What It’s Like to Be a Published Author on the Day Your Book Is Released

Have you seen the movie “500 Days of Summer”? There’s a famous scene that shows expectations vs. reality in split-screen format. I had a little bit of that experience today.

Since I was a little kid, I’ve wanted to be a published author. I’m talking way, way back to when I was 4 or 5. This is a long-term dream.

For the longest time, I romanticized what it meant to have a published book. I imagined it involved lots of tweed jackets, readings and philosophical discussions with adoring readers sitting around autumn-brushed oak trees, and handwritten letters from the New York Times with their thoughts and congratulations.

Those images aren’t what drove me to write, but I still fancied them.

I’ve long since understood that being a published author is nothing like that. In truth, I kind of expected what today–the release day of my book–would be like, and my expectations were pretty accurate: It involved near-constant checking of Amazon’s rankings.

Here’s how they currently look (they were slightly better a few hours ago, and they might be better or worse by the time you look at them):

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It’s weird how much this metric mattered to me today, even though sales aren’t what motivated me at all to write the book. I wrote the book (which is about crowdfunding, entrepreneurship, and putting customers’ needs before your own as you form a community) because I wanted to help people. There isn’t a metric for that, so I’m left with Amazon.

Otherwise, the day was much like any other day. In fact, it was an incredibly busy day for reasons related to my board-game job! But it was fun to know that my book was arriving on peoples’ Kindles and at their doorsteps around the world. It felt good to see people talking about it on Facebook and Twitter, and I hope they’re still talking about it when they open the book.

Perhaps I’ll wear a tweed jacket tomorrow, just to feel more like a published author. 🙂