The Never End of Life After Publishing
The day my book arrived in the mail wrapped in its matte cover, all neatly bound and complete, I cradled it in my arms and practically kissed it. My baby. And then I had to raise it. To get down on my knees in the grit and help it make its way out in the world—beyond me.
So what next?
Like I did, you’ll need to market it. Spread the word. Find the confidence, continually re-find the confidence, to put it out there and keep facing the doubts that arise about whether it’s worth it, whether it’ll be loved, accepted, revered or even liked at all. You’ll face shitty Amazon reviews by readers who say they couldn’t get through the first few pages, and a couple of reviews from people who say your book helped them better understand themselves or even saved their life.
You’ll need to reach out. To strut into bookstores and ask for it to be placed on their shelves and to do a book reading in their basement to a full house of your friends or five rando stragglers who show up when two dozen seats were placed for the audience. To contact book clubs and never hear back from them. To connect with university professors and ask to give a talk to their class of students who have their heads down, scrolling their phones, when you’ve driven an hour in rush hour traffic to share your truth with them.
You’ll need to keep facing yourself again and again on the page. Keep reading the words you’ve rewritten a thousand times. Keep revisiting the memories you’ve already left behind and keep leaving behind. Keep feeling sick that readers know this about you. That readers forget. That some don’t care. That some think they now know you. Keep singing your story in a new voice even though you are utterly sick of it, over it, beyond it, on the other side of it.
And, then there’s that driving force of the friends and strangers who want to actually buy a hardcopy of your book from you to support your artistry. And your parents who are proud of you regardless of how you portrayed them. And your niece’s friends who are struggling with similar issues who are floored by your honesty and acuity. And those few people, authors themselves, who look you deep in the eyes and acknowledge, truly acknowledge, the author’s hero’s journey because they know what it took to brave it themselves and go the extra thousand miles.
So was it worth it in the end?
Hell yes, and there is no end. My book now has a life of its own. It’s no longer me writing it, me processing, me reliving my story…it’s now the story of someone else, the girl I was, the woman I wanted to become. And I’m now the woman I am holding what was in my hands. And my baby is independent in the world. I seeded it, grew it, birthed it, raised it, and now I’m just standing by to guide it on its way.