Life cycle of books

How funny it is that life constructs its routines and its rituals around even the most unusual of events: having a book out.

One month before publication:

Friends say, ‘let’s meet up in January,’ and author internally says ‘oh my God my book will be out then – what will life be like?’ Plans are not made. Whatsapps are ignored. Life ends on January 24th.

Three weeks before publication: 

Amazon pre-order obsession begins. Ranks are checked, and, sometimes, outsourced to friends and family to check lest author gets obsessed. The author refers to dates as ‘after my book comes out,’ and ‘right before my book comes out.’ Even other people’s birthdays.

Two weeks before publication:

Email checking is at all-time high. Usually, the author is supposed to be doing edits on another book, but ends up asking agent inane queries all day long.

One week before publication:

Author has strange feeling as though she may be in a vice. Cries at animal adverts. Shouts at the cat for running away when trying to de-flea him. Swears at a car that had right of way anyway. Friends and family say, ‘ah, you’re stressed about your book.’ Author denies it vehemently. Everything is fine.

Five days before publication: 

Author develops psychosomatic illness, usually of rare and exotic type. Often a fever brews, accompanied by non-specific ailments such as back pain and headaches. Author believes she is suffering from Dengue Fever and wishes to visit GP; friends and family say is all in mind/stress. This angers author. Author does seven loads of laundry in a bid to ‘take back control.’

Three days before publication:

Author spends days asking lots of needy questions, such as, ‘it doesn’t really matter about Amazon reviews, does it?’ and making sinister declarations: ‘anyway, you -’ pointing to significant other – ‘are what really matters.’

One day before publication:

Eerie sense of calm in manner of bride before wedding that is not going ahead. Cursory glance at Amazon, declaring it doesn’t matter anyway. Watches six episodes of Friends on Netflix with head hanging off sofa. Does not wish to talk about the book.

Day of publication:

Twitter/Facebook/Instagram/Twitter/Facebook/Instagram/Book in wild/tears/psychosomatic illness ends. Bed.

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Author:

Author. Debut novel, Everything But The Truth, out with Penguin next year.

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