After the launch, what happens next?

It’s very exciting launching your first book into the world. Also daunting, terrifying and a number of other ‘ing’s. Seeing a dream come true is exhilarating. There was a fantastic turn out for the launch, and I sold a heap of books. It was a wonderful, exciting day – the culmination of some pretty amazing months. There are so many ‘moments’ in the lead up to a debut novel launch. That first email that says ‘I enjoyed the first chapters, please send the rest of the book’. The second email that says ‘I want to publish’. Telling your friends and having them be so excited for you. Telling your sister and having her say ‘finally!’ Being able to announce to the world that you’re going to be a published author. Doing a cover reveal – particularly when you have the most beautiful book cover in the world (thanks Nadia Turner!). Seeing the book internals and realising it’s going to be gorgeous on the inside too. Having a box of your own books delivered to your front door.

Then there is the scary stuff. Wondering if it’s all going to come together in time. Having to co-ordinate so many different things: launch publicity, running an event, doing the final edits, trying to build a social media profile. I was beyond lucky to have an incredible team helping me – staff and students of Swinburne uni, everyone at Odyssey, my SCA friends who catered and transformed a uni pub into the Italian Renaissance for the afternoon. My family calmed my panicked nerves several times and gave me lots of hugs.  I was thrilled to have George Ivanoff as the special guest launching my book – he said the kindest things about it and read from it in character as Harlequin, embodying his theatrical persona perfectly.

Then it was over. Launch day passed, book out in the world. With a background in theatre, I know this time well – the post-show slump. I felt fairly directionless for several weeks – not sure what to do next. But as my wise friends pointed out, the launch is only the beginning of a far longer journey. The next stage is making sure people find the book, and that is a marathon, where preparing for the launch was a sprint. It requires a different approach. So that’s what I’m looking at now. It’s a shift in identity, going from ‘aspiring author’ to ‘actual author’. It’s also a shift in priorities. I don’t have to put energy into writing the perfect pitch and trying to catch a publisher’s interest. It’s an exciting time because there are all sorts of possibilities – revamping my website, working out what I want to say about my books, continuing with books 2 and 3. I’ve taken some time to rest after the flurry of motion, and now I’m thinking about shaping the landscape ahead
of me so that my ongoing journey is interesting and enjoyable.