Birthing My Book, part IV

How I Faced My Worst Fear as a Writer One of my first tasks after I decided to publish was to email other writers I know and ask them to endorse my book. This meant that I would need to send them the manuscript.

At first I was delighted that ten people agreed to read my book for an endorsement. And then I felt completely naked, but I pushed the Send button anyway.

I quickly received an endorsement from one woman that was supportive, encouraging and perfect. Phew! One down, nine to go.

And then I received an email from another endorser who said she had read part of my book and couldn’t endorse it. No explanation. I sent her an email inviting her to give me feedback. Which she did.   It was extreme and scathing. I wanted to throw up. In fact, I almost did.

You know when you say, “I never want to (fill in the blank),” it’s like a magnet, drawing to you that which you don’t desire, like the more we resist, the more we attract something? Well, throughout the years of writing my book, I kept saying I didn’t want to sound like I was whiney and self-indulgent. But that’s how I read this woman’s feedback. And that stung. Like a nest full of angry hornets.

When I opened that email I felt like I had opened a door and was staring straight into a brick wall. With a sign that said, STOP! I seriously thought about giving up on publishing my book. I didn’t think I could withstand that kind of feedback from more one more person, but when we publish, we put ourselves out there for any kind of feedback. I didn’t think I could take it.

She Writes Press had just copy edited the manuscript, so we asked the copy editor for her opinion. She was much more professional in her delivery, but she essentially said the same thing: the book isn’t well balanced between my challenges and my insights.

And then I remembered a passing thought I had before I sent my manuscript to the publisher. It went something like, I finished this book two years ago. If I were to go through this book with a fine tooth comb right now, I’d have a lot more to include about my insights. Oh well, this is what I wrote and I’m up against a deadline. So I pushed Send.

Note to self: Listen to my gut.

This situation rocked me to my core. It brought to light all of my insecurities, which are classically cliché, but incredibly painful and real, nonetheless. But I couldn’t wallow in them; I needed to move beyond them.

I decided to revise my book. I’m working with a super star editor, Cami Ostman (for anyone who’s interested in a decidedly awesome developmental editor). She and I have picked through this book like a detective scouring through a crime scene. Cami knows how to find and connect the dots of insight.

So, what was originally a painful email and a difficult realization about my book, turned out to be a blessing in disguise. Cami and I are nearly done with the revisions and I can honestly say that I am proud of what this book has become.

An Invitation

What brick walls are you up against? What do you do when you come face to face with your worst fears about yourself? How can you walk through the illusion of those fears and into who you want to be?