And then we sit back and worry. Should I have left out that chapter? Will the readers hate it? Will anyone buy it? Is it littered with typos which my editor and I have completely failed to spot? Is it actually any good? We can spend hours checking Amazon for new reviews, agonizing over sales figures, or (like me at the moment) making complete troll-idiots of ourselves on social media trying to persuade people to buy it.
Other writers have said over the years that the best solution is to throw oneself into the next project. And I have to confirm that they are quite right. When I was sending Emon and the Emperor to agent after agent, I was also writing The Saved Saint so that I didn't spend all day waiting for the rejection letters. And now that The Saved Saint is out there I'm embarking on my next book.
I'm really excited about it. Loving writing it, in fact, because I have remembered just how much I love writing. Like so many of my books it's one I started many years ago, but at only 2,000 words I have plenty more work to do on it. The working title is "The Faithful Feminist" and it's about an Anglican Female Vicar who becomes a Mormon and wrestles with no longer holding the priesthood. Heavy stuff (much like The Saved Saint) but I'm trying to make it light and funny to counterbalance that.
So, fellow writers, as you send your fully-grown project out into the world to face possible storms of criticism or poor reviews, distract yourself by starting a new book baby and getting right back to the basics. It's not only a good way of sparing yourself the self-doubt, but it reminds you that you are not writing for the money, the glory or the adulation (because, let's be honest, there isn't any) but because you have to.