Remember at the end of the first Terminator movie when all the flesh was burned off Arnold and the shiny metal skeleton-that-would-not-die was climbing the ladder, with his eyes glowing green, still hunting his prey? That’s pretty close to how I felt last week.
Now it’s a pre-launch flop sweat; this week it’s more like that feeling you get on a roller coaster after that long slow chug-pull to the top of the first hill. There’s an instant between when the metal gears stop the pulling, but just before the first gut-dropping hill; it’s a quiet second before the coaster clangs metal-to-metal as it slams against the rail and the free-fall begins. In that still second you know you can’t go back, and no matter how wildly you throw your arms up over your head and scream a howling yodel, but there’s no getting off until the ride is over.
So, sure, I’m fine. Just fine.
Technology has changed publishing totally. These days warehouses are no longer stacked to the rafters with boxes of books published but languishing for lack of sales. Print on demand is the most common method now–it’s easier on the trees, too. Production is lightning fast and so the proof that the printers send to authors for approval is the actual, literal book. Exactly like it will look in real life.
So I have a copy of Stable Relation. When I opened the box and saw it for the first time, I didn’t squeal or do a one-footed happy dance. To tell the truth, I was inside that quiet pause at the top of the roller coaster.
Since then I’ve kept my book proof in the truck with me on the passenger seat, where I can casually glance at it while I drive. I wanted the cover to have a sort of yin-yang feel because it’s so common in life that the light-dark, good-bad, anticipation-dread balance resides within the same small instant. I tried to describe that in the book. When I stop at a light, I open Stable Relation to a random page and pretend I don’t know every single word by heart. I read a paragraph as if I’m a stranger and try to hear it for the first time. I try to see it through your eyes.
And then, in that same yin-yang sort of way, I try to decide if I’m more worried about success or failure, while I look down and check to see if I’m wearing my underwear on the outside of my clothes. Again.
Like I said, I’m just fine. Maybe we all have nine lives just like cats. I know I used one when I moved here to my farm fifteen years ago. I might be using another one right now.
The update: This week Amazon foiled my master plan for world domination. You aren’t surprised; they invented the game. But the eBook version still needs just a bit of tweaking and I haven’t been able to convince GoodReads that I exist yet. While I work that out, I’m going to send the first chapter out in the newsletter. (Sign up for it here if you haven’t.) I think developing a leak might feel good.
And in an effort to outwit Amazon, I’m moving the release date closer! STABLE RELATION release date is JULY 13TH. Monday!
Just ten days away. That’s when the roller coaster pulls to a stop on the platform, we disembark, check our underwear, and all act normal again. Of course, normal is relative.