Don’t Forget to Celebrate Success

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.

Miranda Beverly-Whittemore and Dan Blank
Miranda Beverly-Whittemore and Dan Blank[/caption]With the launch date of Bittersweet coming up in May, Miranda and I have been chatting more and more, and really trying to determine: “what else” we can do, and which ideas we have to let go of. In that vein, we started a list of ideas to re-approach in June – things that we absolutely don’t have time for before then, but that could be fun ways to extend the conversation with readers through the summer and fall.

Miranda recently posted about “coming to terms with missed opportunities,” a topic we discussed on Friday that also proved there is an unending list of metaphors for what it means to launch a book. The new metaphor I introduced was ‘how a book launch is like your wedding’ – that even if you LOVED the food you have chosen for the wedding meal, you realize that forever more, it will not be filled with limitless potential, that in the end, it was “chicken.” Not filet mignon, not salmon, but chicken. That’s it.

As a result, part of the posture one can take just prior to book launch is a defensive posture – protecting yourself from the probability that you will receive some negative reviews; that some opportunities won’t pan out as planned; and that you will wake up someday soon with the book launch behind you. And suddenly, everyone around you will ask: “so, what is your NEXT book about.” This relates to that wedding metaphor as well, as it’s not uncommon for the MOMENT your wedding ends to have friends and family immediately say, “So, when are you having a kid?” You can seemingly never just enjoy the moment, it is a constant flux of expectations, both internal and external.

Miranda and I have tried to be very organized about our process together, and the downside of that is that paranoia about missing something. Perhaps it is a missed opportunity, as Miranda mentioned, or an idea to help ensure success of something we are already doing. We have a marketing plan spreadsheet with nearly 100 rows on it, and yet there is always that nagging feeling of “what’s missing here?” in the back of my mind.

From my experience, many creative professionals forget to ever celebrate their successes. They are so wrapped up trying to create momentum, trying to protect themselves from disappointment, trying to think about the next 10 things to do, that to pause and celebrate a good review, an email from a reader, or even the fact that they finished the book, often gets overlooked – STEAMROLLED – by fear and paranoia.

So one thing I am trying to infuse into our process is taking moments to celebrate small successes. Because, if for no other reason, Miranda deserves it.