A Strange and Familiar Beat

I launched my first novel today. It feels strange, and yet familiar.

In my past life I ran a small software company. Product launches were the rhythm section for the whole company. Launch, upgrade, update, update … Launch, upgrade, update, update … that was the sound of software being released into the wild. Major launches were significant events that took a great deal of planning and teamwork. But each release was as much a beginning as it was an end — the start of a new cycle that involved maintaining and promoting the old while starting to work on something new.

During that same past life, I played drums for an indie rock band in Vancouver. We released two EPs — a four-song CD with the whole marketing package, and a three-song self-burned CD that we only ever sold at one fundraiser/release party. By the time that second EP came along, all of the original band members were beginning to focus on the next chapter of our lives — parenthood. The energy we’d had when we released our first EP was much harder to muster the second time around. Ironically, the rhythm I described from my software launches was harder to develop for the band than it was for the business (I’d like to think I managed to keep a decent rhythm within the songs … but even that is debatable). Of course, there was one significant difference between the two ventures: Techneos (the business) paid my bills, whereas The Lounge Cats (the band) cost me money.

How does this relate to releasing a novel? Launching Goodnight Sunshine reminds me almost equally of these two past ventures. It is both a business venture and an artistic expression. I don’t expect it to make me rich — I’ll be thrilled if I can break even — but I do want it to pave the way for shifting more of my energy toward being an author. And if my past experiences have taught me anything, it would be that a product launch is only the first step in a long process of building credibility, relationships, reputation.

So here I am … another launch day … with no fireworks, no grand celebration (though we already had a nice little pre-launch soiree), and no interviews lined up with Oprah or the New York Times. What I do have is a completed novel — with a pretty cover and everything. There will be plenty of activity for the first while — I’ve built a bit of pent-up demand by talking about my book to family and friends for three-and-a-half years — but beyond that, I expect there to be a lull. Then I’ll have to start beating the drum again (I like percussion, if you haven’t noticed) and get serious about an eBook, a book tour, and another round of promotion … all while writing my second novel and researching for my third. But for now, I will momentarily pause to appreciate this milestone.

Did I mention that I released my first book today?

12 thoughts on “A Strange and Familiar Beat

  1. We are ever so pleased for you, Mark…..congratulations to you, and to your dedicated partner in crime, editor and spouse , Sheila. It has been a long time coming, but here you now are…. A published author! Well done!

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  2. Way to go Mark and Sheila, so glad the day has finally arrived. Hope you can sleep tonight. My cousin Sherry wants to buy a book. I’ve sent her the press releases and a page of your blog Mark. Love Ruth/Mum

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    1. Thanks Ruth. It will be easier sleeping without that task list hanging over our heads. Looking forward to getting a book into your hands soon … and Sheila won’t take it away this time. 😉

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  3. Dad,
    Mark, having had a front row seat through every software launch, I had no doubt this day would come once you set your mind to it. I also knew that it wouldn’t happen without the necessary iterations to meet the high standards you set for yourself. Can’t wait to read the ‘final’ version !

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    1. Thanks dad! I hope this ends up meeting my high standards — and yours! I have many ideas for how to improve upon this effort based on what I’ve learned. We’ll call this Mark Cameron Book 1.0!

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