Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Would Someone Give Me a Tranquilizer, Please?


I’ve been a part of Alex J. Cavanaugh’s IWSG since its inception. Sometimes I’ve written upbeat posts while others have shown my need for support. But even at my neediest, I was never as insecure as I am right now. The reason? My ARCs have been released, the advanced reader copies my publisher provides for critics and reviewers.

Now, all things considered—my advanced age most especially—I’m usually a pretty confident person, though with writing a little less so. I do love my story and feel pretty good about it, but ARCs released for consumption by those who might very well crucify me? Yikes! I am nearly paralyzed with apprehension.

ARCs aren’t like what we writers experience with critique partners or beta readers. Those relationships are typically well-cultivated and bear a certain amount of built-in respect and admiration. Yeah, sure, I’ve given my ARCs to a couple of friends who are published authors. I respect both their work and their following. Why wouldn’t I tap that? Frankly I’d be crazy not to. But I think I might even fear their reaction more than those strangers who are reading, because I treasure their respect as much, if not more than, their experience and influence. What if they hate it? Or maybe just don’t understand it? Or—gasp—are bored to tears? Holy crap!


And then there are those strangers who may (or may not) be poring over my darlings. I can’t even be sure they will review my work. I mean, who am I? A nobody. A debut author. An unknown. Why would they agree to review my book? So while they have a copy of my ARC, it might just end up unopened in their circular file.

Still, there will be those strangers who do indeed read it. They don’t know me. They don’t know of my struggle, of my personal experiences that led and contributed to this book. It’s just a fantasy for them. One they can criticize and condemn for being poorly written or imagined, for being underdeveloped, flat or worse—purple! I’ve worked hard on my craft over the last two years, but I’m still relatively inexperienced, and this is my first ever book.


So who am I kidding? Why did I ever think I could do this? Why am I putting myself out there to be criticized and beaten down and snickered at? Why?

Because in the end, I love my story. I believe in my characters. I’ve slaved and cried and rejoiced at every momentous mile marker, every roadblock, every failure and accomplishment. This is the next phase. Yeah, I’m scared to death, but I know and understand that this is a subjective business and not everyone will like my book. True, it might sting, and I might cry, but I also accept that as part of the journey. I am one step closer to publication, however insecure I might be.



36 comments:

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

It's just one of those things we can't control. And since we can't control it, why worry?
Don't think you have to worry about my opinion - I'm really enjoying it!

Misha Gericke said...

Hang in there and remember that it's okay if not everyone likes you book. Tastes in stories are subjective.

Good luck! :-)

fairbetty said...

This part... this insecurity... is the pain that makes it all worth it. Hang in there and good luck!

Cathy Olliffe-Webster said...

If you write like you blog, Nancy, your story will ROCK. Be strong! Eat cookies! Smile a lot! And don't fret, at least too much. You are amazing and your hard work will be rewarded.

jp said...

Don't worry about it. If you are anything like me nobody can criticise my writing better than I do.

The ladder of success has many rungs and although you may only be on the first, take heart in the fact you are already off the ground.

sydneyaaliyah said...

Just hold on to the fact that you wrote it and you love it. You have put yourself out there already with good results it sounds like, so hold on to the positive. The rest will take of itself.

JeffO said...

Holy moly, the ARCs are out already? Wow, release date is coming up fast.

Be confident, Nancy. Your story is good, your writing is strong. I expect you'll hear good things back.

Tonja said...

If you worked that hard on it, you should set it free and let people read it. (Easy for me to say - I'll be needing a sedative when I get to that point.) Congratulations!!

Lisa Regan said...

I realize I may be biased but truly you have nothing to worry about. I mean I'm sure there will be some crappy reviews, nobody publishes a book without getting a few bad reviews--not everything is for everyone, plain and simple. But you've written a truly incredible book. A pulse-pounding, page-turner as I like to think of it. I love that when I read it, I would get to another plot twist and think to myself, "Holy crap! I totally did not see that coming. How utterly brilliant!" Hopefully (for us both) the good reviews will outweigh the bad ones. No matter what you should feel incredibly proud of what you've created because it is amazing.

L.G.Smith said...

Oh, crap. I can imagine how nervous you must be. It is a different animal than having beta readers providing feedback. I had a short story published in a newspaper once and I about broke out in hives thinking about it going public. I'm sure your story is great though. Time to release it and let it go. :)

Happy Fourth too!

Dianne K. Salerni said...

I know exactly how you feel. I remember posting about this very same thing when my first book started appearing in book stores. And I kind of got slapped down by a commenter who asked, "Isn't this what you wanted? To publish a book?"

I hung my head and felt ashamed for feeling nervous, when so many people wished they were in my position.

But it IS scary. Yes, it's wonderful and exhilarating to reach that point, but it's also terrifying. Your work is out there, being judged by strangers. Big hugs to you, Nancy. You'll get through it, although I'm not sure anyone ever gets used to it. I will probably feel the same way about book #2.

Michael Abayomi said...

Wow. Actual ARCs. Congrats. Best of luck with the book. Still can't wait to read it. :D

Cassie Mae said...

You should totally be celebrating that you are creeping closer and closer to... release dates!!! EEP! Though, I bet that still doesn't take away the anxiety, lol. :)

Pretty soon you'll be walking through Walmart or the library or something and see someone holding your book, flipping through the pages and reading the back blurb and you can run up to that person, scare the crap out of them by sayin, "Guess what? I wrote that."

What? That's totally what I'd do. ;)

Kimberly Gabriel said...

Congrats! Exciting and - like you said - nerve racking all at once! I just read the beginning of MISTAKEN on your site. For what it's worth, I'm already into it. Good luck with the reviews!!

Jackie said...

Congrats on your ARC's being out in the world. How exciting! Sure, the sour opinions of others can be downright scary, but the AWESOME reviews from others will trump over them tenfold. :D

Jennifer Hillier said...

This was me a year ago - I'd tell you not to be nervous, but there's no point! It's totally normal. If it helps at all, I just started reading your book, and so far, SO GOOD! :)

Eva Gallant said...

Just hang on to the fact that someone thought you were good enough to get published. That's way more than most of us have to hang on to!

Krista McLaughlin said...

I think we're all a lot scared to put our works out there for others to read. It's natural to fear rejection, but you've made it this far. You were good enough to get published, that speaks volumes! Have faith. You can do this. :)

jamieayres.com said...

If your blog writing is any indication on your talent, then I'd say you have a winner on your hands! Stop worrying and enjoy the ride:-) Although you'll probably need to give me that same advice in a few months, lol. Happy 4th to ya

Anstice Potts said...

I can understand how scary putting your ARC's out there could be-I think I'd feel both excited and terrified if it were me. But the fear is a neccessary part of the process. I'm a dancer and before I go on stage to perform I'm grateful for the nerves- I remind myself that it shows I care about my work and if I wasn't nervous I wouldn't put the same effort in. The fact that you are feeling insecure just shows that you have high standards as a writer and that the novel is really important to you, as it should be. Your novel must be special for you to have made it this far. If you believe in it your readers will sense your passion and love it too.

D.V. Sheppard said...

Your feelings are absolutely valid - but the truth of the matter is, you're going to get great reviews, from a lot of readers who will have had the great honor of receiving early, the gift you've given the world. That's what authors do - and they wouldn't be getting their chance to tell you what they've loved if you hadn't already accomplished that fundamental fact.

Aimée Jodoin said...

Having just finished reading the ARC of your book, I have to say IT'S AWESOME. I can see all the passion and effort you put into every page.

However, I am not an unbiased stranger, and I know that this part of the industry sees tons of ARCs everyday, so it's something you can't control. Take a deep breath and know that now you have done everything you possibly can to make your novel special. It's out of your hands now, but it's been transferred to some good hands. :) You should take this time to soak up all the joy you have created for yourself in making it this far!

Eve said...

You should be very proud! I suppose it is natural to be a little anxious when all the work is done and you've put it out there..I think your book will do just fine...and remember that you are going to be published! That's a huge accomplishment and more than most of us will ever do.. Congratulations!

Joylene Nowell Butler said...

Early in my career I purposely stayed away from alcohol. For good reason, apparently. Some of my most cherished authors are alcoholics. I used to think wine went hand in hand with writing. I'm kiddin! I just want you to know, Nancy, that you're not alone in your insecurities. But I promise, everything's going to be okay.

Suzie F. said...

Wow, Nancy! Look how far you've come. ARCs! I understand the insecurity but try to step back from it and allow yourself to enjoy what you've worked so hard for. Congratulations!

Alleged Author said...

And I bet people will love your stories and characters as well. Another great book to look forward to in 2012! :)

Karen Elizabeth Brown said...

As insecure as we are and no matter how much we slave and cry, the scarey thing is: what will they read from the book we give them? I hope it goes well for you and your book.

Lynda R Young said...

How exciting and scary that your ARC is out!!! I think it might be the most terrifying time in an author's career. Best of luck. I'm sure you'll wow everyone!

cleemckenzie said...

ARCitis is chronic. It reappears with each publication. There's no medication and no treatment. There's no cure. *Pat Pat* One bright note: There's a huge Support Group.

Empty Nest Insider said...

You should be so proud that you've come this far, and try to be confident that everything will fall into place. I know it's easier said than done, but you've overcome too many obstacles to let anything stand in your way. We're all rooting for you! Julie

Candilynn Fite said...

Gosh, I'd bet that even the most established author still gets nervous. Quite the norm, I believe.

Here's a cyber "chill pill" *tossing your direction*

Did ya catch it??

Siobhan said...

I'll be putting your book on my reading list. Sounds like a good read.

Melodie Wright said...

Good luck, Nancy! Unfortunately, there's no easy answer to your stress. I just read an article about an author whose newest book was panned by the NYT book critic - and the critic had misread a key part of the book. (!) Check out yahighway.com for the story...a good reminder that critics are just people, too!

Lexa Cain said...

Your book will find the niche and the following it was meant to. Don't worry. Believe in yourself, keep writing, and do whatever makes you happy. :-)

Heather M. Gardner said...

Ugh. I don't envy you. Wait, I do! I'm happy for you but these are just growing pains and you will get through them. At least that's what you keep telling me! :) And, you're never wrong, right? In your advanced years! HA!
Hang in there, baby!
Heather

Hope Roberson said...

Congratulations on making it this far! Holding that ARC has got to feel amazing! And I'm sure people will praise your story and your hard work :) I've left you an award on my blog today :)