I’m sure I’m not the first author to suffer from PLA (Post-Launch Anxiety), but I’ve been experiencing this ailment since the release of my first published novel. I’ve never actually heard of such a condition, but I’m convinced it must exist and the definition can surely be found in some glossary intended for writers.
My official launch event was a month ago, on the last Saturday of July. It was fun and successful, at least from my point of view. But, by the next day, PLA had set in. Had anyone started reading my novel, Betrayal, yet? Was it possible that someone had stayed awake all night, unable to put it down?
By Monday, a couple of people had contacted me to say they loved it. Then began the wait to hear other comments or reviews. Why was it taking so long? It isn’t a tome. People should have finished it by now?
By mid-week, I had to give myself a stern lecture about having patience and needing to take into account the fact that most people have lives. They don’t necessarily have time to read, or perhaps they don’t read as quickly as I do. On the other hand, maybe they hated the book and were too kind to mention it. I began analysing people’s expressions. Were they avoiding my eyes? That had to be a bad sign. Ah, a smile! But, was it a happy smile, a proud smile, or a pity smile?
I’m quite proud of the fact that I kept my PLA well-hidden from people. Looking at me, no one would have guessed that I had this condition. They might even have said I looked blasé, totally unconcerned about their opinions. Yet I lit up like a Christmas tree when someone told me they had read and liked the book.
I can only surmise that this is a normal reaction to the launching of a novel. If I publish again, will I have the same level of PLA? Do John Grisham and Stephen King worry about how their newest novel is being received? I doubt it. Just their name on a book cover guarantees a best-seller. But, on the other hand, don’t we all want to have positive feedback on our accomplishments, even Mr. Grisham and Mr. King? Do they want to be known for having a bad apple in their very fruitful orchards? I’m sure they take as much pride in their work as anyone else.
In the last month, I have spoken to quite a few people about Betrayal, and all the comments have been very positive and very encouraging. A few people have been kind enough to take the time to give it an excellent review on Amazon, which is always helpful and much appreciated. I am bracing myself for that bad review which I have been told is inevitable.
Thankfully, I have finally settled down to a liveable level of PLA. I have always had the capacity to compartmentalize, so that is what I have done. I will work as hard as I can and hope for the best. Meanwhile, I will apply myself to what I enjoy doing most, writing another novel.