Friday, July 1, 2011

I've Got the My-New-Book's-Out-in-Two-Months Jitters

by Susan McBride

Yeah, it starts early.  Like, long before your book hits the shelves in any brick-and-mortar stores.  When it's available for pre-order online, only usually your cover art's not even up yet and there's no description.  Just your title and your name, and a lonely box that says, "Cover Unavailable."

Even if you've got another book to write that's supposed to be keeping you busy, you're thinking about it.  You can't help it. People keep sending you things, like copy edits, galleys to proof, and other stuff involved in the production process that always requires your immediate attention.  Although you try to put it out of your head, they won't let you.  It's like pine needles from your Christmas tree.  You think you've got them all swept up and yet, when you vacuum in July, there they are. 

You can run but you can't hide.  You can fight, but it's a lost cause.  You can pull yourself up by your bootstraps, shake off the dust, and get right back up on that horse...well, you know what I'm getting at. It's called the My-New-Book's-Coming-Out-Jitters. And there are obvious symptoms, and I'll describe a few in case you think you've got jitter fever coming on.

For starters, you can't help looking at your online numbers.  I know, I know.  You've told yourself you wouldn't do that any more.  But it's a new book, one you've poured your heart into.  Surely someone's ordered it by now?  So you take a peek, certain you'll be amazed by the digits.  And, yes...yes, you definitely are.  Because isn't it not a good thing to be at one million?  Should you call your mom and ask her to order?  Should you pretend you didn't see?

Then there are the bad dreams.  Nightmares to be specific.  You're at a writer's conference and one of your best friends approaches, telling you she's talked with your publisher and your new book only has a 2% sell-through.  That, for sure, is a very bad thing.  You wake up in a cold sweat, gasping for breath.  Then you look at the calendar and realize the book hasn't come out yet.  You're safe.  For now.

You start Googling, looking for early reviews.  Only you keep coming across ad copy for the book that isn't your favorite.  It's everywhere.  Along with your old bio that you wrote specifically for the last book that had to do with things this new book has nothing to do with.  Do you:  (a) panic and whine to anyone who will listen (always my first choice); (b) suck it up and ignore it; or, (c) stop spending so much time online looking at stuff that makes you crazy and FOCUS ON THE BOOK THAT'S DUE IN A FEW MONTHS.  Hmm, now that's a tough choice.

I'm not sure this disease appears in any medical textbook or if it's acknowledged by the CDC.  Still, it exists.  And the most frightening thing about it:  there's no cure.  None that I'm aware of anyway. Sure, some authors say a couple drinks ease the pain. But as Maggie knows, I'm no drinker. Others suggest a long vacation, but I've got two deadlines this year.  So that's a no-go.  A lobotomy could be the answer only, yeah, I think I'd miss those two deadlines for sure if I went that route.

Did I mention that Little Black Dress is out two months from today?  (Well, it's officially a September 1 book, but it releases on August 23.)  So I expect my jitter fever to go sky high in the ensuing weeks.  You might want to keep your distance.  I've heard it's not catching but you can never be too sure.


  1. Ah, Susan, I already have jitters on the book I'm currently writing that won't be released until next year! So by my standards, I'd say you were doing pretty darn good :)

  2. Guess what I found yesterday while vacuuming? A PINE NEEDLE.

    I know exactly how you feel. That's why I've stopped visiting Amazon, B&N, and googling the book or my name. The less-than-stellar reviews, or incorrect catalog copy, just stay with me longer than I'd like while the positive ones just flutter away like little butterflies.

    You've nailed it. This is how we all feel, I imagine. Maggie

  3. I knew you guys would understand!

    Maria, funnily enough, I was thinking about your forthcoming book the other day and wondering when it was coming out. Not that I want to put any extra pressure on you to write faster or anything. ;)

    Maggie! I swear, you think they're gone and they never ever really go away. Kind of like the knot in our bellies our books. Yeesh.

  4. Oh,I hear you, Susan! For what it's worth, I think you are doing a masterful job of biding your time until your publication date. Well, at least via social media... I suspect the dreams are another story!! Hang in there, write away and don't fret!! LBD will be a smash success!

  5. Aw, Laura, thanks! I'm putting up a good front, I think, while inside I feel like un-formed Jell-O missing its mold.


  6. Susan, calm down. Your books are wonderful!

    I've got one coming in August too, but it's not up on Amazon yet, so I can't even go look. It's the next in my Tempe mystery series, Bears With Us. I've been so busy writing and promoting and planning promotion, haven't had time to get nervous.


  7. Marilyn, I can safely say that you're always calmer than I am about everything. Even keeping busy with other projects doesn't keep me from worrying. ;-)

  8. It's the "they won't let you forget it part" that drives me nuts!! I just write the dang things - shouldn't they be able to take care of the rest? I sympathize with your jitters. And now, if you'll excuse me there's a book I should look into pre-ordering...

  9. I'm trying like heck to play ostrich and hide while I write another book, but it only works about half the time. ;-)

    Aw, thanks, Bethany! So I can tell my mom to hold off pre-ordering until next week then? Hee hee.