Publishing a Book: Sticking Your Head Up Above the Parapet


D-day approaches, the moment when I press the “e-publish” button and launch my book out into the world.  It’s one thing writing something; that’s challenging enough, but you only have to deal with minor things like writer’s block, and an inordinately powerful inner critic that makes what you write seem like crap half the time.

Then there’s all the structure to get your head around, all the editing, clarifying ideas, making sure there’s some sort of sense in what you’ve written.  Some days you love it, some days you hate it.  But always there’s that glittering prize ahead, being published, selling wildly, shooting to the top of the New York Times Best Seller list, being hounded by the press and various Important Publishers vying with each other to get you as a client.

They’re all what ifs, of course, but they’re such fun.  Then one day it’s finished.  And suddenly that lovely fantasy is set to be tested by reality, which is a great trigger for another set of what ifs which aren’t much fun at all.  Frankly they’re daunting.

What if everybody hates it, what if people read it and say “what the hell is this book about? it doesn’t make any sense”.  What if they boo and hiss and laugh at it and me.  What if everybody’s just indifferent?  What if friends and family read it and are just terribly polite or condescending.  Yes, it’s lovely.  Well I can see you tried.  More tea?  Great weather we’re having…

I guess that’s why some people prefer to dream and not do anything about the dream.  There’s no risk involved.  I don’t entirely blame them.  The problem is, though, just dreaming gets really frustrating.  All your creative energy just boiling away, the live wire in you dying to engage with the world.  Better to stand behind yourself and your work solidly, develop good armor and nurture your sense of humor.  So you can handle whatever comes at you.

So you can get out there into the world and play.  A friend said to me “it’s just the price for sticking your head above the parapet; people can see you; the ones that are looking to take pot shots at anybody will take them at you.”  She’s right, that’s all it is.

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