The book hangover

speechIt’s been a while since my last post, and Hot Pursuit is now out in the world after a great book launch at La Boheme in late April. And now that it’s in bookshops and I’ve achieved my life’s dream of being an author, I’m in solid book hangover mode.

Luckily, I’d already expected this phenomenon after reading Annabel Smith’s and Jane Rawson’s amazing blog series ‘What to expect when you’re expecting… a book’ last year. For the writers out there, check it out – especially the post on feelings. It sums up so well the weird and unexpected things you’ll feel when you put a book out there.

Probably the strangest feeling was seeing my book in a bookshop for the first time. I’d been waiting for that moment for such a very long time, and I expected to be blown away. I made sure my favourite independent bookstore already had it in stock, then I walked down there in my lunchbreak, and there it was. Sitting on the shelf. Facing out – maybe because I’m a local author, maybe just because it was a new release. And I felt…

Nothing.

I felt nothing.

book_imprintsI took a photo and then I scuttled out before anyone saw me and thought I was a weirdo, and I went back to work. I posted the photo on social media and I got a lot of likes and lovely comments, but the numbness remained. Friends tagged me on Facebook with photos of my book in stores across Australia. I got messages from people saying how much they were enjoying the book. My father-in-law, who normally reads crime novels, told me he’d stayed up until midnight to finish it.

And the numbness remained.

I’ve had some lovely reviews. Some amazing reviews, actually. I gobble them up hungrily, then read them again, nice and slow, to pick up all the little nuances. I check for reviews several times a day… I don’t even want to admit how many times, because it’s downright obsessive. But no matter how good they are, no matter how glowing, it never seems to be enough to fill the well.

And the numbness remains.

One day there was a review that said ‘I liked the mystery, but the romance was too overdone’. And even though I’d had two separate reviews that both said they liked it BECAUSE the romance wasn’t too dominant, which do you think haunted me for days?

Then I got my first two-star review. This is surely the worst journalist in all fiction. Ironically, the reviewer has since deleted her review for some unknown reason, but you’d better believe those words are now tattooed on my brain forever.

Today I got a one-star review. No explanation, just the rating. And it actually didn’t even hurt. (Much. It didn’t hurt much.) Because reading is subjective, and not everyone’s going to like what I put out there. But at least they read it, right?

And the numbness remains.

So, yeah. I’m deep in the black hole that follows a book’s release, but thankfully the nature of book publishing means that by the time one book comes out you’re at least one, if not two books ahead of that. I’m halfway through the formal editing process for my second book and have just submitted my third, and I’m having a short break before beginning on the fourth.

I’m always most content when I’m writing. All writers live for the highs of being published, but it’s always the writing that grounds us. It’s into the cracks in between books that the self-doubt leaks (or floods, sometimes). So I know I need to get onto my next book soon to keep my mind busy and the inner critic quiet.

You Me von Rebecca FreebornIn other news, the German edition of Hot Pursuit, which will be called You & Me, will be released in Germany in December, so it’ll be interesting to see how it goes there. And I’m guessing once that’s out, I’ll probably have Google Translate open 24/7…

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About Rebecca Freeborn

Writer, reader, feminist, horse rider, shameless word nerd, wine lover. Swears frequently. Debut novel Hot Pursuit out with Pantera Press in May 2018. View all posts by Rebecca Freeborn

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