When I was writing Castor I worried a lot about the business side of things. Reviews (I still haven't looked at Goodreads), advances (small), royalties (I'll get back to you in about six months), the fact that a publishing career seems easier to derail than a train made out of paper. It's a lot to think about when you're also trying to write a book that doesn't completely suck.
So it's a bit strange that now, four days out from the book finally being available, I'm not really worrying about that stuff at all. I had always imagined myself someday being able to support myself entirely through writing. I'd still like that - no matter what anyone tells you, it's hard to get too ecstatic about a generic office job. But a fellow author recently pointed out that needing to write to survive would add a whole other layer of stress to the entire process that would probably be counter-productive in the long run.
From where I am now, I can see her point. There's a chance that Castor will totally bomb and reviewers (and readers) will hate it. That would be bad! Hopefully it won't happen.
But honestly, if it all goes down the drain come June 30th? It's not going to be the end of the world. I'm still proud of the book. I still had a good time writing it. I'll still keep writing, but without the added stress of wondering whether the source of my livelihood is about to catch fire any minute.
This isn't a rallying cry for writing-as-a-hobby. If you can get paid for it, great! If you can get paid enough to live on, even better. But now, on the eve of publication, I'm realising that there are some upsides to doing it as a side gig. Maybe when I write my next book (uh, any day now), I won't be worrying so much about reviews or advances or any of the rest of that stuff. Maybe the result will be a better book.
I guess you can check back in a year or two (or three...), when this whole publishing thing stops being a one-off affair and turns into some kind of career. For now, though, I think I'll sit back and enjoy a relatively stress-free launch.