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Book One is Done. Now What?

I have reached my goal. Friends and family have expressed their pride and exultation. Frostarc has sold a handful of copies and I’ve been asked to autograph a few of those. It’s been fun and silly. It’s been short and bittersweet. Now what?

I want to say onward to the next novel, and that will most likely be the case, but I can’t help but feel humbled by the experience. The goal was to publish my novel, but as soon as that task was completed, the instant I clicked the final button to publish the book, that goal was washed away and replaced by another. Another goal that may take a long time to accomplish.

Other than a brief moment of relief and joy, I felt little satisfaction in completing my book. One day it was the highest priority on my list, and sometime between that day and the next it had dropped off my radar completely. Overnight my novel had transformed from an amazing achievement into a small stepping stone at the beginning of a long, rising path.

There is a choice to make. I can be happy with the fact that I have completed a novel and move on to another tangent, another goal in life. Not many people do you meet who have written and published a novel. It will forever be a great talking point, something I can boast about with just pride. It’s something I can share with family and friends for the rest of my life.

Or I can choose to go onward to the next novel. This path doesn’t diminish the importance of my first book, but it increases the scale to a lifetime of work, skewing my perception of Frostarc away from being THE book to being merely the FIRST book of many years of hard work to come. This choice would turn that pile of Frostarc books on my bookshelf into a source of encouragement and inspiration, a reminder to keep going forward. I could choose to leave it be as a standalone piece, and smile every time I look at the novel.

But I will move onward. I want to. I want this work. I want this chance to leave behind a legacy, even if it a fictional one. I want this to be who I am; not just a small part of my young life, but a large part of my entire life.

So onward to the next. Maybe it won’t take four years this time around. Maybe it will be shorter, maybe longer. However many months or years it takes, it will be better than the last. And so will the next, and the one after that.

One small stepping stone succeeded, and on to the next.

Onward.

Postscript:

I wonder if this is why so many authors are depressed drunks. Completing a novel didn’t change my perception of life like I expected it to. It filled no gaps in my soul or heart, and may have in fact widened them.

Still, onward I go.

18 Comments

  1. will there be a sequel to Frostarc. My husband finish reading Frostarc this morning and called and told me he had to know what happened. When I told him there appeared to be no sequel, he was totally bummed. He enjoy the novel THAT much :)

  2. I resonate with this post so much. After the publishing point, I wanted to crawl under a rock and sleep for a hundred years. All I could think about was, “This is it? This is what I pushed so hard for so long and gave up so much for?” I was empty and disoriented and the idea of sitting down to start the next one was revolting.
    But.
    Then some time passed, and life reminded me that there’s honey, and music and the new buds of spring on every story that ends – there’s always another chapter. And after sleep, and some scotch and chocolate and a trip to the water’s edge, I felt the tug again and knew that if I truly were not a writer, the first book would have burned the spark out completely. It did not, and I’m grateful for the knowledge.
    So I’m writing again.
    And so I think, you will too.
    Good luck! I’m looking forward to reading the fruit of your labors.

    • I really appreciate your post here. I’m glad you found a connection with my post, and it warms my heart to hear of others that have felt this and moved past it.

      And with that sleep-scotch-chocolate-water’s edge I think you have described my perfect day!

  3. I have to agree that there’s a real sense of anti-climax when your book is pubbed. But having self-pubbed a second book and working on a third, I think it gets somewhat easier because you know what to expect.

  4. From time to time I encounter new writers who are looking for advice about getting published. I always caution them with this phrase, “Writing your book will be the easiest part of the journey. It’s what comes next that represents the truly hard work.” Aspiring writers need to know that marketing, promotion, and platform building are areas that will require much more of their commitment than simply writing a book.

  5. I too just released my first novel. It was years in the works, and it does leave you with a bit of “now what?”. However, we have to remember that pressing publish isn’t the end of that book. Now comes the job of promotion and connecting with people. And, of course, the writing of the next book. Best of luck to you in your future endeavors.

  6. DON’T STOP WRITING!

  7. Start working immediately on Book 2 — and don’t look back.
    Truly, author of LIE
    and the forthcoming
    BEFORE MY EYES

  8. I have to disagree. It changed everything for me. It changed my perceptions of who I am, my drives, my ambitions, and my perspectives.

    I agree with Cromethus… it’s a journey, not a destination. Publishing set me on a new path. It had its own sense of fulfillment, but the joy was in beginning a new adventure.

    My ambitions and expectations are quite modest. I already feel like a success, so everything after this is just icing.

    • I’m glad to have someone with another perspective post their thoughts. It’s awesome that you have found what you were looking for in your work.

      I suppose it has altered my drive and ambitions, because now I look to move forward toward more.

      But it was a big slap in the face, this change of perspective. It didn’t come with an energetic inspiration, but a determined one.

  9. Cromethus Percera

    February 10, 2013 at 11:41 pm

    Remember, friend, as you release this child of the mind into the world; it is not the destination which makes us greater – it is the journey.

    • So very true.

      Yet in this first go around I couldn’t help but anticipate the destination. It was such a sweet-smelling achievement that I lusted over it, and succumbed to the emptiness that it left behind in it’s wake once I reached it.

      The journey is a long one, and this book was by no means an end. And now I know that.

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