The end of the beginning.
Two and a half years after starting to write A Step Ahead of the Fall I finally have a copy of part one of the trilogy in my hands. It’s a strange feeling of excitement and satisfaction mixed with a large amount of trepidation.
First of all, it looks great and it’s a hefty looking book. I guess it is hard to make 167,000 words look small. And it’s nice and shiny, I wasn’t expecting that. Ocean Reeve Publishing has helped me to produce a high-quality product that I am proud to have my name on. Another thousand are being printed as we speak but the copy I have on my desk in front of me is from an exclusive run of 100 printed here in Australia. They are available to purchase at my upcoming book launch and to those who are quickest off the mark through the website, which is ready to take your order.
So, how was my sales pitch?
Come on! It’s a first edition, exclusive, one-time only opportunity. I will even sign them for you, what more could you want. It could be worth a fortune in the future after it becomes a best seller and is made into a movie.
I’m sorry, that last part was 99% sarcasm. But it gives you an idea as to why I have mixed feelings about the book now that it is available for sale. What if my sales pitch isn’t enough and no one buys it!
I believe it has the quality to stand proudly on bookshelves alongside its peers. Early feedback has it described as a thought provoking, adventure story that you won’t want to put down. But will that be enough.
Prominent Philosopher and YouTuber, Stefan Molyneux, has spoken about how some of his highly produced, most in depth work can get mediocre numbers in terms of views, but other less involved pieces can go viral and get millions of eyes watching it.
Will a prominent Amazon reviewer happen upon it and send the book into the stratosphere or will it go unnoticed beyond my tiny reach of friends and family? Will a celebrity tweet out their enjoyment and help it go viral? Or will a neo-Marxist try and get it banned (surely, I couldn’t get that lucky). It does however make me wonder how much of the book’s fate is in its own hands.
This got me thinking about my son. This week my wife and I attended his high school graduation ceremony, a milestone event in his coming of age.
We parented him well, and peacefully. We chose a good school and sacrificed a lot to pay for his fees. We also made sure someone was always there for him when he got home, neither of our two children are latchkey kids. And my wife was with him every step of his journey through Scouts where he was recently presented with his Queen’s Scout award, by the Governor General no less. One of many proud chapters in his life.
The similarities with my novel are obvious. They both had a great amount of time, effort and resources put into them. They are both high quality and are about to step out alone into the world. Despite the preparation, I still feel anxious for them both.
I will continue to give him and the book any assistance they require but at the end of the day I can only to so much and they will need to stand or fall on their own merit.
I will wish him luck.
But when it comes to luck, as famous film producer Samuel Goldwyn said when talking about actors looking for their ‘lucky break’, the harder you work the luckier you get.
I think it is important to resist the urge to give luck too much significance. The years I’ve spent, and the opportunities foregone to produce this work, will be a heavy price to pay if it fails. Pretending that its fate is out of my hands is tempting and ego defensive. It would be comforting, if my book is unsuccessful, to have a scapegoat.
The next phase, the launch phase, could very well mark the end of my writing career, rather than the end of the beginning.
We will see.
I am nervous but hopeful and the excitement is building.