Well, if you know me, I’m not really “little”. Still, that’s how I feel inside, like I’m just a scared little girl.
I’ve mentioned several times on the blog about my book. I’ve worked on it for nearly a decade and have sent a “first” draft to iUniverse for review.* I received an editorial review of my work a few weeks ago, but I have yet to even read one word of it. Why? Because I’m scared. Once you put a part of yourself out there, once it’s in print, it’s there for others to judge and critique and there’s not changing it. There’s no taking it back and fixing it.
What if everyone hates it? Sure, I’ve had some friends and family read it, but I’ve had little critique that I could use. Everyone says they like it, which is nice, but when people I don’t know read it, they’re not going to be so gentle.
I look at books that are flying off the shelves, that are hard to keep in stock because everyone wants it. The latest example is E.L. James’ Fifty Shades trilogy. Is it particularly good writing? One associate of mine said that there were plenty of grammar and spelling errors. A good friend of mind said that it was “no big deal”. So why is something that is mediocre** been at the top of multiple bestseller lists for weeks? Marketing. You get someone talking about a book and word starts to spread like wildfire. Many times I’ve had customers ask for the book then say, “I don’t know anything about it. Everyone just keeps telling me to read it.” Let me tell you, I’m over telling middle-aged and senior women that the book is one long BDSM story.
What’s Fifty Shades of Grey have to do with my book? When I see an unknown author skyrocket up to fame and fortune practically overnight, it breaks my confidence. It doesn’t happen often, but it does happen. So how am I going to feel when it doesn’t happen to me? Let’s be realistic: this is my first published work and my work isn’t on the same level of James Joyce, either. I have no monetary means for marketing the book, though social networking and plain ol’ word of mouth is free (or at least cheap). Sure, I can market my book some, but the more I put myself out there, the more susceptible I become to criticism.
And when it comes right down to criticism, it turns out that I’m just a scared little girl.
*First draft for them, one hundredth draft for me.
**This is solely an opinion based on what I’ve heard from multiple customers and friends. I have not actually read the books, but I think it’s safe to say that it’s no Ulysses.