One year ago today, my first book, The Baseball Same Game, was released. While it now seems like it was more like a decade ago now, rather than just 12 months, that was a very exciting day.
Writing a book requires a serious amount of commitment. During the process of composing my book, I was focused on the task at hand just about every waking hour – and there were many of those hours as I hardly slept during the time it took to do the book. I probably averaged five and a half hours per night sleep those days.
And, when I say “every waking hour,” it’s not a reach. I would be thinking about content while in the shower in the morning, in the car on the way to work, during lunch in the office, again on the way home, and, lastly, as I was in bed (waiting to fall asleep). Of course, these thoughts always led to me making notes on odd pieces of paper – or whatever was handy – when they entered my head. I made notes on the back of ATM receipts, the bottom of tissue boxes, the back of junk mail envelopes – and stuff like that.
In retrospect, writing a book is a crazy process to put yourself through (because of the pound of flesh that you end up extracting from yourself while it’s happening). Still, once you’re done – and at that moment when the book is a reality – it’s a wonderful feeling.
If you’re fortunate, like I was, the feeling can be sustained for a bit. Receiving good reviews and getting exposure through the media (especially for the first time) like I did with The Baseball Same Game is extremely flattering and does wonders for your self-esteem.
However, there’s more to this process that happens once the book is out and the reviews are in, etc.
First, you find out that, even though just about everyone you know said they were excited for you (and about the book), most of your acquaintances who said they would buy the book never actually pick up a copy. (People don’t do what they say they’re going to do. While this should never come as a shock, because it has a personal impact this time, it does sting a bit.)
Secondly, after a few months of sales, you begin to realize that it’s questionable as to whether or not the commitment and sacrifice expended will ever be equally offset in terms of actual revenue. (In my case, sales were about 20% of what I had hoped for – and that doesn’t come anywhere near what I put into getting the book out there.)
Further, based on my experience, I would say that, around 9 months after your book is released, you come to the conclusion that the best way to look at your book is to consider it as something that you did for yourself – and, since the book is done, it was a success.
After this concession, you just pretty much stop thinking about it. It’s done – the whole process – and, in some ways, it seems like it never happened. Of course, that’s silly – because your book does exist. Yet, compared to the feelings that you have when the book is first released, the feelings that you have 9 months after that are almost as if the accomplishment never occurred.
I should qualify this – if your book is a bestseller, etc., then this timeline and its milestones do not apply. But, I would bet that, in the case of just about every “non-best-seller,” this progression applies over roughly the same time period.
And, I’m not looking to scare anyone out of writing a book. To be candid, I still expect to write another one someday. I’m just trying to share how writing my book was like a roller-coaster ride. It was a thrill – but, like every roller-coaster ride, while it was exciting, it had to reach a stopping point. And, why not use a one-year anniversary as a point to say “that was fun but it’s over”?
In closing, I want to thank everyone who supported The Baseball Same Game during the last 12 months. You were what made my particular roller-coaster ride so much fun. I hope that you’ll join me on the next ride when it happens.