Hi folks! So Million Eyes II: The Unraveller has been out a week and I just wanted to share how publication day went for me.
I remember reading an article by Kristen Kieffer, author of Build Your Best Writing Life, about her own publication day. How it felt like any other day: after writing some social posts and blogs, she walked the dog, did the usual chores, made dinner, and was left with a sense of anti-climax at the end of it.
That was never going to happen for me last year, when the first book in the Million Eyes trilogy came out. It was my first ever professionally published book, and my friends and family showered me with pride and excitement, and I also had the blog tour going on, which comprised a lot of positive reviews that came flooding in first thing. And I got to watch Million Eyes rise through the Amazon Kindle charts in its categories as people bought the book. And then my day culminated in my third date with Katherine, the woman with whom I am now head over heels in love, have a mortgage, am writing a collaborative novel, and am debating baby names. Basically, it was a fucking good day.
Publication day for book two was different. I was afraid of feeling a sense of anti-climax, mainly because “my second ever professionally published book” isn’t quite as WOW, THAT’S COOL as the first. And I didn’t have a blog tour starting on release day this year (there is one coming, but not till later this month).
However, I had to remind myself of something else I read in Kristen Kieffer’s article, something she herself realised when she published Build Your Best Writing Life. Happiness is not something that happens to you. Happiness is a choice.
So, I went with it. It was one of my fiction days (I work three days a week as a copywriter for a software company, the other two days are for my books). So I kept myself busy on social media, creating posts and images to go with posts (which can be, and was, frustrating at times as my graphic design skills extend as far as MS Paint). I wrote a blog about the release. I wrote a mini-newsletter for my subscribers. I checked in with my publisher. They paid my advance, which was nice to get on release day. I watched Million Eyes II go up the charts again as people bought it. And I celebrated with Katherine by going for cocktails at the new bar/cafe down the road, followed by an evening of drunken dancing in our kitchen to 90s pop and Christmas songs.
And, it was a good day. I got lots of lovely shares, comments and support from family and friends, which was wonderful. There might not have been the same sense of excitement, but that’s okay. As Katherine said to me, “You have two books out!”, it was another big achievement to be proud of. I know I still have a bit of trouble relishing the moment sometimes. I’m always thinking about the next thing I should be doing, and I definitely had quite a bit of that on release day. It keeps me ambitious, sure, but my friend James once told me that you can’t live your life constantly reaching for more. There’s got to be a balance between ambition and contentment.
I know I haven’t found that balance yet just from having bought and renovated our new house, which I’ve been sharing pictures of with my newsletter subscribers. Because our first builder screwed us over, renovating this house took much longer than planned and I had a lot of trouble appreciating the work that was being done, as it was being done, simply because I wanted it DONE. Sure, I might appreciate that, ooo, we have a new door, or a new window, or some new wallpaper, for a few minutes or so. But after that I was like, “Yeah, but what’s next? That and that and that.” I only shared pictures of the house with my subscribers once I was happy that the vast majority of the work had been done, whereas I should have been posting photos as and when something new and cool was finished.
I guess my need for more is good for keeping my life going forwards. But in hindsight, I have just wished away half of my year because I was desperate for this house to be completed, and longing for the next week, the next month, when I knew it was getting closer to being so.
So, in terms of that balance, I know I’m not there yet. I know I need to lean into the moment more. It’s great to have big plans and big ambitions, but sometimes you just need to sit back and relax with a glass of wine and say, “I did good. This is good. Life is good.”
If you haven’t yet got your copy of Million Eyes II: The Unraveller, it’s available now as an ebook on all ebook platforms. The paperback is coming on November 8th. I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it. 🙂
Oh, and here are some pics of my new house! We plan to be here for no less than a decade, and Katherine’s a writer too, so it’s going to be a place where, I hope, a lot of exciting new books come together.