So this week I launched my Pre-Order Giveaway Goodreads AMA Discussion which, aside from being a mouthful, also turns out to be wildly successful. Twelve hours in, I hit #43 on the Amazon Bestsellers List for Fairytale Adaptations.
I’ve been celebrating on social media, but my actual feelings on the subject are much more complex.
What do you mean, you ask? What could possibly complicate the feeling of unrestrained joy every author dreams of?
The answer is PANIC.
My biggest problems have always been my own feelings. I have a lot of them, and they tend to overwhelm me even when nothing is seriously wrong, or sometimes just because it is seriously right. From what I can tell, most people deal with feelings like they’re food. They don’t like it when they have to eat bitter, soggy mushrooms, and they thoroughly enjoy it when they get to eat a slice of cake. Sadness and happiness are on two different sides of the spectrum, and consequentially experienced very differently from one another.
For me, the taste of emotions is overpowered by the sheer quantity. Saying that I’m eating pounds of those soggy mushrooms sounds very self-aggrandising and dramatic, but it is the other aspect of it I want to explain: eating a whole cake or two instead of just a slice…happiness is kind of an unbearable experience for me. It overwhelms me. I’ve been trying to hold myself together the past couple of days not because I had a horrible emotional experience, but because I had a large emotional experience. My backwards brain just wants to cry with relief, joy, the unknown, the surreality of the moment…
And let me tell you, making a bestseller list almost four months before my first book comes out, feels surreal. How do I celebrate pre-orders launching me onto that list? Is the book even REAL yet? It is existentially troubling to be a bestselling author without a book. Achieving a life-long dream with so little pomp and circumstance is also almost disheartening. I imagined by the time I was “bestselling” people would have read my book, I would have done signings…so far, this event exists in a weird isolation.
Then there are the actual problematic questions like, “how do I keep the energy up?” Since I hit #43, I’ve been steadily falling, and I estimate that in a month I’ll be off the list altogether. This is the high point until release day, and it is already dwindling. What am I working for? An abstract sense of success? It was so much easier when I woke up every morning and said “I want to be a bestselling author and do everything I can today to get there!” There’s no poetic goal left to chase.
Of course, this is probably the best problem in the history of the universe, but my crazy feelings have me all cattywumpus and confused about it. Nothing feels like it should, and I feel challenged to figure out how I can move forward from this strange place of pre-emptive success and overwhelming emotion.