Tuesday, November 3, 2015

IWSG: Building a map through murky territory



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Insecurities have sort of become a way of life. Not that it’s something we need to spend all of our time trying to hideto be clear, I think a little airing of the wounds we take on as writers is good for the soulbut at some point I feel like maybe there’s a line we need to draw in the sand and step over. Let me explain:

I’m releasing a book. This has me nervous and more than a little bit anxious. This is totally normal. There’s only one real problem with the nervousness: I want to do this again. Specifically, I want to release a book again in the future.

And if I’m really lucky, I’d like to do it again.

And again.

And again. ETC.

You get the idea. I want to be releasing books until I’m old and grey. And if releasing books turns me into a wreck, well, that’s no good, so it’s time for some new perspectives. I’m trying to remember how I handled all those years of standing up in front of large groups of people when it scared me. How did I get through giving talks at conferences, playing solos in the band, putting on plays? What did I use to survive those?

Is this the same kind of anxiety?

Sort of, but there seems to be this feeling around a book release, the all or nothing feeling. It feels like my whole writing career rests on this one release. Of course, to be fair, I will be judged on this. I know that. I know that people will forever associate my name with this book, so if it flops, well, I might be shopping for a new pen name in a couple of months. But, more likely, this book will be average, giving me an opportunity to try again with the next book. And if that one is average, or fair, I might be lucky enough to try again.

Part of what made the performances so nerve smashing was the idea that it was a one shot chance, and that just isn’t the case with books. I’m not saying ignore the book and do no marketing. I’m saying that even if this book doesn’t break the world record for debut sales, there is almost certainly going to be other opportunities, opportunities that I will need to capitalize on.

So for this one, I’m going to try to do the things that everyone told me to do before a playing in a concert: take a breath. Take a look around at what’s happening, maybe remember some of these sign posts for next time so it’s easier to navigate the sea of misplaced emotions, and enjoy the moment. That’s right, enjoy it. How many times am I going to get to release a book in my life? Hopefully a lot, but there’s no guarantee, so I should probably spend some time actually enjoying it.

Anyhow, that’s what I’m working on this month. How about you?

5 comments:

  1. Yeah, you released a book! That is something to celebrate. I like the advice someone gave me about marketing: it's a marathon, not a sprint. So take the time to enjoy the good stuff.

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  2. Although I'm still working on my first book, I'm going to try and avoid the "it's all or nothing" feeling. I figure that it's important to get multiple books out there with the idea that different readers will enjoy different kinds of books. So no one book will define me. good luck with your book release.

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  3. Since I've done both (have a book release and stood on a stage to perform) here's the best advice I can offer - don't think about it. Really. Once you get to that moment, just perform. Just do what you need to do, revel in it, and don't stop to think about it.

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  4. This is also the only time you'll ever get to release your *first* published book, so yeah, you should definitely enjoy it. ^_^

    Also, while a lot of authors are known for the first book they got published, not all of them are. I can think of quite a few who only started getting recognition when they'd been around for a while, and the books that made their career aren't the ones they first put out. I do hope that everything goes well with this one and you get to put out more, though.

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  5. Absolutely to everything you said! I want to release many more books throughout my life, but I've been told the anxiety never ends. If you're hugely successful, you are contractually obligated to go on a book tour, so you have anxiety about that. For the 90 percent of other published authors, you'll be scrambling to get just one more person to read it. I've learned that standard booksignings are mostly a waste--better off to do one big party where all your loved ones and friends show up...but that doesn't work with every book because eventually your loved ones say, "Another book launch party?" I'm going to try getting a table at local craft fairs--other authors seem to have luck with that. But I'll be selling my older books with bookmarks and promotional stuff about my new books to hopefully get the word out!

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