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Publishing Is Hard

I will soon have my book published!

 I’ve wanted to say those words for so long. Since I was in High School actually. But never seemed to get started. Not until 2014 and National Novel Writing Month or NaNoWriMo that is, when I began the six year project of writing my first book. I’ve been wanting this a long time, and I haven’t fo

oled myself about how hard it actually would be. As far as I can tell, a lot of famous writers who “burst onto the scene.” with a “breakout” novel have been studying and writing for around ten years.

I know it takes a long time. Throughout the years of learning, writing, and having people critique my chapters and my short stories, even passing my book around as a beta copy for some trusted writing friends and family to read and make suggestions. By the way, a huge thank you to all of you for actually reading AND providing constructive feedback. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard “Don’t give your book to friends or family. You’ll either hear nothing, and be left to agonize over whether they hated it, or they’ll say it was great and leave it at that.” But the people I’ve given this to have read it and made some very useful suggestions. So they deserve a huge thank you.

Anyway, I know writing is hard. It’s easy to find people talking about how hard it is to sit in a chair and write consistently from day to day, month to month, and year to year. But to me the writing part hasn’t been as hard as it seems. I’m passionate about the writing, so I seem to be able to keep it up without too much trouble. It’s the publishing part that is getting me. Not the self publish vs traditional publishing--BTW here’s a link to some great thoughts on the subject by a writer who’s given this even more thought than I have (and I’ve thought about it A LOT): JA Knorath.--or the actual nuts and bolts of doing it. I’m talking about the emotional difficulty of putting the sum total of those six years out there for one and all to see.

I feel like I’m about to strip naked and run through Time Square on a Friday night. Although I’m writing this during week three of the Covid lockdown, so maybe that wouldn’t be that hard after all. Maybe ‘baring my soul is a little clichéd, but it kind of feels that way. Way different than passing around a chapter in a workshop or even giving a beta copy to a friend. Those people are all sort of pre-approved and I can be reasonably certain they won’t be cruel. But sending all my work out to be evaluated by people who may not even like the genre and have no reason to be nice to me is a scary thing. With the cover design now complete, the line edits resolved, and the website almost live, It’s suddenly REAL. It is feeling scarier with each step closer I get to this long anticipated goal.

This thing is happening. I keep telling myself to breathe and to listen to other writers who have been through this. They almost universally say not to read reviews--which I know I’ll fail at--and to maintain an even disposition. And as much as my characters aren't me and I don’t care if people don’t like them, in a way they also are me and they are like my children. I want people to like them the way I like them. Love them. On top of that, every word, sentence, and paragraph has a little bit of me in there. My effort. My work. My agony over the best adjective in a particular place. Or the hours of watching YouTube videos of people using swords and shotguns and blowing stuff up. Ok that was fun. I’ll have to do a post about ‘research’ one of these days. But I’ve put so much into this book that, if people don’t like it, I’ll have to figure out what all that time spent on writing ment. And I don’t want to go there. Because like some people say, knowledge is an end in itself. The act of writing this book and the ones to come later, however many there might be lurking in my subconscious, should be enough. At least that’s what I’ll tell myself 

In the end it’s just like a piano recital or a reading a short piece out loud at a writing retreat. The result won't change who I am, or make my dogs hate me. My wife will still love me as she has for twenty-four years and our lives will go on being pretty cool anyway. I’ll just, maybe feel uncomfortable for a minute or two. And life will go on. Right?

I’ll let you know how it goes after the dust has settled.

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