Well, tomorrow is the big day. Dominion will appear in stores! My first published book! People I don't know (and might never know) will hopefully start reading it. This is, needless to say, a very exciting time for me. And I'm celebrating by being an emotional kaleidoscope.
Not all at once, really, but for the past few weeks its felt like I had a big checklist of emotions and I was trying to go through all of them before the book came out. A month ago, I actually felt pretty blasé about the whole thing. I was somehow expecting more action, or at least more excitement, as the release date approached, but life felt very normal a month out. I started to settle into that, and looked at the launch like I do a birthday: it's a milestone event, but nothing really changes from one day to the next. Which may still prove to be the case.
Then at the beginning of February, I went to the Ontario Library Association superconference to do my first signing, and it started to feel more like this might be a sea change in my life. For the signing itself I was a bundle of nerves, but people seemed excited to read the book! And I got to meet some of the fantastic folks from my publisher, Orca! And there was a new review in Quill & Quire! I finally had some time to hang out with my wonderful editor Robin Stevenson (who was there for a signing too, being an excellent author herself), who introduced me to many other writers. I had the feeling I was joining a new community, that I was seeing behind the curtain and it was pretty cool back there. This was exciting. Dreams-coming-true exciting.
And then I got home, and reflected on the couple of reviews I'd seen, and got kind words on the book from Tim Wynne-Jones, an author I admire greatly, and I started telling people about my launch event for Dominion (March 5th, 3-4pm at the Guelph Public Library main branch, by the way. There will be cookies). And in all of that, I got smacked in the face by a huge dose of imposter syndrome. It wasn't about the book, though. I still loved the book. But me, I'm not so sure about. Suddenly people were talking about me, and about events featuring me. At some point, someone was going to realize that I'm Just Some Guy. Everyone was sure to be disappointed. (I knew it was imposter syndrome even as I was feeling it, but that didn't really chase the feelings away.) That morphed into a general anxiety that made me, at times, wish the whole thing would just go away.
The anxiety faded, and excitement came back. But then a few days ago, I started feeling very exposed. I hope many people, far and wide, read Dominion. I wrote it to be read! But it also feels so very, very public for something that's so important to me. I'm not a very public guy, generally. Going out for coffee with people can be an effort. (And having kids makes me even less social, because I'm an introvert but I have to spend all day talking to and taking care of tiny, unrelenting chatterboxes.) I had dreams about ending up in public in nothing but boxer shorts, and trying to play it cool like that was what I meant to wear. Having Dominion out there in the world feels a bit like that.
And today? All of it, all at once. Nervousness, fear, nakedness, glee, confusion. I can't believe it's actually here. It feels unreal, even thought I've known it was coming for over two years now.
Tomorrow you'll either find me crowing on the rooftops or hiding under my covers. Maybe both! Or maybe it will just be another day. I've never done this before.