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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I can't seem to do it.  I've put in the work, I've written two books, edited them, read them, proofed them, hired them out for covers and formatting, and I'm just dreading them coming back and having to upload them.  Every day that it's delayed while I'm waiting is torture, but I know the worst is going to be putting them up.  A lot of people seem to really look forward to publishing, and maybe I should have at least dipped my toes in querying or something, but I just didn't want to go traditional so I didn't see the point in that. 
Maybe it would have thickened my skin.  As it is, when I get the finished books back, all ready to upload, I feel like I'm going to be laying on top of my laptop saying 'Mine! Mine! Mine! Noooo let me go!  Only for meeee!' while my husband tries to peel me off and remind me I wrote them to share with others. 
Do any of you struggle with being hard on yourselves?  I saw some did in the thread Hugh Howey made about dreading publishing.  I should be proud of my work, writing is what I've always been able to do easily, and yet...I feel like I'm going to be led naked to the stocks where people can throw tomatoes at me.  And I'll die.
I made my way through my bachelor's in Psychology while ignoring teachers in the couple of writing classes I took for electives that told me to reconsider my career, told me to think about being a writer.  No, I said.  I'll be a lawyer.  My whole family is full of engineers. We are not artists.
When I realized that maybe someone who writes every day for four years, just for the heck of it, might be a writer, I decided to give it a try for real before applying to law school. 
I actually told my parents I was unemployed rather than tell them I was writing.  I would rather they think me a hobo.  It's not that I think other writers are below hobos, it's just that I'm a coward. 
So how do you do it?  How do you find the audacity to roll off your laptop and let your work go?
 

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Heh, heh. Some of us are a lot more hubristic than you are, Robin. I had no trouble at all hitting that button. I realized later the book hadn't been ready to go, at that point. Too bad I wasn't more cautious, as you've been! In contrast to me, you've crossed your Ts and dotted your Is. You sound ready, and you should go for it.  :)
 

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robin_hart said:
I should be proud of my work, writing is what I've always been able to do easily, and yet...I feel like I'm going to be led naked to the stocks where people can throw tomatoes at me. And I'll die.

So how do you do it? How do you find the audacity to roll off your laptop and let your work go?
The reality is you're putting your work out there with millions of other books. Most people won't throw tomatoes. They'll just ignore your books.

I let my work go because (1) it's a blast and (2) the money is paying my car insurance. ;D
 

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I used a pen name  :D

Seriously, though, even if everyone absolutely hates your work, who cares?  Really, who cares?  You will just be one more person who threw stuff out there and it didn't work.  There are hundreds of thousands of failures every day and you will be no worse off than you were before you published it, right?  

I know that sounds weird, but that's how I think about it, because yes, I am/was terrified as well.  These books are our babies.  Blood, sweat and tears...and all that.  We want people to like it.  But the point of the matter is, not everyone will.  Just like you don't like every book you read, not everyone is going to like your book.  You have to just realize that and go for it.

Someone else recently told me that you will never learn why people don't like it until you do it.  You will learn from each book you write.  Ever gone back and looked at your old writing? From like high school?  If you haven't, go do that now.   You will find that IT SUCKS.  It seriously sucks.  Because you have grown as an adult, you have learned a lot, and you subsequently will write better in your later work.  The same is true for this book of yours now.  In 20 years you will look back and think, dang I am embarrassed I published that because it sucks.  Because you will have become an even better writer by then.   The only way to learn and move forward professionally, is to move forward and learn from your mistakes.

Hope that helps.  That's how I psyche myself up.

 

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It's a book.  Chances are good it isn't going to cure cancer or create world peace.

Allow it to be what it is.

The reality of it is that some people will love it.  Some people will hate it.  Some people will be kind.  Some people will be complete jerks.

The reality is -- how those people choose to react to your book has nothing to do with you.  It tells volumes about them (no pun intended) but it says nothing about you.

I hit the publish key thinking that it would be a good story to tell my grandkids.  125,000+ sales later -- it's a REALLY good story to tell my grandkids.  

I've been told my writing sucks.  Mostly by other writers.  Okay.  They are more than entitled to their opinion.  But the lady that sent me an email that said that she laughed all the way through chemo reading my books -- her opinion is much more important.

Sheila
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Ha ha you're right.  Thank you for the replies, everyone.  Maybe everyone will ignore them and I'll go to law school, whistling like nothing ever happened...but I'll probably still be writing, and that's what matters I guess in the end.  The writing part I love.  The part where I'm saying independently that my work is good enough to go out in the world, when I'm a highly self-critical person, makes me expect someone to come to my house to throw a tomato in my face and say 'how dare you!'.
 

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The problem to overcome isn't tomatoes, it's what happens to those delusions and dreams writers have BEFORE they publish, if nobody wants to read what they've written. That's not an easy thing to deal with. Usually, family and friends know the author is writing a book, and they are supportive, yet the author fears and rightfully so in most cases that behind his back they are skeptical. Nobody in our family ever did anything noteworthy, what gives me the audacity to think I can? That sort of thing. The rejection will hurt, if it comes, the dreams will turn to ash and be replaced by the bitterness of being "just another slob who thought they could write". Agony for years and years, without even the modicum of success a Selieri had in Amadeus. At least he was the patron saint of mediocrity. If your book doesn't sell, if nobody buys it, you'll be left in a private darkness in Dante's ninth level of hell with the rest of the talentless souls, knowing nothing will ever again offer up the kind of hope that book did before you hit publish and verified your lack of talent.

The again, someone might read it, and you might brighten up their day and they'll have YOU to thank for it. Is that worth it? Is it worth the risk? Because, if you DON'T hit the publish button, then you're in that ninth level of hell anyway. You just have a crutch to prop you up, "I could've been a writer, but I never tried."
 

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robin_hart said:
Ha ha you're right. Thank you for the replies, everyone. Maybe everyone will ignore them and I'll go to law school, whistling like nothing ever happened...but I'll probably still be writing, and that's what matters I guess in the end.
No! Don't do it! If I can give you any advice, it's that.

(Just kidding...I'm a lawyer, and I'll probably never quit the day job, but there's a reason why I write fiction in my spare time...)
 

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I doubt if this is any comfort, but before someone can like it or hate it they have to notice it first.  The most likely outcome is that among the ten thousand or so new books that are published every month no one will pay a bit of attention to it.  It's a bit like everyone in Times Square on New Year's Eve holding up a book and hoping someone will notice theirs.  So I wouldn't be too scared of the critics.  Given what I know now, I'd be a lot more scared that absolutely nothing will happen.  Good Luck.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
vrabinec said:
The problem to overcome isn't tomatoes, it's what happens to those delusions and dreams writers have BEFORE they publish, if nobody wants to read what they've written. That's not an easy thing to deal with. Usually, family and friends know the author is writing a book, and they are supportive, yet the author fears and rightfully so in most cases that behind his back they are skeptical. Nobody in our family ever did anything noteworthy, what gives me the audacity to think I can? That sort of thing. The rejection will hurt, if it comes, the dreams will turn to ash and be replaced by the bitterness of being "just another slob who thought they could write". Agony for years and years, without even the modicum of success a Selieri had in Amadeus. At least he was the patron saint of mediocrity. If your book doesn't sell, if nobody buys it, you'll be left in a private darkness in Dante's ninth level of hell with the rest of the talentless souls, knowing nothing will ever again offer up the kind of hope that book did before you hit publish and verified your lack of talent.

The again, someone might read it, and you might brighten up their day and they'll have YOU to thank for it. Is that worth it? Is it worth the risk? Because, if you DON'T hit the publish button, then you're in that ninth level of hell anyway. You just have a crutch to prop you up, "I could've been a writer, but I never tried."
I LOVE this. I don't relate to it completely, because I fear being known much more than I fear obscurity. If I fail, my family will still only know I'm a hobo. If I succeed in reaching the people I wrote to reach, then my family and friends will still only know I'm a hobo. But either way I'm not accomplishing anything by laying on my laptop, except possibly creating the need for a new laptop.

And I know I should fear everyone ignoring it, but I really, really don't. The fact that it will probably get ignored, at least for a good while, is quite soothing, and I appreciate people pointing out the reality of it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Amanda Brice said:
No! Don't do it! If I can give you any advice, it's that.

(Just kidding...I'm a lawyer, and I'll probably never quit the day job, but there's a reason why I write fiction in my spare time...)
I missed this, but isn't it funny how many lawyers are writers? Makes me think.
 

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I started 1 year ago.  I tried to write my first book 18 months ago, hated the book and shelved it. Forgot about it and enjoyed the hollidays.  My souse saw a small add for a contest and said, "enter it, write 'your' story"...well, my story has always and I mean always been greeted with a good deal of derision for the better part of twenty five years.  I knew "what" she wanted me to talk about, but I simply couldn't tell this story.  There is a "Wonderful Life" element wrapped up in it but in my case I let go of the bridge before I encountered Clarence and my story was savage and violent, nothing sweet and romantic at all about it.    I figured out how to tell it in a short novel.  

The story grew beyond the bounds of a short so I never entered it.  I decided to publish it.   I had a panic attack.     I was ordered when I was a kid to never speak of it the night I took my own life with a hunting rifle.     I remember crying on the couch next to my wife, "I can't" that's twenty five years of insitnct tryig to protect me from people calling me names etc....   so I floated the book under a pen name and to be honest, I was ashamed for being that afraid of something I worked so hard to write and I was proud of.  I liked the pen name.  I took my son's name and a name from my wife's side of the family.    But, I still hated I was that afraid I was going to be censored once again.   I fell, I was broken and hurting...  But, I rose up over it and survived it to never again fall to it.   I was suprised, I sold 200 copies of my first book.   People read it!!  They liked it!   They messaged me through F/B and encouaged me to face my giant.   I sat down and wrote about my battle with something people are afraid of, won't talk about it, hate, say it'll send you to hell if you die from it... etc/etc/etc... In fact my anxiety was so bad it triggered terrible bouts of depression, PTSD attacks I ended up in the hospital in May.   I got messages on my F/B wall, "Stop writing the d*mn book"  I had to camp out infront of the cave and stir up that old monster to see it, hear it, smell it once more.        I finished it.     No pen name.  My full legal name on the front cover, telling the world  "I fell when I was teen.  I was broken and hurt.   I learned a lesson.   Life is a gift and worth the living.      If you are hurting like I did, don't do it.        My point, the thing you are most afraid of if you can over come it, usually has the greatest rewards attached to it.............. please publish it.  It's so worth it.
 

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It doesn't take courage. Foolishness is the most helpful attribute. Blind optimism works, too.

What's the worst thing that can happen? Nothing.

You can live with that.  :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Christian Price said:
I started 1 year ago. I tried to write my first book 18 months ago, hated the book and shelved it. Forgot about it and enjoyed the hollidays. My souse saw a small add for a contest and said, "enter it, write 'your' story"...well, my story has always and I mean always been greeted with a good deal of derision for the better part of twenty five years. I knew "what" she wanted me to talk about, but I simply couldn't tell this story. There is a "Wonderful Life" element wrapped up in it but in my case I let go of the bridge before I encountered Clarence and my story was savage and violent, nothing sweet and romantic at all about it. I figured out how to tell it in a short novel.

The story grew beyond the bounds of a short so I never entered it. I decided to publish it. I had a panic attack. I was ordered when I was a kid to never speak of it the night I took my own life with a hunting rifle. I remember crying on the couch next to my wife, "I can't" that's twenty five years of insitnct tryig to protect me from people calling me names etc.... so I floated the book under a pen name and to be honest, I was ashamed for being that afraid of something I worked so hard to write and I was proud of. I liked the pen name. I took my son's name and a name from my wife's side of the family. But, I still hated I was that afraid I was going to be censored once again. I fell, I was broken and hurting... But, I rose up over it and survived it to never again fall to it. I was suprised, I sold 200 copies of my first book. People read it!! They liked it! They messaged me through F/B and encouaged me to face my giant. I sat down and wrote about my battle with something people are afraid of, won't talk about it, hate, say it'll send you to hell if you die from it... etc/etc/etc... In fact my anxiety was so bad it triggered terrible bouts of depression, PTSD attacks I ended up in the hospital in May. I got messages on my F/B wall, "Stop writing the d*mn book" I had to camp out infront of the cave and stir up that old monster to see it, hear it, smell it once more. I finished it. No pen name. My full legal name on the front cover, telling the world "I fell when I was teen. I was broken and hurt. I learned a lesson. Life is a gift and worth the living. If you are hurting like I did, don't do it. My point, the thing you are most afraid of if you can over come it, usually has the greatest rewards attached to it.............. please publish it. It's so worth it.
Thank you thank you thank you. This is what I needed to hear. I need to realize there are mental reasons for why I'm running, and face them. You captured how I feel, and the soothing influence of knowing that someone else feels the same as you is exactly what I hope to give others with my book. Right on Christian.
 

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I drink sometimes.  When I am alone I can drink myself into delusions of grandeur.  I can have arguments with detractors who aren't there to argue back.  I assail them with my wit and my unbreakable belief that my prose is platinum and when I'm at the height of it I hit publish and dare any of my make-believe critics to question me.  I shake my fist at them.  The long and short of it is, they never question me and I never have to doubt my belief in my work. 

Stay sober when vetting your work though because the house of cards you make when building towards publishing will shatter into a thousand pieces and be scattered into the wind if you find errors, inconsistencies, or any kind of flaw that flies in the face of that paper tiger you've made of yourself.

So I guess what I'm trying to say is, have courage on hand.  Liquid courage. 
 

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Everyone's different. It took no courage for me. Like you, I had rejected the idea of traditional publishing long ago. For me that was because everything the effort would require was a thing I'd hate doing and there were other ways to make that much money. But when I saw what Amazon was allowing, I couldn't get my already finished books up fast enough. The way I saw it I could leave the books sitting on my hard drive, and when I died, they'd go to the dump with the machine, unread by anyone. Or I could put them on Amazon and maybe a few people would read them and they'd make a couple of bucks I really needed.

So I published, no fear, no expectations even, but a thought that it was worth trying to see what would happen. And it changed my life for the better.
 

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Never let unreasonable fears stand in the way of your dreams.
 

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“Fear can make you do more wrong than hate or jealousy... fear makes you always, always hold something back.”
― Philip K. Dick, VALIS
 

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Ah, the fear of success. I've been there. What if it goes out there and does well and I can never do that well again? Also, the whole, what if no one loves it as much as I do? No one WILL love it as much as you do. That is why I love self-publishing. I'm on the job to see that product descriptions are right, that price changes have gone through, that the right cover is available. The fear of success can stop us from doing anything. Because doing nothing is a choice too.
 
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