You've waited years for this.
You've dreamt about it. Your novel prominently displayed on Barnes and Noble Nook wall, or front and center at your local indie. Five-star reviews from a million Amazon readers. A full-page NYT ad calling you the next Hemingway.
After years of toiling at the pen (interspersed with frequent #amwriting tweets), finding an agent, scoring a book deal, posting the mandatory cover reveal, and counting the minutes...it is finally here...the BIG PUB DAY!!!
It's exhilarating, of course, but also a bit terrifying.
Because you realize that soon, your life will be changing - drastically. Suddenly, you will be fielding phone calls from Ellen, negotiating million dollar movie deals, researching off-shore tax havens, and hanging out with James Patterson and the like. As a debut author myself, I have deeply considered (for hours, mainly in coffeehouses) both the perks and pitfalls of the massive, surefire success of the first novel. To be sure, the effect of overnight fame can be a bit overwhelming.
Thus, I offer some practical advice.
1) Buy some ear-plugs. The sold-out, raucous book-signing events can be quite loud, with the deafening noise of people screaming out your name. You may even want to book a baseline auditory assessment now, before any damage occurs. Amazon sells them in bulk, and for the fashionistas, they even come in pink.
2) Invest in body guards. Everyone will want a piece of you. People will leave desperate messages on your phone, slip notes with their hotel rooms onto the podium, and cross continents to stalk you. It's always wise to have a bodyguard on hand to deliver the crushing "thank you, but I'm not interested" message.
3) Take a writing break. Now is a good time to soak up praise and adulation. You might even want to consider obtaining a ghost-writer to lighten the load of all that tedious pen-to-paper. It's time to appreciate writing for what it is: a necessary evil on the way to exorbitant wealth and fame.
4) Take an expensive vacation. You deserve it, and you can afford it! You might even want to plan it before your pub date...why not? Cabo San Lucas, Hawaii, your own Bahamian island? If it's good enough for Beyonce and President Clinton, it's good enough for you.
5) Give to charity. Now that you have gobs of money, it's just a solid tax-planning strategy. Plus, it looks good.
6) Don't expect too much. You might not get the Pulitzer Prize for literature on your first try. (Well, okay, you might, but just don't expect it.)
7) Don't be afraid to be a little "obnoxious." Remember, you're the golden goose now. Agents, publishers, editors - they'll all be lining up to get a piece of the action. Without being downright unctuous, they should show you a certain degree of deference. At this point in your career, you certainly deserve it.
8) Save tid-bits. Every item associated with you will have extra value now. A napkin you were going to throw out? A perfect sell on Ebay. A signed ARC? Might end up the winner at Sotheby's.
9) Remember the little people. Your parents, spouse, and children, for example. They knew you when you were a nobody - before your stratospheric rise to fame. They may not understand your greatness right now, but eventually they will. They also come in handy for photo ops and family-interest articles, so you should at least try to be nice to them.
Of course, there's the minuscule, improbable chance that this won't happen to you. And If this is the case, don't despair. The truth is: you published a freaking novel! That, my friends, is an accomplishment.
So, hold your head high, turn all your books face-forward in your local bookstore, and bask in your mother's praise. But don't rest on your laurels for too long - it's time to get started on your next novel! (Which of course, will be a smashing, life-altering success. See above nine tips to deal with this).
In the meantime, buy my psychological thriller, LITTLE BLACK LIES. It came out on February 17th, while I was sunning in San Cabo. Follow me on twitter, or friend me. (You should really try to catch me now, before I'm mega-famous.)
You've waited years for this.