Saturday, August 18, 2007

Fear. Alternative Publishing.

Have you ever given your stuff to someone to read, while you’re sitting there? Where you feel that slightly panicky feeling, and you’re trying not to look over their shoulder, but you are? Where they laugh, and you’re like, "What page are you on? What line made you laugh?"

And then when they mention something they like about the story, you watch as they read on, a bit terrified about whether or not they’ll still like how it will turn out in the next chapter?

Well, I feel that panic in the pit of my stomach all the time!

My pseudonym gets her stuff published serially, (one chapter a week), and then the novel/la is packaged up and sold as an ebook and POD book six months or so later.

Well, I’ve been hearing from readers a lot more this year, and I have to tell you, it’s terrifying. They write me after they read Chapter One (and they won’t get Chapter Two until next week), and as nice as they are, I sit near tears wondering if I’m going to disappoint them by the last installment.

It’s just terrifying, sometimes. I’m so addicted to hearing from readers, but ... gosh, I just get so nervous. Tess Gerritsen talked about that feeling awhile back, so I bet it never, ever goes away.

Don’t get me wrong. If I don’t hear from readers, I convince myself I did a terrible job, that I let them down. But when I hear from them before the last chapter? I have this insane desire to run and do another read-through and edit, and make sure that it’s the best I can do, you know?

Getting the check, that’s cool. Signing the contract, that’s cool. On my recent essay, touching the book is cool (yes, I held the book for hours, stroked the shiny cover for hours), and so is seeing my real name in print (it’s smudged now, because I kept pointing it out to DH, as if he hadn’t seen it five minutes ago or the fifty times before that). All wonderful feelings.

Reader mail is beyond awesome--life doesn’t get much better than that. Heck, I even feel proud to pay my taxes, like it officially makes me a writer.

But I always wonder if authors who say they’re excited for their release date are kinda forcing themselves to be excited for marketing purposes.

I just got the nicest email about my first chapter, and I feel panicky and scared that I’ll let her down by the end of the novella. Part of the problem is that I wrote it months ago, so I barely remember it, even though I poured everything I could into it.

Strange, given this panicky feeling, but when a reader writes to express disappointment in something, it doesn’t bother me so much, unless I feel they’re right.

I don’t get this feeling when I write, either. Maybe that’s why I tell myself I write for the money. If I "remembered" that someone would read it after I got the check, I’d probably paralyze myself into writer’s block!

Yikes. This writing stuff is some crazy stuff. Or maybe I’m the crazy one, LOL.

Anyhow, busy weeks from he** are over! I get to write today! Actually, in two minutes I’m leaving! I can NOT wait!!!!!

Have a great weekend!

5 bonus scribbles:

Loreth Anne White 8/18/2007 04:03:00 PM  

Ah the neuroses of the writer. We are a crazy, sensitive bunch. But then I think one needs to be sensitive to write. Hang in there Spy -- you know you are not alone :) And I suspect you are right about the pre-release excitement. More like terror -- the sort of gut thrilling anxiety before leaping off the edge of a bridge attached to a bungee cord.
There is the anticipatory thrill -- and desperate hope -- it might actually prove to be a wonderful experience, then again, the rope could break, or you could bash the bridge trestles on your way down, or ..... :)

Liz Wolfe 8/18/2007 08:58:00 PM  

I think I just live in denial about the whole thing. I'm always excited when the release date is finally here. But I don't think about someone actually picking it up and reading it.
AT RT this year, I was in a group of people and one of them said "Liz Wolfe. I've read your books." I just stood there unable to breathe, wondering if I was going to throw up or pass out.

Jennifer McK 8/19/2007 06:58:00 AM  

Oh I know this feeling. I got a compliment on one of my books and the reader told me she was buying the other two sequels.
*gasp*
What if they really suck and no one (my crit partners, my editor, reviewers) told me? Now some poor reader will pay money for two awful books!
Yeah, I'm pretty nuts about it.
Luckily, she loved them. LOL.
Hang in there.

Kate S 8/19/2007 04:24:00 PM  

Oh, so nice to know it's common. I even discourage people from reading my work for fear that they'll see it sucks and be disappointed.

Probably not the best way to sell books. :)

spyscribbler 8/19/2007 04:40:00 PM  

LOL, Loreth. And you strike me as someone who loves the thrill of bungee-cord jumping! Such a good analogy, though!

Oh, Liz, denial is my choice of medicine, too. I kinda separate myself from the knowledge. But "Liz Wolfe, I've read your books!" had to be thrilling!

Oh, Jennifer, yes! I have this urge to go back and re-read, just in case!

Kate, at my first local RWA meeting, someone wanted my pseudonym because she wanted to buy my books. I said, "Oh, please, if you really want to read them, I'll give them to you. Don't buy them."

Oopsy, LOL. I'm learning to engage the filter in my brain, and turn "Don't buy them" into "Buy them," LOL.