I, Seanan McGuire, am a first-time novelist. (I refuse to say "first-time author," because that wouldn't be just disingenuous, it would be silly, and nobody wants to see what people would dredge out of their closets if dared to do so by such foolish comments.) My first book comes out on September 1st of this year. Naturally, I'm petrified. And so, in an effort to save some sanity—not mine, as that's basically a lost cause—I am making the following promises. To myself, if to no one else.
I. I will not read Amazon reviews. I keep saying this, and reminding myself that Kate will beat me if I so much as twitch toward the page, but that doesn't matter, because obviously, I need the reminder. I. Will not. Read. Amazon. Reviews.
II. If people insist on forwarding me Amazon reviews, notifications that my book is on eBay, or other things that are either guaranteed to upset me, things I've promised not to look at, or both, I will give one warning, and then I will start deleting their mail. Because dude, I don't need an extra dose of crazy pie to go with the crazy pie I already have over here.
III. I will not call my publisher unless I have a reason to call my publisher.
IV. Wanting to talk about the new season of Supernatural does not count as a reason to call my publisher. Neither does that cute thing my cat just did.
V. My agent probably doesn't want to hear about the cute thing my cat just did either, and even if she does, I should maybe not call to tell her about it after midnight.
VI. No matter how much I think the populace is going to march on the house with torches because they don't like my book, the odds are very low, and I probably don't need to triple the fire insurance protection. I will not call the fire department every time I think I smell smoke.
VII. I will not allow my mother to post reviews without clearly identifying herself as my mother. Actually, if at all possible, I will not allow my mother to post reviews, as this rarely ends well.
VIII. I will continue to breathe. Holding my breath has been clinically proven not to make my publication date come faster.
IX. I will not spend the entire month of September hiding under my bed. For one thing, there are probably spiders down there. For another, the cats would insist on hiding under the bed with me, and the bed isn't big enough for that to be even remotely comfortable. Also, as there is no television in my bedroom, I would probably go into withdrawal or something.
X. I will not start a new series in an effort to distract myself.
XI. Okay, so maybe I will. But I won't start anything more than three books long.
XII. While I am aware that no amount of saying "I will not take negative reviews personally" will change a damn thing, I will discuss negative reviews with people I trust, remember that nothing is universally adored, and refrain from eating more than three bags of candy corn. Sugar doesn't fix everything. It just makes me care less.
XIII. I will occasionally stop running.