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.
5 thoughts on “I’m a Bestselling Author: PANIC”
You’re not alone. I totally get it. BIG emotions, even positive ones, drain me and are hard to deal with.
Haha, I’m glad somebody feels me! All the people I live with are very “low volume” emotionally, and introverted to boot. I feel like a freak most days…it’s nice to know they love me anyways, and maybe even for it! Take care sister, we’re fighting a hard battle inside ourselves ❤
Congratulations first of all Audrey. We’ve “blogged” together for some time, and this best seller list is a wonderful milestone. But don’t let it be a millstone around your neck, dragging you down. There’s a saying, be careful what you wish for. Your dream has come true… and in this strange electronic world, this dream so far is in the ether. Now life goes on, and more jumbles of emotion await. In roller coaster times I’ve sought counselling and it has really helped me negotiate the path. Best wishes, PJ
So true…thank you for these kind and wise words! I’ve always been a rollercoaster…I don’t know why I thought I would be any different just because I started seeing success, hahaha. I think we all fall into the trap of imagining ourselves different, changed, or improved by events, but really the only thing that changes us is active, conscious growth. I can’t forget, in all the hubbub, that I am profoundly happy with who I am and looking forward greatly to the future 🙂 It’s been great blogging with you, PJ!
Yes, Lovely blogging with you too, Audrey. I like your phrase “active, conscious growth.” I hope I keep growing, open to new ideas.PJ