(My actual book in my actual hand. It’s possible I need a manicure.)
5:10 AM – The puppy awakens you by licking your face. She doesn’t know it’s launch day! and frankly she doesn’t care. Spend 45 minutes telling her to “go lie down” which she does in five-minute increments. Surrender at 5:55 because it’s launch day!
7:00 AM – Say goodbye to family members on their way to work and school. They know it’s launch day! and congratulate you without licking your face even once.
8:00 AM – You’re alone, just you and your launch day! More checking and texting, replying to inquiries. You’re cool as a cucumber because you’ve already had a cover revealed, and a preorder up. A prequel released. Also, seven years have passed since you started this process. It’s about time.
Noon: Admit you’ve actually had butterflies in your stomach since 5:10 AM. You are not cool as a cucumber. Who came up with that saying in the first place? Today is not anticlimactic because SEVEN YEARS HAVE PASSED SINCE YOU STARTED THIS PROCESS. IT’S ABOUT TIME.
2:00 PM – Do the dishes. And laundry. Shop for groceries. Walk the dogs. Because these chores don’t know it’s launch day! and frankly they don’t care. More checking. Texting. Replying to inquiries. It’s all good, you tell your kids who are now home from school. You try to mean it.
5:00 PM – Hear from your husband. He won’t, in fact, be working late. He’ll be home by 6:30! There will be champagne and toasts, he says.
Spend the evening talking too much from nervous energy and excitement mixed with a sick fear of failure. And also because you always talk too much.
10:00 PM – Don’t go to bed because it’s your first launch day! which only happens once and when you’re asleep it will be over. Read new reviews with your eyes half shut. Your stomach’s still butterfly-ish. Mostly from happiness. But also because it’s over.
5:10 AM – LIE DOWN, Scout!
5:55 AM – Repeat yesterday’s schedule. Again. And again.
Read new reviews with your eyes wide open. Breathe in. Breathe out. It’s okay.
Noon – Decide that everyone who knows you and was planning to buy your book has bought your book. Worry that from this day forward, you may never sell another book.
1:00 PM – YOU NEED TO WRITE ANOTHER BOOK TODAY.
2:00 PM – Admit you’re not going to write another book today.
6:00 PM – Family.
Together you watch The Walking Dead Season Finale because you have been a published novelist for almost two days and life goes on. Except for the zombies.
Go to bed realizing nothing much has changed. You’re still you. Your family and friends are still your family and friends. Your puppy will still wake you up early tomorrow morning.
Same deal. Skip to noon.
Two copies of your book are waiting in a padded yellow envelope in your mailbox. Don’t open the envelope right away because once you open it, the moment is over. Check on the neighbor’s dog. Talk to the dog-sitter who’s there because the neighbors are out of town.
Is that package for them? she asks.
Tell her no. It’s mine.
Return to your house. Open the yellow envelope. Look at your books. Touch their covers. Flip through pages. Do not read them. Just stare. You’re alone except for the dogs. Take a picture in the mirror without removing your reading glasses or applying mascara.
This is it. THIS IS IT.
The moment is over. The books sit on your counter.
They are beautiful.
Text the picture to your husband and cry a little.
You’ve been a published author since Monday.
Everything has changed. Nothing is different.
Life goes on.
Also, I have a Book Club Discussion Guide for anyone whose book club might be interested in reading Letters for Scarlet. Please email me at email@example.com and I’ll send it to you. And if your group would like to Skype with me during you’re meeting, I’m in!
I might even get dressed first.