Thursday, October 04, 2007

The Proverbial Rollercoaster of Emotion

Yesterday, I penned the last words of the new book, and since then I’ve been alternating between elation and depression.

There’s a profound sense of satisfaction with bringing a book to completion, at any level. I believe it’s the holdback for the majority of aspiring authors, that instead of completing a draft they tweak endlessly, wanting the book to be just right as they type the end. For me, I’m not a plotter. I’m fairly confident the outline I sent to my agent last Friday is outdated and inaccurate. What I do now is read through, with a little list of things to check on. One such question (Do the Patels live in Anmore?) has already been answered and crossed off the list. Things that might seem silly to others…

But it’s only once I see through to the end that I have the whole picture. Now that I feel satisfied the perfect ending is in place, I’ll go through and re-read with an eye to that moment, and make sure everything does its part to point to that ending.

At some point next week, off it will go, ahead of schedule, and I am thrilled. Truly. 100%.

But I’m worried the book coming out in… about seven months is already doomed.

WTF? you’re wondering, right? I must be completely irrational. Well, unfortunately, not completely.

There is a process that occurs in the book industry, and the lead-in time is critical. Review copies start going out. Normally they go to authors as well as booksellers and reviewers. Why? It generates discussion. People in the business start talking about the new releases to look forward to, and that generates buzz. We all know that the first month a book is on sale is critical, and that means that the buzz has to start pre-release. We aren’t afforded as much opportunity for readers to spread the word.

So… I got thinking about the fact that it’s only seven frickin’ months until May. And it was full-scale panic. I think Patti’s recent post lodged in my subconscious. As much as I try not to think about all that stuff it’s there.

As you know, I never became an author because I was enamored with marketing and self promotion. I realize fully that I should be producing some early review copies and getting them out there. After all, in a few short weeks it will be six months. By the time I had copies ready and in the mail, it would be five months when people got them in their hands, which is perfect for reviewers.

Instead, I’m thinking about… other stuff I don’t want to talk about.

But then I get back to that one point of happiness, that the new book is pretty close to ready. By that, I mean ready to be read by my editor. I don’t mean it’s to my complete satisfaction. No book ever is. (Well, okay. I'm pretty damn happy with What Burns Within, although I haven't seen my editor's notes yet... I honestly finished WBW and thought it showed significant growth and a solid move in the direction I want my writing to go in. The new manuscript takes that one step further, as I believe every new work should raise new challenges and mark growth.) I could tweak endlessly, and it feels like my work is finally pried from my hands with a slap of the fingers and a stern lecture.

Am I the only one who goes through this? Probably.

But insightful posts like the one Kevin Wignall* wrote about sales & marketing only serve to keep the wheels turning…

*Kevin Wignall’s new book, Who Is Conrad Hirst? hits the shelves in a matter of weeks! It’s available for preorder now.

A haunting story that flows at a hypnotic pace to a heart-wrenching conclusion, WHO IS CONRAD HIRST? is one of the most compelling books of the year. Wignall is an expert storyteller, an absolute must-read for fans of hardboiled crime fiction.
- Sandra Ruttan, Spinetingler Magazine (Fall 2007 Issue)


Josephine Damian said...

Hi Sandra,

I first saw you over on the new BN crime book club, and have been checking our your blog ever since.
Lots of great posts on writing and the pub biz.

Thanks for turning me on to that "Conrad" book - looks interesting.


norby said...

*sigh* I'm sensing that I'm in for a long, what was it? seven months?

Seriously, I have no doubt that What Burns Within, and it's follow-up will both be great and I look forward to reading both of them.

Of course, that's assuming your editor survives the stroke that you were so worried about last night.

Sandra Ruttan said...

Hi Josephine, nice of you to drop by. I actually haven't spent too much time over on the BN crime club. Looks like Charles already has a thriving forum though!

Glad you're enjoying the posts, and the "Conrad" book is great.

Norby, yes, it's going to be a long seven months...

Daniel Hatadi said...

More back patting for you, young lady! Ain't it a grand feeling, typing THE END?

Take it easy for a few days, will ya?

Barbara said...

Mega-congrats. Enjoy the feeling. Ya know if you start having doomed feelings - that's just part of the author's mood disorder. All you can do is celebrate what you have some control over, and that's the craft of writing.

angie said...

Barbara's on to something there. There's so much that you have zero control over, it can help to just stay focused on what you can do. Send out your ARCs, keep writing, do the bit of promo work that you can, keep writing, and...y'know, that's pretty much it.

Congrats on finishing book 2 ahead of schedule!

ORION said...

I'm so behind on my blog crawling!!! CONGRATULATIONS on everything.
I so totally understand what you're going through...

pattinase (abbott) said...

There's probably no good interval between finishing and publishing. Too long a time and you've lost a sense of it and you're exhausted with the publicity stuff. Too short and--well, you've said it Should I get an agent I'm going to try and pick a publisher that can get it out fast so I live to see it. That's my priority all right. So if Kinko's willing so am I.

Trace said...

Sandra! Congrats congrats congrats! YEAH!!!!!!

Dana said...

Hey, congrats on finishing! Have a drink for me! (as I still have to stay sober since I still have much to write...hmm, better yet, maybe drinking might help with that...)