The anxiety set in about two weeks ago.
With publication of my second book, "The Sword of Medina," coming Oct. 15, I started getting fidgety.
I'm not sure why. I have theories, yes, plenty of them. I'd just come back from a book tour in Europe, where I was feted and my books celebrated, and where I worked non-stop for two weeks in Stockholm, Copenhagen, Belgrade, and Novi Sad, Serbia, doing talks, interviews, and book signings. When I got back I called my publicist at Beaufort Books, who informed me that, contrary to what they'd told me just a few months ago, there would be no book tour for me in the U.S. The economy is poor, the publisher's budget is tight, and people just aren't going to booksignings these days, she said.
At the same time, the freelance publicist hired by Beaufort to help my book get national press told me he's working on it, but the media isn't featuring books like it used to, and then authors from the big houses have priority.
And I read the first online mention by a Muslim of the impending release of "The Sword of Medina" who said something like, "The author who insulted the Prophet Muhammad with 'The Jewel of Medina' is preparing to insult him again with a new book." AND a nasty Islamophobe has started going around trashing my books online even though it's apparent that he hasn't read them.
So why the anxiety? Is it post-Euro Tour letdown? Worry about a repeat of the stresses of the past year? (Death threats are no fun.) Fear that my new book, which is better than the first (IMHO) will fall like a tree in the forest with no one to hear it?
I have been privileged, I realize, with so much attention to my work around the world, positive and, yes, negative. Even a bad New York Times review is better than no review at all, and I've spoken and written -- and been heard and read -- on topics that mean so much to me, such as free speech, women's rights, and racism. I've met fascinating people and made new colleagues and friends. And I've learned a lot about myself and my strengths that I might not have otherwise learned.
I've done what I can do on my own to get the word out that "The Sword of Medina" debuts this week. I created a newsletter that went out to about 550 subscribers on my website. I have an article I've written for The New Humanist coming out next month as well as an article by Amanda Robb about my challenging year in next month's MORE Magazine. It's more than any new author has a right to expect.
Still, though, I'm antsy. Nervous. And I wonder: Do all writers go through this? Does pre-publication anxiety go with the terroritory of being a published author?
Once again, I have to learn to accept what I can't control. Who reads "The Sword of Medina," for example, and who likes it and who doesn't. Even whether my publicist sends out review copies is beyond me. (Has she? Will she?) All I can do is work on my next novel, which I'm getting more and more excited about, and hope for the best. Right?
Causes Sherry Jones Supports
ACLU, Save Our Wild Salmon, Greenpeace, Spokane Mother and Children's Free Restaurant, Mercy Fund, public radio, Slow Food USA