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Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Dear Scared Writer

Dear Scared Writer,

This post stems off my last post: Dear Lazy Writer because while some may not do certain things after their book is published because it’s too much work, others may just be scared. If there are certain things about publishing that scare you, but you still want to publish your book then take a deep breath and read on.

Fear #1 - Beta Readers / Critique Partners

When you’ve edited your book as much as you can by yourself it is necessary to seek help by asking talented writers for their eye. Doing this can be so nerve-wracking (I know it is) but it is a MUST. I promise that you’ll learn a lot and your book will be all the better for it.

First, only approach writers you admire and know through blogging or other writing communities. After they agree to look at your book, send it to them with your expectations (What do you want them to do? Check for grammar, look for plot holes?). And there’s nothing wrong with letting them know how nervous you are. They’ll understand. Then keep busy with another WIP or hobby until you hear back.

Before you open their email, take a deep breath and try to slow your hammering heart. Read what they have to say while keeping in mind that it’s their opinion and the things they say are suggestions. Also scroll through the document to read any comments. Seeing all the red can be discouraging but once you buckle down and focus, you’ll see many of their suggestions make sense. When you finish revising, you’ll feel more confident in your story. You just have to get over that initial fear.

Fear #2 - Querying Agents

Many writers are afraid of submitting their book for consideration. If you let this fear consume you, you’ll never realize your dream of being a published author. Don’t let the fear of rejection stop you. We are all rejected. It’s true. JK Rowling and C.S. Lewis received many rejections before publishing their first book, but they didn’t give up. The same is true of every best-seller.

Take the time to perfect your manuscript and query letter, research agencies, find the appropriate agent for you and read their guidelines. When you submit, remember that you don’t know them and they don’t know you. As much as they're faceless, you’re faceless. Any rejection you get is NOT personal. They are only looking for the book that they can be invested in and love even after reading it a few times.

Your book could be great but not right for that specific agent. Keep looking, keep believing, and keep submitting! Chalk up each rejection as a badge of honor. Once you get enough, you’ll move from aspiring writer to agented writer.

Fear #3 - Reviews

Reviews of our books can make us bite our nails, especially if they’re one or two stars. The same faceless rule for agents applies for reviews, as does the opinion rule for beta readers. Whatever is said by a reviewer won’t be shared by everyone. What one reader hates another may love, and vice versa. That’s the beauty of individuality.

Don’t ever let a bad review bring you down. It can be painful but it’s also selective. Read a good review you got for the same title. Better yet, hop on over to one of your favorite books by another author and read their worst reviews. See? Every author gets them.


QUESTION: What about writing and publishing scares you?

Author of Hurricane Crimes, 30 Seconds, Ghost of Death, and Witch of Death. Blogger. Reader. Auntie. Vegetarian. Cat Lover.


mshatch said...

I enjoy the good and bad reviews. Reading them all gives me a better sense of what readers enjoyed about the book, and what they didn't. And it's so true about reviews being subjective. I've seen bad reviews for books I've loved to death and good reviews for books I couldn't stand. Very few books are loved by everyone.

Chrys Fey said...

@mshatch Good and bad reviews have their merits. :)

Jeffrey Scott said...

Nothing about writing scares me. I've been doing it for 30 years now. But progressing beyond that is my problem. I'm worried it's not good enough. I've edited my original story so much, it's probably indistinguishable from the original manuscript (though the theme is the same).

I think fear of the unknown is my biggest problem. Fear I'll not be good enough, or someone will simply tell me it's not good or worse, that I'm a crap writer and should give it up. I know if I don't submit to anyone, I'm already telling myself no and not letting anyone else have their say. And that really isn't fair to anyone.

Liz A. said...

Good points. It's just a matter of pushing through and keeping on.

Nicola said...

I tend to battle more with organising all the 'stuff' in my head, rather than being scared. Unjumbling the jumble. But I've put a few techniques into place so that I become as functional and productive as possible. Great post. Thank you!!

Chrys Fey said...

@Jeffrey, I hope this post helped you then. And I hope that one day you'll move past writing and editing your book and you take that wonderful step toward submitting it. :)

@Liz, thanks!

@Nicola, staying organized can be tricky.

diedre Knight said...

Excellent point you made about the importance of an editor, Chrys! And if you think about it, your editor is your very first - and possibly last, bad review and you still have the opportunity to make changes:-)
If we go about the process knowing we'll not please everyone, but that there are readers for every writer it's all a lot easier to endure. It's what I tell myself anyway, when staring at my inbox with a hammering heart;-)

Chrys Fey said...

@diedre, that is a GREAT way to look at an editor. It's very true. Writers have to want to be able to fix their story when an editor suggests changes or points out flaws. If they don't, they'll suffer.

And you're right again. It is easier to publish and go through all those scary things knowing that we can't please everyone. It's a freeing thought. :)

Yolanda Renée said...

Honestly, I was to much of a novice to be afraid. I usually stepped right into it, and sometimes literally. LOL But it's all about learning, and learn I did!
Great Advice!
I'm just getting caught up! LOL

Chrys Fey said...

@yolanda, that's good. Usually novices are full of fear.