Searching for Stephen King's Cigarette

Truman Capote earned some high-brow, soft-hand claps for this little line: “Finishing a book is just like you took a child out in the backyard and shot it.”

To be honest, I don’t really get that one. For one, I’ve never “finished” a book. I believe that old writers’ mantra that you never really do finish a book you just decide to stop editing it. In fact, I just did a slight tweak on The Mentor, a book I wrote more than seven years ago now.

And usually, I feel pretty good about finishing that first draft. You’ve got your “thing” now. It’s a big ol’ chunk of clay, sure, but you can now look at it. Walk around it. Make it better.

Today, I publish The InBetween. But even on publication day, the work is far from over. Especially for an indie author.

I think about that moment in the movie Misery, where James Caan fires up a cigarette—just the one—after completing his novel.


Ah good. Now you’re done. Send it off to your agent or publisher and give yourself a nice, long vacation, Jimmy (note: it doesn’t quite turn out that way in the film).

For an indie author, you’ve got to get to work on the second part of your job.

Now, it’s all about getting that book into as many hands as you can to get some press (And you better have been doing that pre-pub press and getting review copies out there, too!). You drop dough on Amazon advertising because that’s where people buy books, you approach other bloggers and offer guest posts, and you get the occasional interview usually asking the same questions the last one did.

You do blog posts on your site, you prep and send email newsletters, and you go out and get shots for the Instagram account promoting your stories.

There is no “ciggie moment,” where I stop and go: “Whew, well, that’s done!”

Maybe I should start smoking?

Or at the very least, I should have a thing that marks an end of sorts.

I just finished up an interview this morning and was asked this very question:

What do you generally do to celebrate on publication day?

I told him the truth. I write the next one.

I love writing.

So maybe that’s enough.