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ABSTRACT: While the DSM-V does not recognize the condition of Undifferentiated Authorial Pre-release Anxiety (not to be confused with Authorial Prepublication Neurosis), this is a well-known if unofficial diagnosis in the field of Bibliopsychology. Our research presents a detailed portrait of an author in the days before the publication of his next novel, in the hope that our observations and insights might point the way to future research. While there is at present no proven treatment for UAPA, our data finds some hope for cognitive therapy, traditional reinforcement, and clinical doses of mint chocolate chip ice cream.1

SUBJECT: Jim C. Hines is the author of seven novels and approximately 40 short stories. His 8th novel Libriomancer [Amazon | B&N | Mysterious Galaxy] will be published on August 7 of this year. (See figure 1, right.) This marks the launch of his third series, and will be his first hardcover with DAW Books. At the time this article was written, the book had received generally positive blurbs and reviews. Hines is 38 years old and married. He is employed with the State of Michigan. His medical file lists a diagnosis for type 1 diabetes in October of 1998, and he recently began treatment for depression. According to one family interview, he is “a goofball.”

INITIAL OBSERVATIONS: In the past 30 days, subject has displayed an increasingly obsessive tendency toward Google searches and visits to sites such as Goodreads and Amazon.com. Below is a graph of the subject’s visits to Amazon.com to check his sales ranking over the past nine weeks (figure 2).

A statistical analysis of this trend suggests that the subject will soon devote all available time and energy to clicking the refresh button. In week 12, he will reach the singularity, merging his brain with Amazon’s database and algorithms. We predict increasingly negative outcomes in social interaction, employment, and hygiene.2

The subject has also shown signs of neglect toward email and even his blog. The majority of his time and energy seem to be devoted to interviews and guest posts. On the surface, this behavior appears consistent with the need to promote his work and generate a false sense of control, but we believe he may also be sublimating his anxiety into these projects. In layman’s terms, he appears to be “freaking the hell out.”

TREATMENT OPTIONS: It would have been unethical to ignore the subject’s clearly worsening condition. Several treatments were attempted, without success.3

  1. The Scalzi Protocol - Subject was fed approximately three pounds of bacon (cooked) each day. We found no visible improvement in mood. Subject began to record more erratic blood sugar readings, and was found taping bacon to his children. Protocol was cut short after four days.
  2. Kowal Therapy - Subject proved resistant to puppet-led counseling.
  3. The Grant-McGuire Treatment - Guided meditation was attempted with the standard protocol and script. Subject became distraught during the zombie velociraptor sequence.
  4. The Wheaton Cure - The lead researcher informed the subject that he was being a dick. Subject promptly punched the lead researcher in the fiddly bits.

CONCLUSIONS: While Undifferentiated Authorial Pre-release Anxiety is believed to be incurable, nearly all subjects recover within 2 to 12 weeks after the publication of their book. We believe there may be a neurochemical element to this recovery, and will be taking samples of the subject’s brain fluid during and after the release of Libriomancer, in the hope that these neurochemicals can be synthesized and artificially stimulated. For the time being, however, we recommend the standard precautionary steps as documented by the Gilbert & Wollheim 1998 study: preordering massive doses of the book in order to mitigate the worst symptoms of the disease.

—-

  1. Based on early experiments, we advise against the use of a placebo, as this tended to result in heightened states of violence and aggression in the subject.
  2. An intervention was attempted in week 8, at which point the subject threatened to ‘dump a nest of fire-spiders in our drawers’ if we didn’t restore his Internet access. Further interventions are negatively indicated at this time.
  3. EBear Treatment was not possible due to the unavailability of a Giant Ridiculous Dog.

Mirrored from Jim C. Hines.

Comments

( 48 comments — Leave a comment )
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barbhendee2
Jul. 25th, 2012 01:46 pm (UTC)
Oh, Jim, while do think this phenomenon is normal . . . I'm not sure people can truly understand it unless they've been through it. When you really, really, REALLY are rooting for a book you've written, and even more that your other books, you are painfully, desperately hoping it will find an audience . . . and time is crawling like a snail. You almost can't think about anything else.

I've been through this, and it's no fun.

The only experience I can maybe compare were the years when our daughter was in grade school and for a few weeks before the new school year started, I would lay awake at night, sick with worry, hoping her teacher would be nice and that she would have friends or make friends in the new classroom, and that she would not be miserable in that place all day, but would be happy.

Desperate hope over things we can't control can do strange things to our psyche.
jimhines
Jul. 25th, 2012 01:58 pm (UTC)
Thanks, Barb. And thanks for the shoutout over on Facebook, too! :-)
deborahblakehps
Jul. 25th, 2012 01:47 pm (UTC)
Just snorted coffee out my nose. Which is remarkable, since I was drinking water at the time.

This takes me back to my Psych major days. Only the B.S. stands for something different :-) [On second thoughts, considering my employment history is completely devoid of any psychology-related jobs, perhaps not.]

I usually resort to large applications of chocolate and alcohol for my UAP-rA, with occasional head-banging. I find this course of treatment to be quite effective, although somewhat detrimental to both my current writing routine and my head. No one else seems to have noted any difference at all.

Good luck! And I've got my copy ordered.
jimhines
Jul. 25th, 2012 01:57 pm (UTC)
I have an undergrad in psych, and I'm married to a counselor. The style of this post is not accidental :-)
(no subject) - deborahblakehps - Jul. 25th, 2012 02:20 pm (UTC) - Expand
comrade_cat
Jul. 25th, 2012 01:48 pm (UTC)
I LOLed.
temporus
Jul. 25th, 2012 01:48 pm (UTC)
Ooo....that release date is wonderfully convenient to happen just before my long trip. I think I've just identified my reading for the 8 hour flight out.
jimhines
Jul. 25th, 2012 01:58 pm (UTC)
We scheduled it just for you!
(no subject) - temporus - Jul. 25th, 2012 02:04 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - jimhines - Jul. 25th, 2012 02:06 pm (UTC) - Expand
beccastareyes
Jul. 25th, 2012 02:07 pm (UTC)
... It says something that my first response is 'label the axes of your graph!'. Probably that my adviser has had it drilled into me.
(Deleted comment)
(no subject) - jimhines - Jul. 25th, 2012 02:17 pm (UTC) - Expand
wulfsdottir
Jul. 25th, 2012 02:10 pm (UTC)
I'm going down on payday to the local non-chain bookstore to pre-order it. Can't wait!
jimhines
Jul. 25th, 2012 02:17 pm (UTC)
Thank you! And I really hope you enjoy it!
etcet
Jul. 25th, 2012 02:12 pm (UTC)
What, no eBear Protocol? (Subject is surrounded by adorable domestic mammals, and is tasked with reporting the interactions thereof in the style of a radio play)

Pneumatic space wedgies?

Or, to stave off the singularity... how about an auto-refresh clicky script in its own browser window?

*cheerfully unhelpful*
jimhines
Jul. 25th, 2012 02:18 pm (UTC)
D'oh! I totally should have done a Bear protocol with regular application of a Giant Ridiculous Dog.
(no subject) - jimhines - Jul. 25th, 2012 02:23 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - etcet - Jul. 25th, 2012 03:12 pm (UTC) - Expand
(Deleted comment)
mtlawson
Jul. 25th, 2012 02:19 pm (UTC)
You forget one more: "The Storm Treatment", wherein the subject was treated to conditions similar to having a massive storm blow through their area. Power is cut to the subject's house, and portable devices have their batteries removed to simulate lack of cell service/recharge capability. This may or may not include cutting the telephone wires to the subject's house.

Then, after an uncertain number of days, the subject has power restored, but in a disjointed fashion. The subject may also experience a period of power loss after the power had been restored to simulate a blackout condition.
jimhines
Jul. 25th, 2012 02:48 pm (UTC)
That's rather similar to the attempted intervention mentioned above. Said intervention did not end well for the interveners...
(no subject) - mtlawson - Jul. 25th, 2012 02:52 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - animangel - Jul. 25th, 2012 02:52 pm (UTC) - Expand
wookiemonster
Jul. 25th, 2012 02:29 pm (UTC)
FWIW, I have Libriomancer pre-ordered for my Kindle... :)
jimhines
Jul. 25th, 2012 02:48 pm (UTC)
Yay!
cathshaffer
Jul. 25th, 2012 02:40 pm (UTC)
I am on my way to deliver two giant ridiculous dogs. I believe in natural healing, and also have a lot of hair on my couch.
jimhines
Jul. 25th, 2012 02:49 pm (UTC)
Wait! Let me double-check my GRD Copay...
animangel
Jul. 25th, 2012 02:50 pm (UTC)
Hahahaha. Fantastic.
cat_collector
Jul. 25th, 2012 02:50 pm (UTC)
What, no countdown clock measuring the days, hours, minutes, seconds? I can only imagine what sort of state I'd be in under the same circumstances; I think you're doing well to get anything done!

I've pre-ordered from Barnes and Noble; and took a batch of bookmarks to DeepSouthCon. The ones that were left over traveled home to my library where a sympathetic employee (me) put them out at the reference desk. As of a few days ago, there were all gone.
jimhines
Jul. 25th, 2012 02:58 pm (UTC)
Thank you so much!!!
(Deleted comment)
rileybear67
Jul. 25th, 2012 03:41 pm (UTC)
I love this post! You have a way of making even migraine days have s smile to them. Thanks.

But. also, I LOVE your icon. May I glomm it for use?

AND... I have pre-ordered my Kindle copy! Cannot wait!

Edited at 2012-07-25 03:47 pm (UTC)
jimhines
Jul. 25th, 2012 03:47 pm (UTC)
Thanks! And help yourself to the icon.

Sympathies on the migraine!
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