Now that four months have passed since KILMOON published, I can look back with a smile. Oh, that wasn’t SO bad. Yeah, it was stressful, and my head felt like it was about to explode … But hey, I survived.
Apparently, I’m in the process of relegating Overwhelmed Author Syndrome (OAS) to a conveniently fuzzy memory almost as if I’d had a book baby epidural or something.
In this crazy debutante year (which is ending in a month, sniffle), I’ve met so many authors, and whether debuter or old-hand, all of us get crazed before publication. I thought I’d ask three debuting author buddies (I’m excited for them!) who are in the middle of their exploding heads and overwhelmed author syndromes about how well they are coping right now.
Stacy Allen, author of EXPEDITION INDIGO (Aug 18, 2014), the first in the Riley Cooper romantic suspense series, that #1 NYT bestseller Steve Berry says “tingles with heaping doses of adrenalin”!
I am drinking a lot of coffee! Seriously, one thing that I would do differently is find a place I can work from. Right now I have my dining room table covered with giveaway stuff, raffle baskets, etc. My kitchen island is covered with party invites, postcard mailing stuff, and ARCs with letters. We have gone out to eat two nights in a row (which is not my favorite thing), and I am having a hard time just keeping up with my house!
I am only doing what is ABSOLUTELY necessary – feeding the cat and making coffee. You can’t even see my kitchen sink. My house has never been filthier. You would be proud.
Hah! She says “you would be proud” because I’m so not Martha Stewart, but normally she is. Goes to show that in the midst of OAS, even those tasks we’re obsessive about go by the wayside for sanity’s sake!
Cynthia Lott, author of THE FEATHERS (Aug 15, 2014), a crime thriller suffused with the supernatural, that Bram Stoker Award winner Benjamin Kane Ethridge says is “equal parts addictive and dark”!
Yes, crazy is a good way of describing it. I had to take a break from OAS and marketing last weekend and spent the whole time with my boyfriend in Orlando … I didn’t want to even think about this book. HAH! But I couldn’t escape it and honestly felt a burst of renewed energy when at a wine store, the owner asked about my feather tattoo, and I told her about my debut novel. Her response was, “Oh wow. That’s the next book on my reading list.” That felt SO good. My feather tattoo is apparently a good marketing tool! I came back to Atlanta with renewed energy and my advice is this: Go at your own pace, don’t compare yourself to what other authors are doing, appreciate all the little steps you’re taking and always, always be gracious.
When it comes to coping mechanisms, she says: I have a glass of wine and watch shows on Antenna TV like Sanford & Son. Truly … it’s relaxing and gets my mind off of everything.
Ah, yes, booze. A recurring theme this week on The Ball. We can all agree on booze, right?
Cindy Brown, author of MACDEATH (Jan, 2015), the first in the Ivy Meadows Theater Mysteries, that NYT bestseller April Henry says made her “laugh out loud”!
Two things are helping me. One is creating schedules with boundaries. For example, I decided I can only manage one hour of social media stuff per day, so before lunch I do a half-hour and before I break for the evening, I do another half-hour. I sometimes even set a timer since it’s easy to get sucked in.
The other thing that is working for me is asking and accepting help from friends, the folks at Henery Press, and writing compatriots. People have helped me set up my website, figure out social media stuff (I’m such a neophyte), learn Scrivener, and shorten my research time (I love the crimescene writer listserv for this reason). They have also helped me keep on track by writing with me (sound familiar?) and reminding me to breathe.
Totally sounds familiar, Cindy! (Cindy and I meet on Saturday mornings for writing sessions at our favorite tea house.)
So there we have it, straight from the stressed-out trenches — three overwhelmed authors and how they’re surviving. Thanks for joining me today, lovely crime-writing ladies!
What’s your go-to coping mechanism when you’re feeling overwhelmed? I’ll admit to a fondness for Sex and the City reruns.