copy of Populazzi and would like to, Barnes and Noble and Amazon are selling it online for just $10. And at last check on Amazon, “Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought” Making Waves by Deb Tawna, The Weird Sisters by Deb Eleanor, and Skipping a Beat by former Deb Sarah Pekkanen. Sharing an Amazon page with those three amazing women? Now that’s seriously something I would not want to miss.