Feel the fear and do it anyway… a phrase coined by Susan Jeffers in her book of the same name, it’s one that pops into my head on a regular basis. And just as well! When I started out on this whole business of writing books, around two years ago, I had visions of me in my lonely garret, creating fabulous worlds of fiction that would be effiortlessly published and with even less effort sold around the world. And then came the reality check. Yes, my books got published (I currently have two available and a further two coming out in December) but what I wasn’t prepared for was all the writerly trimmings!
First up there’s the publicising. You’ve written a book, it’s available on Amazon and in certain book shops up and down the country – but then again, so are zillions of others. So, what do you have to do? You have to shout about it! To friends, to family, on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Linkedin, the list is endless. And you have to continue to shout, despite being terrified everyone is hating the sound of your shouty voice, because that’s what writers have to do nowadays, they have to double up as sales gurus. There’s no point in creating something if you’re not prepared to advertise it, everyone with a ‘product’ has to advertise. The mantra – feel the fear and do it anyway – is proving very useful so far.
Second up is being invited to book clubs, to book signings, on the radio and you have to speak. I like speaking as much as the next person but I’m talking public speaking here – getting up in front of a crowd, being the centre of attention, trying to appear confident and bubbly when really you’re a quivering wreck inside. The mantra goes on overdrive.
Last but not least – the reviews!!! Oh God, the reviews. Every time I see there’s another one I scroll down the Amazon page in fear and trembling – what the heck have they said now? To be honest, I’ve been lucky, really lucky, the vast majority of reviews for both The Runaway Year and The Haunting of Highdown Hall have been brilliant. I’m always humbled by how people take time out of their busy lives to write such lovely things. However… there’s always one – the one star that is, or the two star, someone who’s ripped into the book, torn it apart. When it first happened I felt like hanging up my hat, despite the fact they were far outweighed by the good ‘uns. Now, I tend to take it on the chin. After all, even the best amongst us gets an occasional one star sometimes and when you put your book in the hands of the public – to be savaged or adored, savaged or adored it will be. In this instance, it’s a case of feel the fear and read it anyway!
I know I’m not the only author to feel this way but onwards we trudge, keeping not only the mantra in mind but also that writing is a journey, there’ll be ups along the way, there’ll be downs. Sometimes you’ll need to fasten your seat belts, other times you can cruise quite happily. And ultimately, if you enjoy the ride, keep on driving.