THE BONE GARDEN has managed to stay on the New York Times and Publishers Weekly bestseller listsÂ for a fourth straightÂ week, which led me to celebrate with a few glasses of sparkling Cava and a marathon session of making Chinese potstickers.Â While rolling outÂ the dough and stuffing theÂ little dumplings, I got to thinking about how success can simplyÂ breed more anxiety — for me, anyway.Â No longer is itÂ just about writing a good book, which is all that should really matter.Â But now it’s also about how high you get on the list, how long you can stay there, and is your publishing team happy with your book’sÂ performance?Â (And if they aren’t happy, what didÂ I, the author,Â do wrong?)
The pressure has made me dread Wednesdays.
Wednesday evening is when the New York Times Bestseller list is released.Â Around 5 PM, I’ll start to watch the phone,Â waiting for it to ring.Â Hoping for good news, but always bracing myself to be disappointed.Â Needless to say, very little writing gets done on Wednesdays since I tend to spendÂ it doing mindless yet comforting tasks.Â Ironing is very therapeutic.Â I get a long of ironing done on Wednesdays.Â (The rest of the year, forget it.Â Â It’s wrinkled clothes for me.)Â Then the phone rings andÂ my agent or editor breaks the news withÂ the long-awaitedÂ number.Â If it’s in the top-15, it’s a hurray.Â If not, it’s a long sigh andÂ my cue to move on and start focusing on the next book.Â
Because, in about a year from now,Â we get to do it all over again.Â