Some Pre-Debut Thoughts

So chances are really likely if you follow me on Twitter, Instagram, tumblr, or Facebook, you’ve seen me kinda sorta freaking out over happy Beyond the Red news, namely, that ARCs are now a thing that exist. My editor and publisher sent me the pics below:

It’s super exciting! And while I do not have my copies yet (yet!) I know I won’t have to wait much longer at all. And that on it’s own is crazy amazing, but it’s also mid-November which means there are three and a half-ish months before Beyond the Red hits the shelves. That’s it.

Which is so exciting! But also means all the out-of-anyone’s-control nervous-making stuff is going to be starting, like, soon. Like really, really soon.

Things like whether or not readers and reviewers like the book. Things like how well the book does/doesn’t sell. Things like the takeaway people get after reading. Things like whether people buy the book or whether it fades into obscurity. Things like sales rankings and lists the book may/may not be on and whether, a month later, anyone remembers it at all.

The thing is, I’m just barely entering that transition where the book goes from mine to everyone’s. And I know that this, ARCs becoming real and being sent to people—this is where it starts. And I know that with the way this year’s been going, I’m going to blink and it’ll be March, and my book will be a hardcover thing you can buy in a bookstore.

This is not a complaining post. This is just me being real and transparent with you guys, because I’ve always felt like that was important, given that many of you are aspiring to one day go through the same milestones.

The truth is, right now I’m okay. Most of the time. But then I’ll remember something—a particular scene, or sentence, or messages, or whatever and the nervousness will be a kick in the stomach. And then I’ll breathe and think oh, so this is the pre-debut anxiety they were talking about and then I’ll distract myself and think just do the best you can and hope for the best and that’s what I’m doing. And right now I’m okay, but we’re still a couple months out and I still have a couple chances to make changes if I want to but eventually those safety nets will be gone and it’ll be time to hold my breath, and smile, and hope for the best.

And I think, that right there, the moment when it’s completely out of your hands—that’s the part that so many authors mention getting anxious about. And I thought I understood before, but I’m really starting to get it now—one jolt of anxiety at a time—and I know there are steps I’ll need to take to protect future me.

Steps like doing my absolute best not to look at numbers I can’t control. Steps like doing everything I can to learn and listen so I can continue to improve as a writer, as a person. Steps like burying myself in my next project so that hopefully, in the future, I’ll have more good news and books to share with everyone.

My writing, the way I handle my career, the places and times I choose to engage: those are things I can control. Those are things I know I’ll need to focus on more and more if I want to survive as an anxiety-prone writer.

And yet, I know myself. I know I’ll probably slip up and fret about things I can’t control. I know there will probably be moments where my anxiety will get the best of me, even despite all the steps I’ve taken to make it as manageable as possible. I know some days will be really friggin’ hard, and that’s okay too.

But for now, for today, that’s where I’m at. In this rapidly contracting space of in-between where I’m doing the best I can to be the best I can.

I hope in March it’ll be enough. But I guess that’s the sort of thing that only time will tell.

Twitter-sized bites:
Curious about what life is like before debuting? @Ava_Jae shares her thoughts on the experience thus far. (Click to tweet
"My writing, the way I handle my career...[when] I choose to engage: those are things I can control." (Click to tweet)

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