My first book, CLEANING UP FINN, is finally out in the world and I’m both excited and terrified.
I’ve been published before so you’d think I’d be used to this. I was thrilled when my first work was published in 2007. It was a short story entitled “Dough Boy” and it was part of a collection in LITTLE SISTERS, VOLUME 1.
It was a big deal for me. I even went on a book tour with four other local authors who were in the anthology with me, a few of us this being our first published story. We signed at local independent bookstores, had a fantastic launch party, and even had a signing at Barnes & Noble. We felt like real legitimate writers!
But publishing short stories in anthologies with many other writers is apparently a different feeling than publishing a book with just your name on the cover. It’s like the excitement and joy I experienced with publishing my first short story times a hundred.
So far, the response for my debut has been tremendously positive and supportive. It’s been out for exactly a week and I’ve been walking on air since then. I’ve also been feeling anxious. Like whenever I see a post on FB or Twitter of a writer I admire holding up my book or saying they received their copy and can’t wait to read it, I want to scream “Yes!” and then panic strikes and I want to snatch the book out of their hands and say, wait a second, let me provide you with a disclaimer. My book has this in it or that in it. Or don’t expect this out of my book. I have to remind myself to calm down and just let them read it, and maybe I’ll hear feedback and maybe I won’t. It’s all part of the journey.
I’ve already received some sales figures from my publishers at All Due Respect Books and so far, it’s encouraging. What’s not encouraging is seeing that someone has already refunded their copy. Seriously? Who does that? Did they read it and think, ugh, that was so awful, I need my $2.99 or my $8 back? My friend told me that sometimes you purchase something by mistake and then immediately you refund it. So it could have been that. At least that’s what I tell myself.
But you know what? Who cares! Not everyone is going to like my book. That doesn’t mean I’m a terrible writer or that I wrote a bad book. We all have different tastes and there are plenty of books that other people loved and I didn’t. It’s like the saying goes, “You can’t please everybody.”
Even my mom read my book. Okay, she read the free sample chapters on Amazon. I didn’t expect her to like my book, let alone actually read it. It’s got a lot of cursing and sex and characters who don’t play nice with others. She didn’t say whether she liked it or not and I didn’t ask. But she’s telling all her friends to buy it so that’s a good sign.
Although come to think of it, maybe now I know who’s responsible for that refund.
CLEANING UP FINN is available now with All Due Respect Books as an e-book or print.
Sarah M. Chen juggles several jobs including indie bookseller, transcriber, and insurance adjuster. Her crime fiction short stories have been accepted for publication online and in various anthologies, including All Due Respect, Plan B, Shotgun Honey, Crime Factory, Out of the Gutter, Betty Fedora, and Dead Guns Press. Cleaning Up Finn is her first book and available now with All Due Respect Books. http://www.sarahmchen.com