The stress of the sophomore release – Orly Konig

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By Orly Konig

My second novel releases tomorrow. I’m ridiculously excited and insanely nervous. You’d think, now that I’ve been through the launch process once, I’d be prepared. And until a few months ago, I thought I was.♥

Correction … I was prepared. At least as far as having a marketing plan. After over 16 years in corporate and marketing communications and *cough, mumble*-many more as a freelancer, I’m pretty handy with planning and executing large projects. Plus (nerd alert), I love Gantt charts and Excel sheets. I live for color-coded calendars. So, yes, I was prepared. I had six months of marketing and promotion activities spelled out – everything from blog posts to updates for my website to creating bookmarks to reaching out to bloggers to what giveaway I’d do what day and what the social media theme for each week would be.

What I wasn’t prepared for was how emotionally and mentally different this second book launch would be. Not just different, harder.

With my debut, I had the giddiness of being a sales-number virgin. The slate was clean, and anything was possible. I stressed (because I’m awesome at stressing) about whether I was doing enough, but it was new and exciting and I had fun.

With book two, I choked under the “past-performance weight.” If book one sold well, book two would need to match or exceed those numbers. If the numbers for book one weren’t stellar, the pressure would fall on book two to redeem me in the eyes of my current – and future – publishers.

Suddenly I started second-guessing my carefully planned out campaign. And with the second guessing, came execution paralysis. The email queries for guest posts and interviews, or for review opportunities that came easily for book one, caused my brain to crash. One email would take six times longer than necessary. Each blog post was rewritten at least three times.

And that, of course, led to more anxiety. More anxiety, less productivity.

Every day was a new set of worries, almost all, self-inflicted. I couldn’t get past the what-if-I-fail pressure long enough to experience the joy of actually seeing my book baby enter the world. And writing on the next project? Yeah, that came to a screeching halt.

It took losing almost two months to self-doubt to knock some sense into me. There are things I can control, others I can’t. If I fixate on the things I can’t – will readers like the book, will it sell enough copies, will early readers even leave reviews, etc, etc – then I might as well crawl back into my cave and give up.

But I believe in this book and I’ve worked too hard to get to where I am.

So, I pulled myself together and started knocking through the to-do list. Email by email, blog post by blog post.

I’d love to tell you that with each step forward, it was easier and the anxiety lessened. With each step forward, though, I regained a bit of control over the things I could. When the stress monster started whispering in my ear that maybe I hadn’t done enough, I shooed it away with my checked off to-do list.

Once I started seeing positive results from my efforts, the stress let up. I’m still nervous about tomorrow and the numbers but, you know what, I can’t control those. I’ve done the best I can to get here. That’s what I’m going to focus on.

Maybe I’ll be better prepared for number three.

Orly Konig is an escapee from the corporate world where she spent roughly sixteen years working in the space industry. Now she spends her days chatting up imaginary friends, drinking entirely too much coffee, and negotiating writing space around two over-fed cats. She is the founding president of the Women’s Fiction Writers Association, a member of the Tall Poppy Writers, and a quarterly contributor to the Writers In The Storm blog. Her debut women’s fiction, The Distance Home, was released from Forge, in May 2017. Carousel Beach will release May 8, 2018.

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