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What to Expect When You Finish Writing A Book

September 19th, 2014 by Cocolat

My publisher (Artisan Books) is an imprint of Workman Publishing, the folks that brought us What to Expect When You Are Expecting.  Now that’s a book that will never go out of style, right?  The reader hangs on every word for 9 months:  month-by-month it tells the pregnant one what she may or may not be feeling. Way to hedge a bet!  Yet, somehow I never felt like throwing that book out the window, rather than just throwing up.  I kept reading and feeling “normal” and even slightly reassured.  The whole point, yes?

Because my ninth book, Flavor Flours, is finally about to come out, and because I’m bound to get swept up into the excitement of the blessed event, I thought that new cookbook writers might like to know what it may or may not feel like to finish a book for the first time—or the ninth.

When you send back (what you hope are) your final page corrections, you may or may not feel all of the adrenalin rush out of your body.

You may or may not know if what you are feeling is elated or shitty.

You may or may not feel the exact same things when you finish answering all the copy editor questions that come up after you send in your final page corrections.

Even after the book is en route to the printer, you may or may not continue to wake up at night thinking of cool things to add, things you wish you’d thought of earlier.

You may or may not want to publish ever again. 

You may or may not want to prove it by throwing out all of your backup notes, versions, and passes: instead you box them up and put them in the basement for when you die and the Schlesinger Library inquires after your remains.  Yeah, right.

You may or may not have a thousand new book ideas (I know exactly one person who felt that way, once)

You may or may not feel depressed (crabby, angry, frustrated, tired…). A pox on all their houses is exactly what you may or may not feel like saying.

You may or may not continue to create and test new recipes that could have, should have, and would have, gone into the book (because in spite all of the above, you know you still care)

You may or may not have the urge to clean, purge, and organize every nook and cranny of your office, kitchen, fridge, freezer, and pantry.  Don’t worry, even if you do have this urge, you may or may not ever actually act on it.

You may or may not dread the upcoming (and very exciting) book tour that is planned for you—the one that you are so very grateful to have because so few publishers provide such a thing anymore.

You may or may not believe your book is fantastic, even when your co-author, editor, publisher, and publicist know that it is.

You may or may not think you should finally return to blogging because, after all, it’s been soooo darn long, and what would you even write about?

You are certain to forget almost everything I just wrote the moment you see your advance copy—with all of its fingers and toes in place. 

Mine came an hour ago and already I remember (almost) nothing.