Thursday, July 21, 2011


"I'm afraid my book isn't ready to query and if I query it's too soon, ruining my chances."

"I'm afraid no one will like my writing or the stories I have to tell."

"I'm afraid I'll never land an agent no matter how many books I write or how many books on craft I read."

Not necessarily my fears, though I do worry about these sorts of things from time to time.

What are you afraid of?  Are you afraid of failing, of rejection?

Me?  I'm afraid of success.  I'm afraid of being so successful it's no longer possible to have meaningful interaction with people who genuinely enjoy the books I publish.  (In theory since I am neither published nor soon-to-be-published.)

I have been to four author signings in my life.  Three of these were for the same author.  Of these four, these three were my favorites.

These three were held in small-ish bookstores with a hundred people, maybe 150.  Pretty small.

The other was in a high school auditorium.  Probably the only place available for not much money that could accommodate the hundreds of people coming to this.

I got my book signed at teh three for the one author.  I didn't get my book signed at the other.

I had a nice little conversation with the author at each of the three of their signings I attended.

I never even said a word to the other author at their signing.

This huge signing, where people would have been there well into the night (on a school night and the author was a MG/YA author), like 11, to get their book signed, left me with a fear of succeeding.

I came away from this signing with the decision that I wanted to be mid-list with a devoted fanbase who allowed me to keep publishing because I always brought reliable sales.

Is this fear rational?  Probably not.  Does this post kill my chances of publishing?  Probably not though it might make it a bit more challenging when I go on the agent hunt.  But I have to be honest with myself about my goals in my career and about my fears.

What about you?  What are you afraid of in this whole publishing journey?


  1. I can totally relate to all of your fears. I worry about success-not that I think I would be hugely successful. But I worry about handling all the writing on deadlines, marketing, etc of a writing career while holding down a demanding full time job and taking care of my family. I'm glad I'm not the only one who wonders about success.

  2. Wow. You must have been in my head when you wrote this.

    Me? I am scared of success, and I have no reason why. Someone once told me that I hate change and will do everything in my power to keep things "status quo."

    I know it's wrong, but this old dog might have a hard time learning new tricks.

    Great post. Thanks for sharing!

  3. Totally understandable fear. I have lots of fears too. I just try to put it all in God's hands. He'll take me to where he wants me to be.

  4. Man, I've been afraid to admit to anyone that I don't want to be famous. I'm afraid it would kill my chances of getting published too. What really scares me are the inevitable bad reviews. I know I can't please everyone. I know that not everyone loves fantasy books. I know that everyone has different opinions on how things should be written, how characters should act, pacing, setting, etc. Knowing and facing my fears are two totally different things though. I know water snakes don't hurt you, but I'm still afraid of snakes too. *sigh*

  5. I'm scared to death that I'm just fooling myself, and there's nothing at all rattling around in my head that anyone would ever want to read. I'm scared I'll work meaningless jobs all my life and this sense of purpose I feel ("Oh, this is just my day job, I'm actually a writer") will go away and leave me hollow and worthless.

    I'm just scared all the way around, I guess.


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