[Diary of a Memoirist] Down for the count? Breathless is out!

What comes after the Countdown to Publication?

The book launch. And what comes after that? Um…? You tell me.

The day after my last scheduled book event for 2013, I woke up with an odd feeling. Something was missing. I was missing the sense of anticipation that had had my adrenaline pumping for the last month. Many good things had happened. The launch party was a fundraiser for the wonderful mentoring organization Girls Write Now, and we raised a lot of money. The reading at Bluestockings along with Sari Botton, editor of Goodbye to All That, and two of the authors in the anthology, Marcy Dermansky and Marie Myung-Ok Lee, was stimulating and fun. I had done a few interviews that I could post on my website. Everything seemed promising.

And now? As I write this farewell to the countdown, I can’t escape that letdown feeling. Is this it? My life is exactly the same as it was before the book came out. Friends have sent me celebratory emails and posted on Facebook: they like the memoir!!

The party is over.

Sound familiar?

What now? Will anything happen? And how to live in the meantime? I’ve been here before, so I should know the drill. We survive. But I can’t help wondering what the best way to live in the aftermath. I welcome all suggestions.

Thanksgiving is upon us. When I was looking online for an image to illustrate this post under the category “after the party,” I found a message that seemed apt both for the launch and for the holiday: “I am thankful for the mess to clean up after the party because it means I have been surrounded by friends.” I would not go so far as to say I am thankful for the mess, but I am thankful for the friends who have stood by me on the long journey this book has had.

Oh, and my home remedy for the post-party blues? I’m having my study painted for the first time in ten years. It was ten years ago when I wrote the draft that became the memoir. When I return to the book business, it will be a fresh start, time for a new chapter.

Happy holidays to all.  

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Tags: Aftermath, Book, Launch, Party

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Comment by Lin Treadgold on December 1, 2013 at 7:57am

I have just done all that stuff, and my answer is to get on with the next book whilst at the same time help your publisher to market your first book.  Since July 2013 when my first book came out, I have done loads of book signing events and in between have just finished writing my second novel.  It needs a lot of editing which will last me through the first half of 2014, but onwards and upwards that's what I say. I already have the third one in basic progress.  Don't stop just because the book is out. 

Comment by Joanne Barney on December 1, 2013 at 1:48am

I've been there--that "what now?" feeling that comes after the launch.  The "what now?" for me became the work I began to market my book:  the search for reviews, the emails to every person I ever met to announce the book, the visits to the bookstores, the probes into places who might invite a reading, the piles cluttering my desk of printouts from the web telling me how to sell my book.  I disliked doing most of this at first.  Slowly, though, I began to understand that, despite all these distractions, I could still write, that marketing was only a part of the process of being a writer.  Another novel is emerging from my computer.  I think it's a good one.  The marketing goes on for the first one, but it has not taken over my days as it once did.  I 'm pretty sure that the next time around, both the book and the selling of it will go better.  It will for you, too.

Comment by Pamela Olson on November 27, 2013 at 8:44am

I try to remind myself that even bestsellers inevitably have their moment when they're suddenly passe (and their authors probably have the same feelings on the road while promoting their work of feeling like a traveling salesperson and forgetting what their sotted book is even about after a while of repeating the same pitches, talks, and readings over and over).  And even bestselling authors have their moment after finishing one work (successful of not) of staring at the Mt. Everest of the next Blank Page (with huge expectations from millions of people, no less!).

I try to remind myself that the real reward of writing is the writing itself -- the process of discovery, the grasping of the perfect turn of phrase, and sharing your deepest self with (mostly anonymous) others, who may (hopefully) find something meaningful or inspirational or that just improves their lives and makes the world a little more awake and alive and tuned in to beauty and unity.  We are the chroniclers of this world; that's what we're built to be. The rest is really just gravy.

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