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?