tl;dr I go nuts.
My third novel, Love Will Tear Us Apart, was published yesterday. For my third go around, you might expect that I was fairly relaxed. Or at least professional. The truth is less impressive. And as I’m one half of the podcast team the Honest Authors, I figured I’d just spill the beans this time. So here’s my publication day diary, in all its horror.
My toddler wakes me up because he’s lost his elephant toy. Side note: he did not go to bed with an elephant toy. But he won’t go back to sleep until an elephant toy is found and in my delirium, instead of enforcing boundaries or something, I just scrabble around in the dawn light trying to find something with a trunk. Finally find a baggy old elephant from IKEA and he goes back to sleep. I go back to bed but…
Still very much awake.
Give up. Say something like “this is total bullshit,” and go downstairs to sulk and stress out.
Make tea and refresh my book’s Amazon page to see the Kindle rank.
Check Goodreads, Netgalley and Amazon for new reviews.
Refresh my Kindle rank.
Refresh my Kindle rank. I’m not going to list every time that I do this through the day because it’s literally every other minute.
Make more tea. Post misleadingly chill things on my Author page and Twitter with links to buy the book.
6.33am – 7.11am
A blur of tea and posting exhausted selfies with cheerful ‘publication day!’ captions on Instagram, which will horrify anyone scrolling through when they first wake up. Sorry guys!
7.12am – 8.42am
More tea. (I should also stop logging the tea because there was a lot and in retrospect that much caffeine was a mistake.) Start to receive lovely publication day messages on Facebook and Twitter. Bask momentarily and think maybe everything will work out just fine and I’ll relax today…
A kind reader on Facebook tells me that she’s not been able to buy the book on Kindle. Scramble to Amazon (lol, I was there anyway checking the Kindle rank) and try to buy my book. Error message. There’s a number to call. Try to call the number but my Dutch mobile refuses. Scream like that viral video of a goat singing Taylor Swift.
Send misleadingly chill and professional email to my agent and editor saying there appears to be a problem with the Kindle link.
Send all caps 911 WhatsApp message to my friend Gilly (my co-Honest Author). Unlike me, Gilly has the wherewithal to check if it’s just my book affected.
Calm down callously because at least people can’t buy other books instead of mine.
Feel like a bad person for previous thought. Probably deserve to not sell any books at all.
The Kindle thing was fixed within minutes but have spend the last hour worrying if my email to my editor was actually chill and professional or if I seem nuts. Read it again. The ‘Help!’ in the subject line probably gave it away.
I’ll fast forward a bit now as I basically spent the rest of the morning and early afternoon in the park with my toddler pretending that my stomach wasn’t a Wurlitzer and refreshing my Kindle rank (even though it doesn’t work that fast, FYI) on my phone.
Home again, hang out the washing one handed while checking ranks and reviews. Thank people within seconds when they tweet nice things, feel like I’m probably being a bit extra but also my heart is going at about 120bpm and I worry I might not make it to the end of the day so I should just thank people asap.
Daughter texts and asks me to do a fairly low key thing for her. Throw a complete wobbly and say things like “on my special day?!” and “Fine, I’ll do it but only because I love you”. Imagine her rolling her eyes at school and just letting me get on with it because this is not her first rodeo and I probably did the same thing on my last two publication days.
Apologise profusely to my daughter and do the thing.
Spend time thanking people for reviews. Read the ones that aren’t so favourable and decide to boil my head. Then get a new five star one and decide that everything is brilliant. Continue to swing wildly for a time.
Order the kids’ McDonald’s on Uber Eats because there’s no chance of me making dinner and not a) burning it or b) collapsing to the floor if they say anything less than complementary on my “special day”.
Weep in the shower for absolutely no reason. Get out and spend a really long time brushing my teeth for the third time today because somehow having really clean teeth is one in the eye for the person who gave me a two star rating on Goodreads a few minutes ago.
Sidenote: I skim over all the nice reviews and ratings that far outnumber this bad one like some kind of masochist.
Get ready to go out.
Worry that my dress slips down and shows my bra but I don’t really have an alternative. Neck half a G&T. Feel better about the dress and everything else.
Check Kindle ranks. Why haven’t they changed yet?! Neck the rest of the G&T and remember that this happens every publication day. Feel better.
7.30pm – 10.30pm
Go out for cocktails and dinner with my husband. Dinner is amazing. I eat so much that I can barely move enough to check my Kindle ranks. Bra is definitely showing but it seems to matter less now.
Get home. Fairly drunk. Bra fully out. Phone battery almost dead.
My new hardback is lying on the table, I didn’t leave it there. Babysitter looks sheepish. Admits that she saw my name on the book and Googled me. “And this came out today!” she says. I nod proudly/drunkenly/in a ‘bra out’ kind of way.
“Congratulations,” she says. “Have you had a good day?” I tug up my dress and smile. “The best!”
Woke up today and felt really, really proud. Was able to look at all the good reviews without beating myself over the head with the few that said it wasn’t for them. Was able to recognise how lucky I am to be able to spend the day in the park with my toddler, while receiving lovely supportive messages from people all over the world. Was able to recognise that I am very lucky to have an amazing agent, and editor, friends and family who helped me along the way to this point. And was able to know, with 100% certainty, that I’ll be just as a bonkers next time.