The McManual

Blogging my little heart out in poetry and prose.

Tag: publishing

Overcoming Insecurity

I woke up this morning and my first thought was about my post yesterday.  My thought was that I didn’t really like yesterday’s post, and that perhaps I don’t want people to know what my fears are around publishing.  I am torn between acting like I know what I am doing and giving up.  I suppose, though, that there is a third option, which is to Not act as though I know what I am doing, but keep going anyway.

I think for me insecurity comes from feeling like I should know things that I don’t know.  I feel like I should know how to go about publishing my book, but how would I know that?  I haven’t done it before, so of course I don’t know how.  It doesn’t mean that I shouldn’t try!  I don’t think it could be too much harder than actually writing the book, could it?  Writing this book (Someotherville) was a huge project, but maybe I shouldn’t characterize it as having been hard to write.  There were some parts where I felt a little like, “how am I going to get from here to there?” but I just kept writing and it all came out fine.  It was a long project and a lot of work, but it wasn’t really difficult in the sense that doing math or playing the piano are difficult.

Maybe that’s how this new phase will be.  Maybe it will just be a series of steps that I take, none of them really all that difficult.  At least I hope that’s how this works out.  I was looking at a book on starting your own publishing business yesterday, and it said that lots of books are printed, but not every book is published.  I am still trying to decipher what the differences are, and how I can make sure that I am publishing.  I think what the author meant is that there is a lot of promotion that needs to be done.  And promotion, self-promotion, is something that I have a hard time with.   In fact, when it comes down to it the fear that I was writing about yesterday was really the fear of having to self promote.

Maybe I need to look at it like I’m not really self-promoting, I’m just promoting a book.  So what if I happened to write it?  🙂  I guess the best way for me to overcome insecurity is to jump ahead without thinking about it too much.  Actually that’s probably terrible advice, but it’s the best I’ve got.  Go ahead, give things a try, and see how it goes.  Learn from your mistakes and then try again.  I could look at all of this as a trial run for the next time I will need to publish a novel.  I do have another one started, but there’s a lot of work left to do.

Well, thanks for reading.  If you are a writer, too, and struggling with the questions of how to get published, I’d love to hear from you.




Facing Fears

So as I dink around on the internet, I notice that there are a lot of inspirational sites.  I love to go to those sites and read articles with catchy and hopeful titles like ‘100 ways to be fearless.’  I have spent hours (over years, of course) reading these types of motivational writings on the web.  It’s the interweb version of going out for a paperback self-help book, and now that I think about it that explains why I haven’t bought a self-help book in a while.  It’s not that I’m not still trying to help myself. 😉

My most recent reason for a good self help book is this:  I have noticed myself becoming fearful over tasks that are not very difficult, but that would help me in my writing career.  See, what I’m trying to do (other than keep my day job) is start a small publishing company and publish my novel.  The novel is done.  There are a couple of finishing touches that need to be completed, but it’s done.  And I have an artist working on the cover.  And I have a publication date – June 12, 2012.

I feel like the big stuff is in place.  But now for the small stuff… and there’s lots of it.  Most of it is stuff that I just have to do and it doesn’t involve fear at all.  What I am fearful of is really asking for anything from anyone.  I am fearful of asking for help.  I don’t know why I feel this way, the people are welcome to say no and I don’t mind too much if they do, it’s just the asking.  I don’t like asking for help.  I guess that’s where the fear comes from – I don’t want to seem like I am helpless, so I don’t like asking for help.

The help that I need is that I need to find someone literary and well known to read the book and give me a comment that I can put on the back.  Actually, now that I write that, I don’t know whether I even really care about that all that much.  I see at the bookstores that there is a trend right now to have quotes from other authors right on the cover of a novel.  I don’t like that at all.  I think it looks more like a magazine or a sort of throw away book if you have a quote on the cover.  But I wonder how much people are influenced by those kinds of quotes when they are at the bookstore.  There’s no sense being prideful about how the book looks commercial if you want it to be a commercial success, is there?  I don’t know.  As a reader/book buyer, I would prefer just a regular cover.

Well, I seem to have gotten off track in this post.  It’s definitely not what I sat down to write.  I got distracted a couple of paragraphs ago by the needs of dogs and husband, so now the title doesn’t fit what I have written…  but I really don’t feel like coming up with a new title, so I’m going to try to swing this bus around back to facing fears.  Asking people – old profs, famous people that I’m vaguely connected to through friends, and famous people that I have no connection to – for help, that’s my fear.

I did write to three famous people.  Woody Allen, Steve Martin, and Garrison Keillor.  I wrote maybe 6 months ago.  I got a nice letter from Keillor’s people saying they read my letter but that he didn’t have time to read my novel, one from Allen’s people that said he doesn’t have time to work on anything but his own projects, and the other day I got an 8×12 envelope with an autographed copy of a Steve Martin headshot – no note.  I guess the answer was no. And you know what?  It didn’t kill me that none of them said yes – I didn’t think that they would.  But I remember being very scared to even write the letters.  But I did it.  Maybe when I’m writing these notes to other people, I can just remember that the three that I really really wanted all said no, so now other no’s won’t be so bad.  Hmm.

Or maybe I put my book out without a celebrity quote on the back.  That’s probably what will happen.  And I’m fine with that.  I probably have a lot more important things to worry about, like how to get an ISBN number, whether I want a QRcode, getting an author website going, how to get the right fonts… etc.  Oh and right now I’m afraid that I will be late for work if I don’t get going.  Thanks for reading.  Sheila

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