After a long road, the launch day for my debut novel, Frost, is finally here!
With so many writers chronicling their publishing experiences online, I know perfectly well that while the release of my first novel will be exciting, there will also be disappointments. I figure it will make the whole thing easier if I keep my expectations for launch day firmly grounded in reality. Hence, the following plan.
I don’t think I’ll set an alarm, because I’ll probably be woken up early by the buzzer announcing a delivery -- flowers, champagne, that sort of thing. BUT, I am making it very clear to myself that there might not be as many of these deliveries as I’d like/expect. Maybe… ten or twenty throughout the day. Max. Shouldn’t be hoping for more.
After I’m up, I’ll turn on my laptop and go to the NY Times site. Okay, I admit that I’ll be scanning the front page for a headline like, “40-Year-Old Prodigy Releases Great American Novel.” But, you know, let’s be real -- the article will probably not be on the front page! It will probably be in the Books section. If it is, I need to remember not to be disappointed that only people interested in books will come across it.
(Speaking of the NY Times, I’d like to think that Michiko Kakutani’s review of Frost will be in the paper on launch day. Unfortunately, I don’t think her reviews are published on Tuesdays.)
Deciding what to wear on launch day will be tough. I don’t have any actual plans, which means that people must be planning surprise events. But I don’t know what sort of surprise events, so I’ll have to wear something multi-purpose. Also, I don’t want to wear something TOO noticeable, because I’m not sure I’ll be ready for all of the, “Hey! Isn’t that author Marianna Baer?” attention from random people on the street. (This may seem crazy to you, like I’m not sufficiently managing my expectations, but my neighborhood is home to YA celebrities like Gayle Forman, Libba Bray, and Melissa Walker, so people here are used to keeping their eyes peeled for us.)
I’ll probably go to a couple of bookstores, just to make sure that the display table dedicated to my book is there. If it’s not, if there’s only one of those cardboard display things, I’ll be okay with that. I know Frost is my first book, and the dedicated table might not happen right away. While I’m at the bookstores, I’ll probably have to spend a few hours signing stock. Carpal tunnel on launch day isn’t very glamorous, but I’m not at the point where I can get my “to-be-signed” pages early, like John Green. If I have to sign a few hundred copies at my local B&N, so be it.
The rest of the day will probably be spent much like any other -- here at my computer. Of course, I won’t be able to help checking my Amazon ranking, and that’ll be another challenge. “Be patient, Marianna,” I’ll tell myself. “Your sales rank might not reach single digits for a week or so.”
I’m sure my phone will ring pretty much non-stop; the trick there will be remaining realistic about who will call. The president of HarperCollins, sure – that’s a no-brainer. But even though it’s fun to think that the owner of HC’s biggie parent company, Rupert Murdoch, might give me a ring, he probably has other things on his mind.
Luckily, I don’t have to keep my expectations for launch night low. I have great friends. They know this is an important event. I’m absolutely positive that they’ll do something pretty special in my honor. (I wonder if they’d be allowed to rent the lights on the Empire State Building and light them up to spell Frost?)
I hope that this post is helpful to others of you who will be releasing your debut novels soon. We have to stay humble and realistic, and keep in mind that this is a job (albeit one that will make us rich and famous.) At the end of the day, the writing is the most important thing. (Well, the writing and the vintage of the Dom Perignon I’ll undoubtedly be drinking for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.)