When I first decided to publish my book “myself” (ie, take on the Print-on-Demand option), I didn’t really grasp what that would all mean, at least not at the time. Yes, I had an idea of how much work it would be but that didn’t faze me in the slightest (OK, maybe just a tad). From experience, I’ve learned if you want something done right, you better do it yourself. Or, at least try.
The thing that really snuck up on me though was the fact that I was going to be held completely accountable for my book. For everything. I was going to be putting out there – little ol’ me – and it wasn’t just anything. It was my book. MY BOOK. The labour of love, the thing that has been occupying my thoughts for the last year and a half. My writing, my ideas and my characters…they were all going to be launched into the public eye, no longer constrained to my cute little book club. And if people wanted to, they could rip it all to shreds. And they will, too.
The one great thing about getting a publishing deal (aside from the advance) is the fact that it alone gives you clout. I always thought when haters started to hate (as they do), I could always be like “Yeah, well I wrote a book and it got published – what have you done?” – but I don’t have that immature sentiment anymore. The insurance that I was at least good enough to get published by a major house is totally void. Any freaking person can write a book and publish it – there is no longer anything special or interesting with what I am about to do.
The only thing I possess is GUTS.
Guts (or SISU – being a Finnish citizen now, I can say that) because I am laying my work out there for the world to see and there is no guarantee how my gamble is going to be perceived. As much as I know I can write music/travel/film articles – and even screenplays to an extent – I have no clue how my fiction is going to go down. I’ve gotten positive feedback from various types of people, and though they all swear they are being honest, these people are still people I know… people who know I will hunt them down and kill them. But what will critics think? What about reviewers? What about Peggy-Sue’s 16-year old daughter in Boise, Idaho? They might all hate it and that’s the risk I am going to have to take it.
Look, I know that not everyone likes everything. I mean, just look at my music choices. And really, I don’t expect my book to go over well with certain people. You’re in the head of a 22-year old girl who attracts ghosts, this isn’t a Pulitzer Prize winner here. But it’s still scary (uh, my situation – book is scary too). It still sideswiped me the other day and reduced me to tears thinking everything from “It’s the worst novel on earth” to “people are waiting for me to fail” to “I’m going to be laughed at around the world”. It took a lot of support from friends and family, plus some encouragement in the form of my idol, to pull myself out of it.
It wasn’t until the next day, when I was in a book store and perusing my “competition” (ie, similar books in the Sci-Fi/Horror or even YA genre), and I was feeling overwhelmed and underworthy that I thought, “You know what – I will never EVER know unless I try. I have to put it out there.”
And so here I am. I am trying, I am putting it out there and you poor bastards have to come on the journey with me.