Scary and publishing go hand in hand. Trust me. My novel hit bookstores last month. I know.
You think the hard part is over when you get and agent and then sell your book. But then the scary work is really just started. There are rounds of edits…thankfully! Then you wait on pins and needles to see your cover. With luck you love it (like I did!). Then there’s your author photo (I’m much more comfortable behind the camera), your bio, the acknowledgements (please, please don’t let me forget anyone!), the last minute checking of things before it goes to print. And then it’s printed. No more changes. Ever.
And then people start reading it. And that’s probably the scariest thing of all. What will they think? What will they say to others? Is my dream of being an author DOA?
The wonderful Michael Kindness on the Books on the Nightstand podcast once said that each book has a natural audience. If people don’t like a book then they’re probably outside that natural audience. And this, my friends, was my Expecto Patronum.
Those of you who aren’t Harry Potter fans (I’m sure you do exist) may not be familiar with this. In the world of J.K. Rowling, Expecto Patronum is a very powerful spell used to combat the Dementors, those ghostly forms who literally (and I do mean literally) suck the soul out of you.
Now I’m certainly not saying that people don’t like my book are Dementors. They absolutely aren’t. That goes for the agents who turned me down and editors who graciously declined my manuscript. It also goes for readers who just flat out don’t like my book. It’s the doubts that start to plague me that are the Dementors. And that’s when I pull out my Expecto Patronum. I think about Michael’s words about every book having a natural audience, and instead of letting the Dementor-esque “I suck!” tear me up inside, I just say to myself, “They’re not in the book’s natural audience. But look at all the other people who are.” And there are lots and lots of those to celebrate. Trust me, it sure beats flipping out over the whole thing.