Preparing for Launch: Why One Author’s Sanity is as GOOD AS GONE

As far as I know, no two authors approach Publication Day the same way.  In fact, I doubt any individual writer approaches Pub Day the same way for every book.  Maybe Grisham and Child have their routines down pat.  The rest of us have a lot to learn.

I’m 67 days out from the release of GOOD AS GONE, the first book in my new series of international thrillers to feature former U.S. Marshal Simon Fisk (a private contractor who specializes in finding and retrieving children who have been kidnapped by their estranged parents and brought overseas to countries that don’t recognize U.S. custody decisions).  Sixty-seven days out and I have no fingernails left to chew.  Valium seems to no longer have any effect on me, regardless of how many bottles I take.  And I could almost swear I saw my first gray hair last week.  Luckily for me, I’m in the process of pulling them all out of my head from stress.

I’m pretty sure I’ve done everything in my power to prepare for launch.  I hired an independent publicist, who set up a national tour.  I spent countless hours working on my Social Media skills, not to mention countless dollars on Social Media ads and other promotions.  I neglected my wife and three children (all of whom like to eat, by the way), stopped exercising and enjoying sunlight, and missed important deadlines related to my other writing, all in the hopes of making GOOD AS GONE my breakout book.

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In the past few weeks I’ve gone through several computer mouses (mice?), refreshing the screen at Kirkus Reviews, Booklist, Library Journal, and Publishers Weekly.  The latter – who had panned me mercilessly in the past – finally posted their review on June 1st and I couldn’t have been happier with it.  They compared my hero Simon Fisk to James Bond and called my book “an adrenaline rush.”  You’d think I would have felt at least some relief.  But no.  Because three other trade magazines have yet to weigh in and – after years of not really caring what the critics thought – I’m suddenly terrified of receiving a single bad review.

And not just from the major trades, but on Goodreads and Amazon, too.  My publisher recently held a sweepstakes and gave away 75 Advance Reader Copies (ARCs) of my novel, and new reviews are being posted daily.  With roughly a dozen reviews up, the book is batting a thousand, which is to say that every single one of them is positive.  So why am I still a loud noise away from a heart attack?

I think my psychiatrist would say that it’s because I believe in this book.  (I’d ask but the doctor stopped taking my calls after I dialed him at four in the morning to tell him that I was suffering a writing-related panic attack.)  And as usual, he would be right.  To risk using a cliché two months ahead of Publication Day, I poured my heart into this novel.  I gave everything I had to this main character and banked my future on this book.  This is the series I want to write until I drop dead, which at this rate, would make the series a trilogy.

So I wait.  And remind myself it’s only a book.  Nothing but a story.  Just a few hundred pages of sheer magic that will win me an Edgar Award, make me a #1 New York Times Bestseller, and forever change readers’ lives.

Hold up.  The phone’s ringing.  Probably my publicist with Oprah on the other line.  Or a producer calling to book me on Letterman.  Or maybe Daniel Craig got a hold of the book and is dying to play Simon Fisk…

Nope, it’s my psychiatrist.  He’s telling me to put my hands in the air and slowly back away from the keyboard.   (He probably just wants an autographed First Edition.)

Gotta go.  For now.  See you next month with an update.