Launching My First Novel Feels Like I'm Running Naked Through The Halls Of My High School
It's finally here! The moment I have been talking about forever. The Many Lives of Nathan James is now available on eBook. The response from my family and friends has been overwhelmingly positive and encouraging. After stringing them along for what seems like years, I finally have a finish product. I have received a lot of questions, which I will share and answer in this blog post, about the process of releasing my first novel and the choices I've made. If at the end of this post your question is not answered, comment below! I'm happy to respond.
When I released Many Lives on Amazon, the first person I showed was my mother. As soon as see saw the cover she gasped with excitement. Slowly, her eyes floated over to the price. "$2.99?! Why are you making it so cheap!"
A valid question. Most well-known authors sell their eBooks for at least $9.99. As much as my mother would like to believe that I am a "well-known author", I am not. This is my first novel. When I published my novel, I asked people to take a chance on me as a new author, so I made the price tag fit the ask. A $2.99 price tag is average for a newbie author like myself. The point is, this is a starting place for me as an author.
As of now, The Many Lives of Nathan James is only available on eBook (on every possible platform, in case you were wondering). "But I want a signed copy!" my friends and family proudly request. Every author dreams of seeing their hard work in print, even me. "Just use one of those Print on Demand (POD) platforms!" they suggest. POD is a great option, but finding the right one is hard. Sometimes the materials are not great and can end up making the end result look cheap. The last thing you want after spending years writing your novel is to have it printed on cheap paper with a cover that curls back after reading the first few chapters. When I print this book, I want it to look irresistible. I want the reader to be proud to carry it around and show it off as they are reading it. I also want the reader to find it worth the higher price tag. For these reasons, I am taking my time finding the right printer.
"Are you nervous about what people will think?" some close friends ask in a hushed whisper.
YES! Good God, this is the scariest thing I have ever done. I literally jumped off a 30 foot cliff in Santorini and THIS is scarier. There is an old saying about debut novels that says an author's first novel is basically a psychological profile. That's pretty accurate. While most of the novel is made up, a lot of it stems from some version of truth. Putting that into the world and allowing strangers to read it, to judge it, kind of feels like you're naked running through the halls of your high school. I know not everyone will like it. In fact, a lot of people probably won't like it, but that's the risk you take when you create art.
I held on to this novel for a long time, too scared to release it; raking over every word, analyzing what people might think, trying to catch every error, every flaw. It's impossible. Writers change, they grow, their work evolves. This will not be my best book. There are flaws in it. There are things I would change even now. I could keep this book on my computer, picking it apart year after year, and it still wouldn't be as perfect as I want it to be. I think that's a good thing. There is no growth in perfection. The beauty of art is found in the "flaws".
Thanks to all of you who are taking a chance on a new author and reading this book. Thanks for keeping an open mind. Thanks for supporting the indie movement. Thanks for being awesome.
Till next time,