Publishing is like a Drug

There are very few things as exhausting as writing a book.  You spend weeks putting words onto paper.  You spend a few more weeks tweaking the words that you put down.  Then you send it to someone who makes lots of little red marks in it.  Once you get it back, you spend a few days agonizing over whether you really want to leave that sentence the way it is or acquiesce and agree to change it before sending it back to the editor.  The editor goes through it again and sends it back to you one final time.  This time, the red marks are in different places.  Places you thought were great after the first edit are now being picked apart.  You go back to agonizing.  Then you send it to betas to be read and they submit their thoughts on it (usually with more red marks).  And sometime between Day 1 and Publishing Day, you have to get the cover made, which is a whole different beast, no matter how much you love the person responsible for doing the cover art.  The entire bit has to be formatted for Amazon, CreateSpace, Nook, Google Play, Draft2Digital,and/or Smashwords.  Each takes a different style and if you aren’t paying someone, you have to remember which takes what.  If you are paying someone, your checkbook takes yet another hit (you’ve already paid the editor and cover artist).

After all that, you feel empty.  The world is a little bit bleaker.  Your brain refuses to string coherent sentences together.  And bed seems like the best place to be for a while.

Then publishing day comes around.  The first copy sells, then the second, then the third, and before you know it, you are riding high off  the rush of people buying your book.  Your brain kicks into gear… You have to start the next one!  Plots start forming.  Characters start taking shape.  Random thoughts get assigned to notecards or the digital equivalent.

Reviews start coming in, both good and bad.  The good make you feel like King Kong.  The bad, well everyone reacts differently to those.  The next book starts working itself out, regardless of how you feel about it.

The entire process starts over again.

For me, I do pre-orders starting usually a month before the book releases.  And no matter how drained I feel after I’ve completed the process, as those pre-orders start rolling in and the next release starts building steam, I can’t help but feel antsy.  I have to write another one.  I have to do it again.  Because once release day is over, it doesn’t matter if the book is still carrying steam, that rush isn’t there anymore.  And my brain knows that the rush is going to end long before I am ready to put out the next book.  It kicks into overtime.  It commands my fingers to find the keyboard.  I get restless.  My body may want to rest, but my brain doesn’t.  It wants the rush of pre-orders and publishing and release day.

And so, I begin again.  Obeying the demands of my brain’s desire for another rush, a high unlike any other.  I line up the editor, the cover artist, and the beta readers.  I plot out the book as much as I ever do.  My fingers find the keyboard and everything else becomes background noise as the next book takes shape.

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