This is part of the Bittersweet Book Launch case study, where Dan Blank and Miranda Beverly-Whittemore share the yearlong process of launching her novel. You can view all posts here.
By Miranda Beverly-Whittemore
I’d forgotten this feeling: two months out from publication, and the doors are starting to close. It’s silly, isn’t it, to think that two months before a book comes out, it can already feel like doors are closing, but the truth is, all the long lead magazines have shut their doors on their May issues. That’s just one small example, and of course, there are plenty of other ways for the word to get out about Bittersweet and other books like it. But that truth speaks to this next phase in the book publication process- the moment when you move from the dreamy sense of endless possibilities to the reality of what’s actually going to happen.
I recently read about a study somewhere that measured peoples’ happiness levels when they were planning a vacation, on a vacation, and then returned home from the vacation. You know when their seratonin levels were highest? In the planning phase. Even higher than their levels when they were on the actual vacation (and don’t get me started on how major their seratonin dips were when they got back home)!
This is a perfect framework to think about launching a book. It’s why I’m already working on my next book (because I know that I’m going to have to wake up in June and have something to look forward to). It’s why I’ve had so much fun over the course of this last year (planning, scheming, dreaming, working). And it’s why this particular phase of the game- the “vacation” itself- is so uncomfortable.
Because there are going to be missed opportunities- that’s just a reality. There are going to be friends who work at a magazine who you overlooked on your galley list, and then email you saying, “oh no! I should have made sure you sent me a galley! Now the May issue is closed!” (a paraphrase, yes, but that was the hard truth I faced when opening my email this morning). Of course that’s my responsibility. I should have doublechecked that my friend was on that list, and I just plain didn’t, and I spent a couple hours this morning feeling grumpy with myself and disappointed and generally moody. Walking around grumbling and forgetting about all the good stuff that is already coming my way.
And then I had to give myself a good dose of: there will be missed opportunities. You’ll forget something. You’ll overlook it because you’re human. That’s okay. Have a cup of tea, figure out two or three things you still have the power to do, and move on.