Many moons ago, back when I lived in Vancouver, I had the pleasure of attending a talk given by Natalie Goldberg. She said this and it still resonates for me (I’m paraphrasing):
When you are writing, focus on writing. When you publish, focus on publishing.
She said this to address those pesky publishing concerns that cause writer’s block while you are in the midst of your creative milieux.
Meaning: the self doubt that sneaks up on you and makes you question everything you are doing because, god forbid, what you are writing CANNOT POSSIBLY BE MARKETABLE (*gasp of horror*) SO YOU MIGHT AS WELL GIVE UP.
I myself have struggled with the whole concept of ‘marketability’ and ‘worth’.
When you devote so much of yourself to a project, of course you will occasionally wonder: what the heck am I doing this for? Is it worth it?
On a personal and creative level, sure it’s worth it! The answer is an emphatic YES!
But when you think about publishing (indie or traditional) and the idea of people (maybe even lots of them) reading your book (maybe even people you know), then I think it’s only human to wonder if they are going to like it or not.
One star on Goodreads? Five stars?
Who the heck knows!?
The truth is that once a book goes out into the world, the author is done with it. DONE. It leaves the realm of the author and enters the realm of the reader, who will interpret and judge it however they will, willy nilly.
Out of my control. Not my concern.
My job, as always, is to stand by my book. Stay with my writing.
So to Natalie’s quote above, I would add this: when writing, focus on writing, and when publishing, focus on publishing…and when doing both, support your vision. Tweak as needed, consider advice wisely but ultimately, stand up for what is yours.I must remember this as I enter the Publishing Fray.
I’m the one with the sales pitch. I’m the one who needs to argue in favour of my book like I’m some kind of hot shot courtroom lawyer.
This is not the time for maybe, perhaps or um, idunno–but rather my book rocks, my book is awesome bravado. Leave the self doubt for late night cry sessions. (Or, better yet, channel it into your next novel!)
In a recent, delightful conversation with @lisa_donahue about writing and publishing, she said something that I intend to carry with me as I head forth into the ying-yang of query letters/rejection letters.
“No room for shyness in publishing. Bold and friendly. :)”
That’s the name of the game!
So, lift that hat up, girl! (see comic #1 above) and build that lemonade stand if you have to (see comic #2)!
Believe in your book (product)–as you have believed in your book all along.
*now excuse me while I go put on Katy Perry’s Firework and dance with confident derring do all around the room*
PS. I made these comics originally back in 2010 but the ‘perils’ they depict still ring oh-so-true, so I’m using them again!