Thursday, June 4, 2009

Pre-Release Jitters

A key reason I began blogging long ago was to offer an honest account of what goes into getting a book published (first with Mom's Cancer, now with WHTTWOT) and what that experience is like. With that mission in mind, I feel honor-bound to report that I'm a little anxious right now.

Some advance copies of WHTTWOT have gone out to reviewers at newspapers, magazines, websites and other media, and more are on their way. Of course, you just hope your book makes enough of an impression that someone thinks it's worth reviewing in the first place. No reactions yet, but Editor Charlie reports hearing hints of good things through the sensitive network of nerves he has snaking throughout the book and comics worlds. I feel like Jodie Foster in the movie "Contact," intently listening to white noise through my headphones, trying to pick patterns of meaning out of the remorseless interstellar static.
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Some actors say they never watch their own movies or read their own reviews. I totally get that. I rarely open either of my books because I tend to focus on flaws I can no longer fix (in fact, I found my first mistake in WHTTWOT during my webcast--just a maddening little art error, nothing substantive or factual, we'll see if anyone notices). Although there's no real downside to a good review, the problem with a bad review is that, even if the reviewer is right, there's nothing I can do about it. I can't say, "You know, you make a very good point, I'll fix that immediately." For better or worse, I'm stuck with it. I'm semi-seriously thinking of just flagging reviews as they come and asking my wife Karen to read them first. Let her decide if I can take it.
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Luckily, I have an actual adult life to put everything into proper perspective and enough work to keep me distracted. In the big scheme of things--even in the little scheme of my immediate life, family and livelihood--how my next book is received is not very important. And I'm actually very confident I produced a book that at least some readers will find well worth their time and money. Once in a while, though, I can't help but wallow.
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10 comments:

sligo said...

dude, it's not wallowing.

you're not a Sally Fields sort of guy ("...you like me, you really, really..."), but what you are is sincere. you care about what you created, and you're a professional. your pride is about the purity of what you do, and your inherent sense in wanting to do it as best you can, then sharing what you create with people who care.

thing's will be fine.

at least, until Hollywood calls...

ronnie said...

Those of us privileged to see an early draft of the book already know it's a wonderful and valuable book that will touch people who have memories of that magical, "anything-possible" time - and some of us who don't quite remember it, too. I have no doubt that it'll be well-received, but as far as Husband and I are concerned, the story and how you tell it is already a success, and seeing the finished product will just be gravy.

Sligo, if I "know" Brian (at least online), he'll hold out for complete creative control :)

Brian Fies said...

Well, I wasn't fishing for sympathy, either--just trying to keep it real, dawgs--but thanks! I'm confident things will be better than fine. And Ronnie, we may find out how well you know me....

Mike Lynch said...

Ever since I was a wee lad and read THE MAKING OF STAR TREK, I've always been interested in behind-the-scenes stuff and that's what you blog is ALL about. I think your blog should be required reading for students who want to write & draw graphic novels. Your "polished but non-varnished," honest approach to the amount of work and dedication is a testament to absolute persistence. Hey, ya got the talent -- but to have the persistence to see it through -- well, that's the REAL key.

Sherwood Harrington said...

Just continuing with what Mike Lynch just said: I am mightily impressed with your work, of course, but I'm equally impressed with your ability to explain how you do what you do. Like your art, there has to be a certain amount of talent to teach that well, but a lot of it is just plain hard work, smartly applied.

So, if this cartooning thing doesn't pan out, and if your day job crashes and burns, you could do better than well as a teacher. Providing, of course, that California decides that maybe teachers are worth paying after all.

Oh, and the reviews thing? If you get a bad one, just let your fans know where the reviewer lives. We'll take care of it. Not to worry.

Mike said...

As you suggest, if it rises to the level of getting a review, the actual review itself is somewhat secondary. If it's being reviewed, it's on the shelves. If it's on the shelves, people will see it.

As for reading them, well, that's your choice. Will it drive you crazier to know someone misread it, or not to know what they said at all?

Anonymous said...

"just trying to keep it real, dawgs" - (Editor Anon red pens the above frag) Please Sir, do not try to get all street on us. It cheapens your hard earned dignified reputation as an erudite man of letters.

Mike said...

woof woof woof!

Brian Fies said...

Sorry I didn't reply right away. I was chilling in L.A. this weekend, hanging with my peeps. Peace out, yo.

Kid Sis said...

He was chillaxin' at a world premiere, yo.