The strangest time

[March 2013] I have a new book coming out in just over two weeks. This has to be the strangest point in a book’s lifespan. I’ve seen finished copies, but it’s not available to anyone else yet. I put the manuscript to bed nearly a year ago, and I revisited it a few times in the interim, first with the copyeditor’s report and then again to proofread it.  I’ve seen the cover art. I’ve seen the proofs and the real McCoy. There have even been a couple of reviews published already. I’m working with the publicist in anticipation of the book’s release. I’m generating reviews from bloggers and I’m participating in interviews that will come out around publication day.

But the book’s not out yet.

From my perspective, it’s a fait accompli. I’ve moved on to other things, and yet I have to think of it from the perspective of everyone else, for whom it’s brand new. I sympathize with actors who go on promotional tours in support of a newly released film. They may have made another movie or two since they last had anything to do with the one they’re promoting. But for their prospective audience, it’s brand spanking new.

I’m actively promoting the book and using every excuse to tweet about it or update my message board or make a post on Facebook. I’ve been sending out announcements to every writing group to which I belong, and my publicist will be hitting local media (and associational media—don’t forget your alumni news or the hometown paper where you grew up even if you haven’t lived there in decades) with press releases. I’ll be going to Comicpalooza in Houston in May, where there’s going to be a session made up of the book’s prime audience, and to World Horror in June, where I’ll take part in the mass signing and pimp my book when I’m introduced at my panel session.

For most of us, this is probably an uncomfortable phase. Writing is a solitary endeavor, but now we’re putting ourselves out there and saying “look at me” in loud (but hopefully polite and respectful) voices. Turning the spotlights on ourselves and our work while nervously awaiting the reactions of others. All the while trying to focus on that new shiny thing that has attracted our attention.

Strange days indeed.

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