Yesterday my publisher held a terrific event to promote the upcoming release of THE MARK, in which they gave out advance copies of the book along with some cool swag and a press release (you know a press release is good when it makes you want to read your own book).
And this morning I got an email from a guest in attendance with the very first unofficial "review" of THE MARK. Along with the fact that the book was read overnight, the "review" was quite positive, which made me happy, especially because this person is influential in the field, reviews for several major newspapers, and had read enough in the genre to know when something sucks and when it doesn't. But something else happened too when I got that email, something I wasn't quite expecting.
As my publisher gave out advance copies of THE MARK yesterday, it marked the very first time that anyone outside of my publisher, agent, and immediate family had a chance to read the book. Suddenly there are copies floating around out there (though I don't imagine they'll find their way to eBay). Actual paginated copies, with ISBNs, an excerpt from THE REGULATOR, and a U.S. retail (and Canadian!) price point. This is both exhilarating and nauseating at the same time, and just when you start to think that you're pretty confident, that your first book is coming out, that your publisher is behind it, that the world is your oyster--WATCH OUT! You might be getting critiqued right now. As we speak!
As Chris Rock said, "Run! It's the media!"
This is hardly an original emotion, in fact it's one I imagine most first-time authors experience unless they're Donald Trump or Perez Hilton and truly believe that regardless of the context in which your name is mentioned you're that much more popular. But like those old NBC ads, if you haven't seen it, it's new to you.
So this is a new emotion. An emotion that requires a healthy dollop of humility. And Pepto Bismol.