The Anticlimax

By March 5, 2012Comms

Imagine that you’ve spent your entire life dreaming about a thing. This thing is an event with hard lines on either side of it. You are currently living your life pre this-event, and you have all these ideas of what your life will look like post this-event. As with all dreams, your post this-event life looks waaaay different (and waaaay better) than your current circumstances.

And then the event happens and you’re suddenly living post this-event.

And big surprise, post this-event and pre this-event look pretty much the same.

We are, of course, talking about my book launch.

I have spent the better part of my life *since childhood* dreaming of the day I would have a book in stores, be able to exit the normal rat-race/cublicle-bound life-course that educated, middle-class folk are supposed to adhere to and BE A WRITER (in the inarguably real and professional sense). I had all these ideas of where I would live, who my friends would be, how my day-to-day ins and outs would feel and smell and taste.

That dream is an inarguable reality. In fact, it’s gone much better than I expected. I certainly *wanted* to have a breakout debut a la Patrick Rothfuss’ THE NAME OF THE WIND or Peter V. Brett’s THE WARDED MAN, but I had no illusions that would actually happen. I say his without any false modesty: Those men are better writers than I am. Just because you make the starting lineup of the late 90’s Chicago Bulls doesn’t mean you’re Michael Jordan. Even after you make the very limited cut of pros in your field, you still contend against the standouts, who can be counted on one hand in most cases.

But regardless, CONTROL POINT has spent its first month kissing the top 10 on the Barnes & Noble mass-market fantasy bestseller list, and has broken the top 10 on the same list for Nielsen Bookscan. For a debut novel, that is outstanding. I may not be slated an immediate Brent Weeks or Brandon Sanderson level career, but I have a real shot, over time, of building to a full time living as a writer. What I’ve always wanted. Not being rich, but no longer having to live in a dangerous neighborhood and subsist on takeout Chinese food.

There’ve been many blog/magazine reviews of the book, and while some are mixed, none slam it. The overall reception on Goodreads and Amazon are trending towards the 4-5 star range (there are my 1 and 2 stars, but thankfully, they are in the slim minority). So, yeah, thrilled here.

So, that month of supercharged excitement comes and goes. I sign all the shelf-stock I can reach. I hit every con, do every interview and guest post possible. Congratulations flood in. People talk and talk and talk about me and my work.

And then, slowly, the tide goes back out. Your name and work flows back into the general buzz of conversation about the field. You have the same friends, eat the same food, live in the same place. You still have to pay bills, do taxes, go to the gym, stand guard duty. You have work to do on the next book, and promotion for this one, but your life’s rhythm doesn’t change all that much.

My life post publication looks a hell of a lot like it did before it.

And that’s when the realization sinks in: Your dream? It’s also your job. And that means waking up in the morning like everyone else and heading off to work like everyone else. All that cool sheen you thought would stick to you because you’re AN ARTIST? It’s road mud, same as everyone else has on their clothes. I do not have some new circle of hip artist friends. Movie-star-gorgeous women aren’t throwing themselves at me. I live in the same dump. I wear the same clothes. I go to the same parties.

The glow fades and is replaced by the enduring reality of life: Work. Hard. Every day.

It’s an adjustment, but for me, it’s a happy one. Because I’m back to routine, but it’s the routine I’ve always wanted. And yeah, work. Even a lot of it.

But anyone who knows me knows that work is what I do. I’ll take the reality over the dream any day.

 

Author Myke Cole

Myke Cole is an American writer of history and fantasy who leverages a lifetime in military, law enforcement and intelligence service to take you to battlefields, real and imagined.

More posts by Myke Cole

Join the discussion 3 Comments

  • My Awful Reviews says:

    Good luck with your dream. Your book was a great read, and if you continue to improve with each book I’m sure you’ll be a career writer before too much longer. 

  • I’m glad you are happy to live in reality.  It’s not all champagne, limos and super models… But that’s a GOOD thing. If you got thrown into a ring of fame like that, it would in a way, cheapen your success. 
    You’d become another flash in the pan, another Bieber, another Snooki. And while these people have fans and money, they’re  also seen as shallow unrealistic posers to most of the world, trying to be something they aren’t.
    Of all the critiques I’d give you, being ‘fake’ is never one of them. Honestly, I like you, so I don’t have much to critique you about. 😉
    But what I’m getting at is basically what you’ve already said, it’s actual work to be an author. It’s not the magic gateway to instantly being somewhere else (Lucky Oscar!) but it’s a chance like no other. To make your own world, to create your own people and your own rules, and to share that mad fantasy with others. And they will pay you for it! 
    Keep up the good work, because I want to read the next book, and the book after that, until YOU have finished telling the story you dreamed of.  And soon enough the paycheck will be bigger than the bills, and the apartment won’t be so cramped, and the food will be a bit better. 
    Fame won’t be handed to you because you smiled and waved from a stage. You’ll have earned it, and that’ll be much more satisfying.
    -Liz

  • Andy Sherbo says:

    I ran into that after every promotion – there’s only been one major tectonic shift in my life, and that was earning my commission.  I suspect marriage will be similar, but I guess we’ll see …

    The reality always falls short of the hollywood image, but that doesn’t make it any less awesome, I think.  When people ask me if I’m glad I joined the Army, I say, “Yes, but it’s nothing like what you think it is.  When it sucks, and it sucks in ways you don’t think it will.  When it’s awesome, it’s awesome in ways you don’t think it will be awesome.  It’s very different from what anyone outside thinks it is, but it is STILL the business of defending the country, and that is worthy work – no matter what it looks like.”

    I have no idea what it’s like to be an author, but I’ve read your book and I know you’re doing worthy work.  You’ve brought out THE most REALISTIC image of the military I’ve ever seen in sci fi or fantasy – something that we both know is sorely lacking.  And, apparently, you’ve done it well enough that every review I’ve seen is waiting for your sequel.

    So … I dunno.  Good job, LT!  Keep it up!

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