ACTION: the jitters of writing to publish

It starts with an idea. The story. Months, years later, it’s time to take the first step. The decision to publish. It isn’t an easy decision with all the jitters running through writers once they’ve “finished” writing their story (that’s never finished), with all the options available. But it is a step that should be taken or one that will be procrastinated.

Can you tell I know stuff? Professional Procrastinator, nice to meet you.

I did meet a writer on LinkedIn recently, who took me down that side of publishing-memory-lane. She’s going through the first steps now. “Pretty new to this”, she wrote in one of our first exchanges.

You remember those words, right?

The conversation we had took me back to sitting down and trying to decide what I wanted to do. Did I even want to show the book to anyone? How am I going to publish my first “complete” novel? No idea what a beta reader was then, by the way.

I had submitted to two publishers quickly. We all have horror stories of that first time, right? All the sweating and shivering while waiting for the rejection letter we hope was a contract. By the time they got back to me – one with an offer to publish it, at a cost (ouch, I thought they paid us for that stuff, ha). The other, with a nicely worded rejection, explaining that they were not publishing that specific genre at that time (sure).

Ouch. Fine, I understand, but damn you anyway, my trampled feelings were screaming.

Ah, but the new writer I met. I did check out her work on Kindle Scout. Good first chapters. Has all the building blocks of a great read. I can’t wait to see it. It is worth checking out, if you’re a scouter. She’s good; dare you to prove me wrong.

Months, years, decades (I hope) later, we’re publishing more and more of the madness that first came into our heads and sharing them with people who probably thought we were nuts anyway.

You learn, after the first time, that half the people who know you are shocked you had the focus to finish anything, never mind writing a book. But, after they read it their eyes gloss over and they stare at you in adoration (or contempt, if they think they’re a character they don’t like) – making you think they’re crazy now. The one lingering insult is that they never knew you had it in you. But they love it and want to know when the next one is coming.

Writing and getting your work in print, in the hands of readers is like the excitement of owning your very first sports car and pushing it over a hundred miles an hour on the highway (not that I’ve done that). Heart is racing, hands are sweating, pushing the limits – prodding people you know and those you meet, hoping there are no cops (negative critics) on the road while zooming. Then you realize it wasn’t that hard (cough cough).

That is the feeling all of us work for, no matter how many people read our work. The feeling that there is someone who is reading your book, hopefully on the edge of their seats. When the excitement dies, it is time to get back inside, lock the doors, just so you could get to write more of the madness people call daydreams, while hoping no one asks you why you’re not coming to some function.

5 thoughts on “ACTION: the jitters of writing to publish

  1. Great post. I am yet to get to that stage, but I tremble in fear at the thought! I love reading from others further a long the line, so thank you for sharing.

    1. Same here, Amy, and thank you. That is why I share the good ones. More to read that way. I wish you success when you finally shake the fear away and take the first step. That’s when the fun begin.

  2. Good post! I think most problems with self-published books stem from the writer rushing the process. Traditional publishing just rejects those who are not ready yet.

    1. Thanks Steven. You make a good point. That’s why I am happy when I see new writers who have taken the time to do it right. I love reading indie, but I like reading well written, legible indie much better.

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