I got some great news last week that I’ll be included a September 2011 Writer’s Digest magazine feature on debut authors.
I sat down yesterday to answer the questions and had a moment of panic. It’s one thing to amuse myself on this blog by telling jokes about hurking in my underwear or peeling a banana with my toes.
But for a major industry magazine, I suspect that’s not appropriate. They might even expect me to know something.
And that’s when it hit me – all the interviews I’ve been doing, blog posts I’ve been writing, stickers I’ve been slapping on the butts of random strangers – they’re all aimed at getting people to eventually buy my book.
And if people buy my book, they might read it.
And then ohmygod, what if they hate it?
It’s weird to think that way. I’m not an insecure person, and I'm not prone to sentiments that smack of “what if the football captain laughs at my training bra?”
Still, I know I’m not the first author to have pangs of fear.
Last summer, my book club not only had the divine pleasure of reading author Sean Ferrell’s fabulous debut novel Numb, but talking with him on the phone. In the months leading up to it, I swapped a few emails with Sean to coordinate details. At one point, he confessed something surprising (besides a fondness for not wearing pants in public).
“I’m terrified you guys won’t like it,” he wrote.
I’ll admit it, I thought it was false modesty. The book was getting all sorts of amazing reviews and publicity buzz. I wasn’t worried, and I didn’t think he would be, either.
Now I’m not so sure.
I’m not egotistical enough to think everyone will love my debut novel. I’m also not insecure enough to fear everyone will hate it. I’ll be happy to land somewhere in the middle, and I’m braced for anything from negative reviews to stalkers grabbing hunks of my hair.
But those moments of sheer terror where you worry people whose opinions you value might be disappointed? Those are very real.
For now, all I can do is what I’ve been doing. I’ll keep using blog posts and interviews to establish the same offbeat, humorous tone I use in my books.
OK, maybe I’ll dial it back a notch from time to time. It’s possible Writer’s Digest subscribers won’t appreciate stories about hairy butts.
Are you skeptical when you hear authors worrying about people not liking their books? Do you have fears about how other people will react to your writing? Please share.
And please promise that when you do see those negative reviews rolling in, you’ll shred them up before I see them.