It's the eve of my publishing debut... the first leap off the cliff into the unknown. My comfort zone is so far gone I can't even remember what it looks like, but the fun I've been having out here in the crazy world of book publishing is worth all the terror that came with starting this journey. Now that it's here, the actual day, I'm surprised to feel a bit of a weight lifted. There's no turning back now so I may as well close my eyes, leap, and enjoy the freefall.
Anytime you create something, be it food as a chef, a hairstyle as a stylist, a book as a writer, art as an artist or any of the many ways we create, you are putting yourself out there for others to judge you. With so many different tastes in the world, it's impossible to please them all and I'm trying to keep this in mind while my book prepares to launch out into the world. With any luck, some people will enjoy it as much as I enjoyed writing it. But, as with all things, I must be prepared for those who don't.
I'm a rational person and a planner. It gives me comfort to be ready for anything. Hope for the best, prepare for the worst is what I always say. In trying to soothe my frazzled nerves wondering what others will think of my book, I've been doing a lot of thinking about how vast and different people's tastes are. Look at any restaurant reviews and you'll find some people raving about the steak, and others saying it was as bad as road kill. Some people love pineapples on their pizzas, others it makes them gag. For every movie you love, someone else thinks it was the worst two hours of their life they'll never get back. I hate my husband's hard rock music, and he thinks my favorite tunes are bad enough to make him puncture his own ear drums. (We, of course, know that I am right and my taste in music is better than his... ahem, but I digress.) With this in mind, I have finally prepared myself for the criticism that may come after the rest of the world, besides my publisher and editors, meets my book.
I don't have any human children, but I feel like the characters in my books are my children in a way. I created them from nothing, molded them, tried to make them universally likable and well-respected, and just like any parent, I hope that other people enjoy the children that I raised. Today I feel like I imagine a parent feels the night before they send their child off to college. You're lying in bed wondering if you raised them right. When they step out into the world on their own, will they succeed, welcomed by the masses as valuable assets to society? Will they entertain and help people, changing the world just a little bit for the better? Will they bring smiles to people's faces when they meet them?
Or... did I raise the kid who's going to step out into the world and fall flat on their face? Do I have the kid who's going to be sitting in the corner picking his nose and peeing his pants, causing looks of horror and gasps to wash through the people surrounding him? Will they be ridiculed because I failed them as a parent and didn't teach them manners or how to behave themselves in public? These are fears I can imagine any parent feels, but like all parents, tonight is the night I take a deep breath and let go of the control and let the cards fall where they may, hoping my kid is welcomed into society with open arms. It's too late now to go back and raise them different, so you just need to have faith they turned out all right.
When my book goes live tomorrow I'll be sipping on cocktails and floating at the beach trying not to peek every five minutes waiting for the reviews. Though I'm not an anxious person by nature, I can only imagine I'll be quite familiar with that knot in my stomach that will only come unraveled when I get my first nice review. The first review that tells me I raised a good kid... a kid who others will enjoy and will bring happiness to the world around them. In the meantime, I can feel proud that I accomplished something... a big check off the 'ol bucketlist. I published a book... and no matter what, that's pretty cool.
On release day I'll be hoping my kids, the characters in my books, are the ones that bring someone a little bit of joy and aren't the ones sitting in the corner squishing around in wet underwear with mud on their face and a finger up their nose. Be good, kids. Make mommy proud. And please... try not to piss yourselves.