Friday, October 03, 2008

When You're In the Pressure Cooker

Okay, I won't lie. Despite my post earlier this week about trying to be zen about next week, I don't think I'm being particularly zen. This was pretty clear when I was up at 4am last night, trying desperately to fall back asleep but sensing that my brain wasn't going to allow it. So now, I'm just all about coping mechanisms. I've found that really, the only way to sap any stress from my body is via exercise, but even that isn't totally cutting the mustard right now. I got a massage earlier this week, and now...I'm wondering what else I should do. It seems like distraction might be a good tactic: maybe immerse myself in a movie or something so I actually forget about what's happening (my book is coming out!) next week.

So what do you guys do when you feel like you're about to spontaneously combust? I bet we could all learn a thing or two!

And with that, I'm off to shoot a tv spot for ToML - how cool, right? I can only hope that I don't appear as exhausted on screen as I am off! :)

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Man, Sometimes I Love My Job

So, despite the fact that I am feeling all sorts of anxious pressure this week, I am also seriously loving my job right now too. One of the things I love most about what I do is that I get the chance to speak to all sorts of people whose work I admire, so I am super-super-super psyched to interview Kyle Chandler and Connie Britton from Friday Night Lights this week. I even got to see an advanced screener of the season three premiere episode! My husband walked into my office and said, "Nice, I thought you were working," and I said, "I AM working, darling! THIS is my work!" I mean, what a great job I have: watching one of my favorite all-time shows as a requirement for an interview! Btw, if you're not watching this show, you are seriously missing out. I was a late-comer to it, but bought both seasons of DVDs (like, $25 on Amazon), and it was the best money I've ever spent. For real.

I'm also loving life this week because I wrote the cover story for American Way that comes out today, in which I interviewed Brooke Shields. I do a lot of celebrity interviews, but most of these are Q/As, and when I was assigned this piece, my editor and I chatted about the fact that I'd write it as a straight profile. And man, I was nervous. Nervous, nervous, nervous. But I pushed myself and pushed myself, and I got over my nerves, and I focused, and I wrote a piece that I'm really proud of. Which just goes to show that even after years in this business, you can always challenge yourself and find new ways to raise the bar. It went so well that I wrote the next cover piece for American Way too.

And then, to top off this already awesome week, I'm also profiled in American Way! Squeee! Check out the interview they did of me about Time of My Life. It was soooo strange to be on the other side of the interview, but it was a lot of fun, and I'm thrilled with how it came out.

So tell me, what's your favorite part of your job? Have you ever tackled a project that you thought might be out of your league, and then proved to yourself that you could do it?

Monday, September 29, 2008

The Second Time Around

So So I am ONE WEEK away from publication (ahhhhhhhh!!!!!), and it's been an interesting contrast compared to the first time around. I was mulling this over this weekend, and at the risk of sounding a wee bit crude, your first time being published is a bit like your first time doing something else, ahem, if you know what I mean. It's exhilarating and nauseating and a little painful and and you're not sure what the hell you're doing and you want to call everyone you know and tell them about it. The second time? Well, you hope you're a smarter and a little better all-around. Know what I mean?

So, here's where I am. I am trying my very, very best to be fairly zen about the whole experience. Which, of course, I can't be, but I can be a little more zen than last time, though, really, that's not hard since I was a frenetic tornado the last time around. What you learn through your first experience is that so much of a book's success is out of your control. It's hard to understand this before you've been published. It's hard to recognize that even if you've written an amazing book or written a book that you think really should connect with audiences or written a book that your mom thinks should land you on Oprah, what really affects a book's success often has very little to do with what you've written.

Okay, wait, I'll take that back. Don't throw tomatoes. What I mean is that, of course, it helps if you write a universally-appealing, well-prosed, well-praised book. Of course. But plenty of mid-list authors have done just that - just ask them or look at their reviews - but that doesn't mean that they sold all that well. (This is a depressing fact. Consider how many books are in Barnes and Noble, and then consider how many of them you've actually heard of. The rest of them are considered mid-list: they sold decently, though not great, and no one's career took off because of them.) This is the stomach-churning reality that a second-time author understands. You can promote the hell out of your book, and it might not matter. You can tap-dance naked across the country, and it might not matter. You can send out emails and get small bites of press and beg everyone you know to tell everyone they know to buy the book, and it might not matter.

On the other hand, it might. But, again, this is what a second-time around author understands. It's not that I don't hope for all of the success in the world; of course I do. But I also understand that what matters now is left up to my publisher - saturating stores with the book, buying good co-op space, pushing the book into notable reviewers' hands - and the press - if a big-name magazine or paper runs a review, it will change the trajectory of both my career and the book. I don't have a whole lot to do with any of the above things.

So now, I'll try to breathe. I'll try not to check my Amazon numbers or wonder why my number shot sky-high this past weekend or search the web for reviews. I don't know if I'll really be able to be as zen as I'd like to be, but I also know that last time, all of my obsessing didn't do anything other than drive me bananas. We'll see how well I do...I'll keep you posted. :)

First time authors - how did you deal with your book's launch? Second-time (or more) authors - what did you do differently?