I'm headed out tomorrow to join my friend Erica at the American Library Association's Midwinter Meeting in Seattle. Through a series of fortunate events, it's going to be an extremely inexpensive trip for me, so I figured why not? I really have no business being there, as I'm not a librarian, but it seemed like a good way to meet librarians. Librarians and book bloggers are about the best word-of-mouth referrers an author could ask for, and librarians often double as book bloggers, so, there you go.
Except I'm feeling shy.
I've been going to blogging conferences for seven years, and I haven't felt shy at them in six. I thought I was past shy.
This whole book thing has been such a roller coaster. I go from being excited it's finally coming out to worried nobody will read it to freaked they will read it and they'll hate it. I worry it won't sell and then nobody will buy my second book. Then I think publishing will probably change so much by the time that book is ready that the rules will all be different, anyway. It feels like the rules of publishing in some ways are changing on a daily basis and in other ways 50 Shades is still on the bestseller list, inexplicably to me, and nothing will ever change at all for the little guys.
This particular adventure is so personal to me -- it doesn't really matter to anyone else. I mean, it's nice and all, but my personal and professional lives have not changed just because my novel got published. That's what's so weird about the whole experience -- the anxiety I feel is mine and mine alone.
I remember walking around BEA last year when I was asked to speak at the BEA Bloggers Conference about book marketing because of my role in the BlogHer Book Club. There were hardbacks just stacked in the booths, free for the taking, and eventually I stopped taking them because they were so heavy to lug around and get home on the plane. I left someone's blood, sweat and tears in a stack on the floor because it was heavy, or because I didn't like the cover, or because I just wasn't in the mood.
When I go to the library now, I don't see shelves of books, I see shelves of dreams.
So I'm worried about tomorrow and this weekend, although I can't figure out why. I guess I have a few days to figure it out. I've been moving so fast for so long, maybe I'm just afraid of having time to think about what to do next.