A Top Ten Something

by rsbakker

So The White-Luck Warrior is on the shelves and shipping in Canada.  I checked out Amazon’s fantasy bestseller list and I gotta say it was nice to see the Beast tucked in there with Rothfuss, Martin, and Erikson. It won’t be there for long, I’m sure, but still… And over time, who knows?

It’s nice to be a top ten something, even if just for a few days.

My own contract copies arrived yesterday, and I had a chance to play the ‘Cringe Game,’ where I open random pages here and there and begin reading.  Not a single cringe! I’ve realized that my cringing has actually diminished on a curve with each new book I put out. I want to say this is because I’m a better writer than I was, but I have this nagging feeling that it has as much to do with an unconscious unwillingness to acknowledge post-publication problems.

This is also the time of year when I begin my daily Googling ritual, looking for reviews. Nada so far, but I did have occasion to slam head on into my rejection aversion hardwiring. I’m not sure what it is, but I periodically encounter people who really seem to need to take the piss out of my books on the web. I’m not talking about people simply disliking the books – something which I actually find interesting – but individuals who, for whatever reason, decide that I’m nothing more than a sophmoric hack. The prose is ‘clumsy.’ The philosophy is ‘cliche’ or ‘intro.’ These kinds of assertions really make me bristle for some reason – probably because my writing style and my thematics are cornerstones of my professional pride. In this last instance, I actually found myself entertaining a revenge fantasy where I corner the individual at a convention and to have them explain what my philosophical goals are and what makes them so derivative and trite. I wait for them to mention Borges or Carter or Harrison and then I pounce. Imagining these kinds of scenarios always leave me feeling foolish afterward, even though I realize they are simply another irresistible reflex.

I’ve also caught myself marvelling at just how many books I now have out. I still feel like a new author, green as green, and yet I’m anything but. Light, Time, and Gravity brings the count up to eight–eight frickin novels, man. Who would have thunk it.

And this is just a partial snapshot. There’s the apprehensions over what you all will think. The hopes for the building popularity of the series as a whole. The joy of showing my daughter the book, and watching her frown, then turn the book upside down to right the Circumfix on the cover. And so much more.

Having a book released is a complicated time. A mire when things don’t go well, and almost symphonic when they do.