I used to think all I had to do was sell a book, and then I’d be set. If I could just get a publisher to offer me a publishing deal, everything else would work out on its own. I have a publishing deal now. My first book is scheduled to release February 21, 2017—
And I find myself more stressed out than ever.
I’m contracted for a duology. I have to turn my second book into my editor by August first. I used to think it would be easier writing a book with the knowledge that it will be published (rather than writing a book, hoping to pick up an agent, and hoping that agent could sell my manuscript). But I’ve already sold the book I’m writing. That should make it easier.
Instead, it’s a hundred times harder. I stress over every word, worrying that those who read and enjoy the first book will be disappointed with the sequel. I worry my editor will wonder how my writing managed to start sucking majorly. I worry my agent will question why she signed me on in the first place.
And because I can’t seem to focus on the here and now, I worry about problems far into the future. Will anyone buy my first book? Will I earn out my advance? Will the book flop and the publisher decide it’s not worth the cost of printing the second?
And after I’ve finished this series, will I be able to sell another? Will I have to write four more books before one sells, just like the first time around? Will my ideas get increasingly worse?
With all these thoughts swimming for dominance in my head, it’s easy to question why I do this whole writing thing at all. But a wise man by the name of Rick Walton once said, “If you had the knowledge that none of your books would ever be published, would you still write them? If the answer is yes, then publishing is for you.”
That is what it feels like most of the time. Nothing will ever come of it, but it would be even more painful to stop writing altogether. And the truth is I need writing in my life. I can’t remember who I was before it. Publishing is beyond rewarding, and I’ve barely begun to reap the rewards.
Think of how it will feel to see a cover with your name on it. Imagine holding a hardbound book that you wrote. Imagine inspiring and touching others through the words you’ve written. Think of the book events you will attend. The signings!
I can’t speak to these yet. I’m still in the early stages. But I can share how wonderful it has been being a part of a debut group (the Swanky Seventeens are a vastly entertaining bunch). How the friendships I’ve made with other authors have already touched my life. Finding an agent and editor who are as enthusiastic about my work as I am has been magical. Connecting with eager, would-be readers and bloggers has been a blast. Receiving items as simple as copyedits and an ISBN have made more than one of my days.
And I’m not even to the really good part, where I can walk into a bookstore and see my book on the shelves. It’s so important to try and remember to be happy where we’re at. To remember how much we’ve achieved, whether we’ve just finished drafting our first ever novel, finally been offered representation after our 100th query rejection, or recently published our fifth novel. Be proud of the work you’ve done. Take your future goals at whatever pace necessary to stay sane and happy. And remember that there are so many writers out there like you. We’re here to uplift and help each other out.