Thursday, July 29, 2010

Thursday's Pre-Publication Post: Anticipating the Worst

"Anticipating the Worst" may not be the most uplifting or optimistic phrase I've used in any of these pre-publication posts to date. Overall, it's been a joy and a blessing simply to know that my story collection, Quiet Americans, is going to be published.

But this weekend, as I sat with a printout of the designed book interior, reading through the entire book (aloud) to catch any last glitches (yes, there's a professional proofer at work as well), I became a bit queasy. What if these stories aren't quite as good as I'd hoped they were? What if people begin reading and dislike the writing intensely? What if the reviews are uniformly negative?

Admittedly, some of this newfound nervousness may be due to two concomitant factors: this week's focus on negative reviews in Janice Harayda's #bkrev tweets, and my visiting a number of book bloggers' sites and reading their review policies, many of which warn (fairly and honestly) about the possibility of negative opinions.

Then, too, I'm sure it's natural that as a publication date approaches one simply becomes a little fearful about the book's reception. Right? Right? Totally normal.

It may be normal, but it's also nerve-wracking. I'd love some tips from other authors about managing this kind of pre-pub anxiety. Please share--and thank you in advance.


Midge said...


This is such a great post, and it reminded me of when Forgetting English first came out ... though interestingly (and perhaps oddly), I was so concerned about simply trying to GET reviews I never even worried about whether they'd be negative! This is proof that ignorance is bliss. :) But as you know, publishing a short story collection with an independent press means lots of effort on the marketing most of my angst went into that.

So to translate this into advice, I'd suggest trying to focus on getting as many reviews as you can and not to worry about what they might say. Just getting the word about your book out there is going to be fantastic. And I am sure your reviews will be glowing! :)

Best of luck -- and I'm so looking forward to reading Quiet Americans!

Bill said...

Thanks for your honest blog post today. When my book, A 30 Day Retreat: A Personal Guide to Spiritual Renewal (Paulist Press, 2010) came out in May I was all butterflies, what if people don't read it? What if the reviewers are terrible? I think its quite normal for authors to have these feelings. To my suprise the book is doing quite well, for a religion title (they tend to sell less than regular trade non-fiction books) and have received positive reviews so far.

So good luck and "break a leg" as they say.

Bill Mills

Philip Graham said...

I'm sure you'll do fine when it comes to receiving positive attention for your book, Erica.

But I think the best way to blunt the anxiety of anticipation is simply to dig into a new project as soon as you can, so that by the time your book is published it's already, in some way, in the emotional past. Your new project is what captures your attention.

Writer in Hawaii said...

Erika: It's probably great like you! And I think those last minute jitters are like the groom before the wedding. You've put yourself out there. Everyone is going to look at you. But the wonderful things is this: they will see what a great writer you are.

Erika D. said...

Thanks for all the comments, everyone! Much appreciated!

Orville said...

Erika I remember when my first book "You Don't Know Me" was published and I had the same thoughts you had. It is only natural prior to the publication of a book that you will be nervous. However, you should be very proud of yourself! It is such an accomplishment to get a book published! I hope your book will be available in Canadian book stores! I will definitely check it out!

Erika D. said...

Thanks, Orville. I have to nail down the details about outside-U.S. distribution. Info to come when available!