Friday, 19 September 2014

The Terror of First Time Publishing

A little under three weeks ago, I uploaded and published my first novel to the kindle store with Amazon. It is a steampunk novel called Iron City Rebels, set within a dystopian city. It chronicles the rise of a rebel faction, and the complications that arise when they go up against the ruling body, and the thuggish police force that serve them.

I had spent the better part of a year writing away at the book, imagining fondly the moment when it would be unleashed unto the world. I pictured it as a sublime moment, when all my dreams and aspirations would be made whole; after all, isn't it the goal of every writer to let loose a finished work and let others devour it? Some may claim to write only for pleasure, but if you write fiction, then you are at heart a story teller, and all story tellers need to have their stories heard.

So, I finished the final draft. It was polished, spell checked, proof read; it was ready to go. I had already decided upon createspace. I knew Kindle would be the main focus, but I really wanted a print copy of my book to keep at home and to fawn over fondly. I spent a day creating a cover, filled in the details I needed, set a price, and hit that publish button.

There followed a period of anxious waiting while everything was reviewed. I needn't have worried, it all came back fine and ready to go. It was then that the terror set in. That final stage was sending it off to kindle, ready for purchase. But what if nobody bought it? Worse yet, what if people bought it, and they hated it. What if the book's page was quickly filled with scathing, derisive views, filled with venom for my dear little book. I wasn't sure I would be able to take that kind of rejection.

But of course, rejection is normal. I don't think there is a writer in existence, living or dead, who has ever written something that was universally admired. If there is, I'd like to shake their hand and buy them a drink. The truth is, that you can only please so many. I knew that when I started writing my book. It was even more true with my novel, since it was geared towards a very specific sub genre within the science fiction category, and it was a near certainty that there would be a limited number of people with a desire to read it.

So I hesitated. I gnawed my fingernails to the quick. I paced. I opened up other browser tags and checked my favourite sites. Anything to delay the inevitable. Despite knowing what I knew, despite telling myself that bad reviews were to be expected, I was still terrified.

And that was normal too.

When we put our work out there to be inspected and scrutinized like a scientist studying a bug under a microscope, fear and anxiety is to be expected. Nobody likes to have their writing criticised, especially by people we don't know and haven't met. It was intimidating.

Eventually of course, I had to make a choice. And it was an easy one at that. I wasn't about to give up on the idea of publishing my book. Not after it had been a dream for so long. And so I hit that last button, sat back, and waited.

And waited.

I wasn't sure what I expected. A sudden influx of eager, anxious readers ready to spend their hard earned money on an author and a book they had never even heard of? Perhaps. But if so, I'd been deluding myself. The sales were slow to come.

Even now, the numbers have barely moved, but that's ok. At least there are no horrible reviews for me to agonise over, right?

Get a copy of my first book, and the opening volume in the Iron City Trilogy at Amazon: Iron City Rebels

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