Thursday, July 2, 2009

Facing Fears

How do you handle the fear in publishing? My debut novel, A Case of Infatuation, is now on the streets. I’ve sold a copy to my boss, and my extended family has purchased their copy. I am sure they didn’t sit right down and read it cover to cover so I don’t know what they think yet. Part of me wants to hear how much they love it and part of me would appreciate their honest feedback. The problem is the fear of the unknown. What if they hate it? What if it is terrible?
You spend a year writing and another six months editing and then polish the dreaded synopsis until it shines and you send it out to editors and agents looking for a nod of approval. For a while, all you get is rejections. You question, but you don’t give up. In my case, I gave myself a deadline and entered a contest. My publisher, Billie Johnson, saw something in it and I won a publishing contract. I am very grateful for that, it is a dream come true. Now the hard part begins, promoting it. I spent three glorious days at the Public Safety Writers Association Conference in Las Vegas learning the ins and out of promoting (and lots of other things). I met two of the most internet savvy women who shared their lessons. The down side of promoting is you have to face your fear. You wrote the book to bring something to people, it is time to see if there is some big glaring error you missed. You still hold your breath when someone says, I read you book. I am scared as people I know have brought the book and how will you handle it if someone doesn't like it? The fear can paralyze you. You want to buy all the copies and keep them. The hardest part of the last two weeks has been overcoming the fear. I don’t think I have it totally mastered yet but I do have a plan for critics. Just smile and say thanks for reading it and mentally channeling the best from Gone with the Wind: Scarlett O'Hara’s southern charm on the outside and Rhett Butler’s memorable quote: “Frankly,
Scarlett, I don’t give a damn,” on the inside. I would be interested in hearing how you handle it.

W.S. Gager
A Case of Infatuation – a Mitch Malone Mystery


F. M. Meredith, author said...

Wendy, I have the same trepidations as you do when my book first comes out. I'm always worried about what the reviewers I've sent it out to will say--and not all are positive.

What I want most is to entertain my readers, when I hear from one that liked the book, I'm happy.

You have a good book--you'll hear good things.

Marilyn a.k.a. F.M. Meredith

Holli said...

We are in the exact same boat. I want to entertain, but I also want to sell books, so if people don't read it immediately, I'm okay with that. I do want them to like it though, because I will want them to buy the next one. It would be extremely difficult to have to start from ground zero with the second book. My sister gave me a big hit of criticism, saying my novel had too much violence and sex. I thought those were pluses, but it makes me worry that others may agree. I figure everyone may not like it, but hopefully enough people will be entertained that they'll hang around for the future series.

BillieJohn said... will be just fine! Mitch will endear himself to others just as he did me.

But here's another GWTW quote that has always helped me...when a hurdle presented itself to Scarlett O'Hara, she often said, "I can't think about that now. I'll go crazy if I do. I'll think about that tomorrow." And then she pushed on.

Works for me!


Sunny Frazier said...

Holli, Wendy, YOU WROTE A BOOK! How many people actually finish to the end and get it published? Marketing is the fun part, and you'll find the public very accepting and in awe of you. I don't know where they think we all hide out, but they are surprised when we appear magically before them!

So, be proud of your accomplishment. If anyone wants to get snarky, stand by your novel and defend your right to express yourself. Don't take any comments personally (although I didn't talk to my neighbor for a year after she said, "Well, the book's all about YOU, isn't it!). Just as there are some books you love and some not so much, your books will be treated the same way.

But, isn't it fun to be out there signing that book and being in the spotlight? Enjoy it--then get back to work.

Sunny Frazier said...

Wendy, I'm reading the book now and laughing myself sick! Mitch Malone, tough journalist Sam Spade wannabe, noir in his own mind. Yet, he knows what the color "fuchsia" is!

Marilyn has suggested to me that all OTP authors should make an effort to read and review books from our press. I intend to do just that, on Amazon, Book Place, Good Reads and other sites.