Last week I self-published my very first novel on the Swoon Reads site in the hope that they might think I had the potential to be a romance author under contract with them.
As an incredibly insecure author, this was terrifying for me in many ways. My fears ranged from no one reading my book, to every reader hating my book, to lots of people reading my book but no one giving it feedback either way.
So far it has been a better experience than I expected. I know that feedback may be more positive than Crossers deserves because I’m offering it for free, but I’ve been delighted by the kind words I’ve gotten–and I’m trying to note all the constructive criticism without taking it too personally.
My biggest surprise at this point is that I have gotten any attention at all. My spouse reviewed it on the site, and my closest fellow-writer friend did so too, but since I have a relatively small social network, I couldn’t count on finding other readers at all.
So far I’ve had three comments from strangers, and twenty people have added my book to their reading list. I’m obsessively checking my book every day for new comments, but the number of people who are even considering reading Crossers is better than I expected!
Of course, nothing can actually take away my insecurities. If the amount of people who are interested in the book plateaus soon, I could get surpassed by other authors and lose any chance of being noticed. If people like the book but Swoon Reads still doesn’t want to publish it, then I’ll have to find some other path as an author, which will be terrifying all over again.
I never stop worrying, and never will. But I’m feeling strangely optimistic this month, so I’m taking this IWSG day to post about the positivity in my life in addition to my usual anxiety.
People think I have potential, whether mainstream publishers do or not. A few people I don’t even know are reading my book just to help me toward my dream, because not all my hope and belief in humanity is unfounded. I’ve proven that I can write and edit a book, so no matter what happens next I’ll be able to keep trying.
I’ll do my best to remember that, as I work on my next novel and continue to face all the insecurities that try to overwhelm me every day.
Best of luck to all the insecure writers out there! May a happy 2016 be yours.