G R Matthews
The fear and excitement
As most of you will know, I help look after the Fantasy-Faction Facebook page and website (though most of the latter is down to the wonderful Jennifer Ivins). Anyway, this week a catalogue of new releases - Fall 2020/Spring 2021 - from Rebellion dropped into the FF press email box.
That's when the first tremor of fear hit.
Seven Deaths of an Empire, my book, due out in June 2021 from Rebellion; would it be in that list, is my first panicked thought.
Of course not, my calmer mind told me. June is Summer, not Spring.
Even so, I scrolled through the catalogue - magnificent cover after cover, authors of repute and renown (1), and those debuting. Blurbs which read so well and stories I'd want to explore. Scrolling through the pages... moving through the months, November, December, March... May... no more.
It wasn't there. My pounding heart calmed, but the burst of fear left an excitement and sense of trepidation behind.
The whole thing, publishing a book via the traditional route, is becoming a bit real. It feels different, to a degree, than self-publishing.
With my self-published novels I am beholden to no one but me. Succeed or fail, the only impact will be on my shoulders (and bank account). It is all down to me. I wrote the books and told the stories I enjoyed, hoping readers would like them too.
Now I am doing the same, but with a kindly editor looking over my shoulder, offering advice, suggesting tweaks and changes. An art team creating the cover. The initial launch and marketing being handled and decided upon by a team of people. All of those people now hold expectations of the book, its performance, its sales (BUY THE BOOK!)... it feels as though there is an additional weight of responsibility -- I don't mind that. I'm used to it in the day job, but at least with that I am practised, if not perfect.
Will readers like the book?
Will they buy the book?
Will it sell well enough?
Will it gain traction?
Will word of mouth start to spread? (vital)
Will it get reviews enough?
Where will those reviews be?
Will folks read the reviews?
Will readers like the characters?
Will they empathise or hate?
What will they think of the ending?
Will they want more?
So many questions, so much to worry and be excited about... and there is still 9 months to go!
(1) (Mary Robinette Kowal, Gareth L Powell, Rebecca Roanhorse, Adrian Tchaikovsky)