This is how I imagine my book launch would play out if I lived in North Korea:
ME: Is he watching?
MY WIFE: Is who watching?
ME: Glorious Leader. Is he looking away?
MY WIFE: Well … he appears to be looking the other way, but Glorious Leader sees and knows all, so I guess you’re screwed on that.
ME: Shit. Okay, okay, let me think. Okay, here’s what I’m going to do: I’m going to do it anyway. I’m going to press the button. I mean, what’s the worst that could happen?
MY WIFE: You could be executed for dissidence, I suppose.
ME: Oh, thanks for the support.
MY WIFE: You asked for the worst. Hey, maybe they’ll just imprison you for life.
ME: Okay, I’m going to say something now which might shock you. I don’t believe Glorious Leader is omniscient.
MY WIFE: (gasps)
ME: I mean it, I don’t think he knows everything. Yesterday I kicked my toe on the dining table —
MY WIFE: You mean the wooden crate?
ME: Yes, the dining crate. So I kicked my toe and I said, Glorious fucking Leader.
MY WIFE: (gasps)
ME: I know, right? So I said that, and here I am, still walking around, free.
MY WIFE: Perhaps Glorious Leader is also merciful.
ME: No, he’s a cock.
MY WIFE: (nods)
ME: There, I’ve done it. I pressed the button.
MY WIFE: Well done dear. And what has that done?
ME: It has published my novel as an e-book on Amazon, that’s what!
MY WIFE: What’s Amazon?
ME: You know, the global online retailer? Biggest bookseller in the world?
MY WIFE: Biggest bookseller in the world except in North Korea, where only Glorious Leader has true access to the internet? You mean that Amazon? Honestly, I have no idea where your book has gone.
ME: So what, now it’s lost, floating around somewhere in our disconnected national intranet?
MY WIFE: Unless the Secret Police set up a fake Amazon site to trap stupid dissidents.
ME: Oh, you are just a bottomless well of support, aren’t you? You’re a pillar of strength, supporting me in my darkest hour.
MY WIFE: Don’t mix your metaphors dear. Look, maybe Glorious Leader is secretly interested in the creative output of the collective. Maybe he wants to read your novel.
ME: Nah, he’d never read my book.
MY WIFE: Now who’s being negative? Why wouldn’t he?
ME: It has vampires in it. Glorious Leader hates vampires.
That’s roughly how it went down, with two key differences: there are no vampires in my new novel, and my wife wasn’t even in the country when I hit the button. Upload book … press “publish” … now, shhhh.