On Thursday afternoon three boxes of books were delivered to my home. I was almost trembling as I opened up the first box. I knew what was in it... but I was worried about so many things: would they be printed properly? Would the cover "work" on an actual physical book? Would there be a massive glaring typo on the first page?
Thankfully, all is well. The books are fine. The cover looks fantastic, and so far I haven't found a typo (but I just know they're there, somewhere!)
Here is a photo of a relieved author:
Then other fears set in: OK, I ordered 60 review copies of my book and I need to find recipients for them all. Many are already ear-marked for various newspapers and magazines ( I know, probably a bit naive of me, but really, what's the point in not trying?), and of course all those wonderful book bloggers.
My next fear: what if people hate it? Worse, what if people don't read it? Worst, what if it's universally ignored? (The reality for most books, of course)
Then I realised, if my book is ignored, and that is pretty much the worst case scenario, I have nothing to fear. I'll be a few quid down. I'll be disappointed. But disappointment and being a bit out of pocket are truly small prices to pay in exchange for the experience of bringing out my own book. All that work, all those hours, all the fretting - it's taught me so much about writing and publishing and how a book comes together. That I've been the driving force behind that is something I'm proud of. Really proud.
Here's a photo of a proud author:
It's not the best novel ever written. It's not the worst. But it's mine, it's the best I'm capable of at this point in my career. I've given it 100%, and I have not one single regret about embarking on this self-publishing venture. In fact I think more authors should give it a go, if they have the means and the curiosity, even just for one of their books. It's (not a great word, but will have to do), empowering.
Sometimes we writers can feel like a cog in a corporate machine. Sometimes we feel we are the least important person involved in the production of our books. Sometimes we hate the cover, or we don't like our editor's ideas. We can feel steered in a direction we don't actually want to go in. Our publication date can be disadvantageous. And we have no control over any of this. The lack of control can be frustrating, and even a little bit frightening*
It's been fabulous to let go of all these issues. It's been eye-opening to take back the control. It's not been perfect, but it's been GOOD.
Thanks for reading XX
*I finally understand the implications of my INFJ personality!