Releasing a book, finally publishing a story you’ve worked on forever, comes with baggage. Emotional baggage.
There’s relief and fear and happiness and longing and grief and…everything. Your book is finally out in the world and in the hands of readers, but you have no control over what happens next.
You are no longer spending time with the characters you’ve spent day after day with for God knows how long.
Longing and grief.
You accomplished something on your publishing journey and you are now an author.
Publishing can be bittersweet. It can be joyous. It’s almost always scary. It can be a lot of things. Just as a person has no control over how something makes them feel, an author also has no control over what happens next.
People will love your work and you’ll sell tons of copies…or people will not give a shit about it or hate it. Maybe it’ll just be “okay” to them.
The quality of your writing doesn’t matter often–a story either connects with readers or it doesn’t. An author truly has no control over the life of their book once it’s published.
You can run a brilliant marketing campaign, make promo appearances, run ads, network, network, network…only to have it all fall apart at the finish line.
It’s the nature of the beast.
This phenomenon is why I have a ritual I’ve been observing after every book I’ve published for the last couple of years. Even if nothing goes as planned after a book is released, there is one thing I can control.
I can celebrate achieving my goal.
Not to blow smoke up my own sphincter, but writing and publishing a book is an incredible feat. It takes hard work, discipline, creativity, nerves of steel, and a willingness to be torn to shreds by reviewers.
So, why not do something nice for yourself?
For a few years now, on the release day of a book, I treat myself to something. It’s rarely anything big–and is almost always food–but I do something to commemorate the accomplishment.
To give you all an idea of my “ritual,” here is what I did to mark the special day for a handful of my books:
WHEN WORDS GROW FANGS – I had a big Italian food dinner with my husband. Pasta, Caprese salad, and a big bowl of gelato. YUM!
SENDING LOVE LETTERS TO ANIMALS… – Lomo Saltado and Ramune while watching movies with my husband.
JACOB MICHAELS IS DEAD – We spent the day and night in the hospital for my husband’s (we weren’t married then, though) emergency appendectomy. I had to include this one because it’s funny.
BETWEEN ENZO & THE UNIVERSE – I went out to a big dinner and stayed up until the donut shops opened so I could have donuts fresh out of the fryer.
POSSIBLY TEXAS – I treated my husband and me to blueberry muffins and coffee from a shop instead of something we made at home.
None of these things were incredibly expensive or all that impressive to anyone else. However, they all have something to do with the book that was released. They had significance for me.
This ritual allowed me to control something about the book’s release and celebrate it. It’s a small ritual that means only something to me, but that’s what makes it so special.
If you’re a writer or an author, and you’re about to release a book, plan something special for yourself. Find some way that is affordable and meaningful to celebrate your accomplishment.
In life, though it may feel otherwise at times, we rarely are in control of much. However, we are in charge of how we celebrate our victories; how we commemorate the meaningful milestones in our journey.
And, if you’re like me, maybe take some pictures of the special event and save them. Make a scrapbook.
One day, you’ll look back, and even the difficult moments will be softened by the lens of time. And you’ll look back with warm feelings at what were truly some of the most meaningful moments of your life.
Tremendous Love & Thanks,