There I sat in front of a computer screen with my finger hovering above the left click button. I had spent over a year writing and illustrating.
My book had been edited and re-edited. I had lived and breathed my book for so long that I would dream about it every night and sometimes during the day. It all came down to this. One click and my book would be published. One more click and my book would be announced to the world. I felt excited, anxious, and terrified all at the same time.
After a long deliberation and some much needed encouragement from my husband, I did it. My book was public. I was so nervous about the response I would receive from social media. What if I get negative comments, or worse, no comments at all? It was over a day before I gathered the courage to open my social media accounts again to see the response. When I did, I was pleasantly surprised by the large amount of likes, comments, and private messages congratulating me on my book release.
Like all artists, authors put themselves into their work. When you finally do release that book you have put so much time into, you feel completely vulnerable. This to me is the most frightening part of the process. I have made a list of a few things that helped me when releasing my first few books in hopes to encourage other new authors.
1. Make sure that you have had your book edited and read by others outside your family and friends.
No matter how many times you look through your book, you will always find something you missed. By placing more eyes on your book, you will help ensure a higher quality product that will keep your readers interested.
2. Try not to take criticism personally.
It is sometimes hard to handle criticism when you have put so much heart and time into something. However, criticism, especially constructive criticism, only helps build you and make you stronger. When you do get criticized, ask yourself if it is something that you can build from or not. If not, just ignore it. If you decide you can build from it but are having difficulty separating yourself from the emotion of the moment, save it and come back to it another day when you are thinking clearer.
3. Bad reviews aren’t necessarily bad.
The fact is, eventually you will get some bad reviews. However, bad reviews are just as important as good reviews. Bad reviews show that there is a variety of people reading your books, not just your friends and family. This will make potential buyers more likely to consider your book. When you do get those reviews, just remember that everyone has different tastes. Just because someone may not have personally enjoyed your book, it does not mean that it is a bad book.
4. Never forget the reason you began writing.
With the long “to do” list that comes with publishing and marketing, it can become easy to lose sight of the whole reason you began writing. Most likely, you did not set out to write your first story to gain recognition or the approval of others. Think of what inspires you most to be an author and write it down. Post this somewhere near your computer or even make it your desktop or background image so that every time you sit down to write, publish, or market, you are kept grounded.
5. Join a support group.
As an author, the thing I am most grateful for is a strong support group. Having a network of fellow authors to share struggles and successes with is important. You will also find that you are able to learn from each other and grow. Not to mention authors know how to have fun! You will quickly realize you are not alone in this journey.
It is scary to not have a firm knowledge of how your books will be received, but it is even scarier to never discover what they could be and who they could reach. Keep writing!
Author of “Talking Tales: The Bright Red Tricycle“ and “Talking Tales: Cricket’s Guitar“