A funny thing happened on the way to the couch last week.
I got an email from Barnes & Noble, saying "hey, we're super excited about doing your book launch on the 28th, but apparently the book's on back-order from the publisher, so...we might not actually have any for the party."
At this time last year, I would have been on the ceiling, the phone, and then the bottle. This time, though, I just looked at the email and thought, "Huh. Wonder how that's going to play out."
And that, friends, is the difference between the first book and the second one.
I know everyone likes to use the whole "your book is your baby" metaphor, but I'd like to propose a new one here: your book is your bae (boyfriend or girlfriend, in traditional parlance) – and if you think about what you were like during your first-ever dating relationship, you might start to see my logic.
You know what I mean. When you're new, nothing is not a huge deal. There's the euphoria and giddiness and over-the-moon feeling, sure – but there's also insecurity, jealousy, awkwardness, possessiveness, overreaction, disappointment, and usually at least one emotional atom-bomb somewhere along the way. It's very, very rare to marry the first person you ever date, and rarer still to become a bestselling success on the first book you ever write... but try telling that to your endocrine system.
So here I sit on the eve of my second book release (or maybe not – I'm not exactly sure whether it's the 24th or the 31st, which is another on that whole long list of things that I'm so, so happy not to have to be ruinously anxious about anymore). And to be honest, I'm feeling r
ather zen about the whole thing. I'm sure it won't last – it's not like you're James Bond on your second time out of the gate either – and that soon I'll be right back to fumbling sweatily at my career's bra-clasps in the back of the family Subaru. But at this exact moment, it is just divinely delightful to have a reprieve from those huge, heartbreaking highs and lows of the first time around, and to get a sweet little taste of emotional equilibrium.
Because at the end of the day, what you learn from your first book makes you a better author for your second. Your second does likewise for your third. I'm not sure you ever get less invested or less passionate about your literary relationships – I certainly hope not! – but every step you make towards maturity and self-sufficiency brings you that much closer to writing happily ever after.
- Tex Thompson, DFWWW member since 2012