what I'm feeling more than anything is an enormous sense of responsibility
It's finally here -- The Just Beyond is scheduled for a firm ebook release date of Monday, December 9, 2013. It will be available from Amazon, Nook (Barnes & Noble), or directly from 48fourteen Publishing. YES, I'm excited. :)
So how does it feel to be poised on the brink of your first novel being released for sale? You'd think it might be a relief, and in some ways it is -- I'm certainly glad all the editing and waiting are over. But honestly, what I'm feeling more than anything is an enormous sense of responsibility. Partly that's because a product that has consumed most of my creative and emotional energy for the past two years is about to become available to lots of readers I don't even know, and I feel responsible to fulfill whatever hopes for entertainment and satisfaction may have drawn them to my book. There's not much I can do about that now -- this book is done, although it's very possible the two subsequent books in the trilogy will be influenced by reader feedback on The Just Beyond. But there is something I can do, in fact MUST do, with respect to TJB coming out -- promotion. Tireless, thoughtful, energetic, positive, appealing promotion. I've been preparing that for a while; I've got a large box of business cards with the cover image and web purchasing information sitting here waiting for the release, I've set things up for as broad a social media outreach as I can manage, and I'm coordinating with other people and organizations on the rollout marketing. And for all that, I feel tremendously, singularly responsible.
The book has been written, has been edited to a fine polish, has been packaged with lovely cover art and truly beautiful ebook formatting -- it's as good as it could have possibly been, given the constraints of my personal talent. But the whole purpose of writing fiction is to share a story with other people, hopefully to inspire and delight them and maybe even bring a tear to their eye. None of that will happen unless people actually read it now that it's coming out, and no one (well, maybe my mother) is going to buy it because of my name. Yes, I've sold a few short stories and I've been writing for quite some time, but as a novelist, in the marketplace I'm unknown and unproven. And while I can't make a single person buy, read, or promote The Just Beyond through word of mouth, it's my responsibility to do all I can to bring them to exactly those actions. And internally, this is a very big deal. Because I can live with the novel not selling well if people dislike the story or the writing -- I'm content that I've done the best I could on those elements. I can NOT live with a sense that the book failed because I didn't work hard enough AFTER the writing. So now, more than ever, what I'm feeling inside is a firm and not altogether comfortable compulsion to GET TO WORK.
Don't get me wrong. If this is a person's most pressing trial in life, feeling burdened by responsibility for shepherding a work of their own love and passion toward success, that person should just shut the hell up and thank God for the incredible blessing. And I do. Believe me, I do. This is a very emotional time for me, and frequently the past few days I've found it difficult not to just pace, thinking of all the things I need to look after. But that doesn't blind me to the realization of how lucky I've been. If The Just Beyond starting next Monday brings people some of the joy and comfort the writer intended, I'll be able to enjoy that blessing with a clear conscience. And regardless of what happens with the book, I'll never stop being grateful just to have had the chance. :) - mark