Being an author and getting the hell on with it

You know what’s so entirely scary about being an author? It’s not finishing the book. It’s not even reading horrible reviews about the book or convincing yourself that you’re the worst thing to ever happen to the written word and you must immediately fake your own death and never write again.

It’s the lack of control.

Once your book is finished, you have multiple rounds of edits, where the control lies with you. It is yours to mold and shape as you will, with guidance from agents and editors and beta readers and whoever else you trust.

But the power lies with you.

Once it’s out there in the world? All bets are off, mate.

You are not likely to be in control of the packaging of your book. The cover, the title, the blurb. You may have some say, you may have a lot of opinions, or you may just want the experts to do their job whilst being the tiniest bit unsure…

And then rankings, what can you do about that? Sales? You can yell about it on social media and bully your friends and family. You can arrange events and readings and workshops and competitions and the truth is:

Sometimes they work, and sometimes they don’t. Sometimes you would have had a bestseller anyways. Sometimes you would have had a wonderful book that was beloved by the fourteen people who read it.

I say this not to upset you. I am a control freak. I want to MAKE THINGS HAPPEN. That’s why I write books in the first place! It’s a way of creating the world, bending it to my will and making the things I want to happen take place.

So when I can’t be in control of how my book does in the big wide world? It’s painful. And frustrating. And it means setting myself up to fail.

I tell you this not to stop the launch parties or events or facebook ads, or hours talking to friends on social media. I tell you this to set you free.

Control what you can, write the book you love, be proud of it. Do everything you can for it, boost it and support it…and then let it go. If you’re very lucky, it will have built it’s own momentum, grown its own wings whilst you’ve been working. And if it hasn’t, it will paddle along like the happiest little goose whilst you work on your next golden egg.

(I know, I’m mixing metaphors, but a bird is a bird is a bird).

In the mean time, in the spirit of complete honesty, I’m writing this blog post because I cannot control the fate of my little book. I may have significantly fewer promotional events this year due to a certain virus, and obviously that is the right thing to do (though I certainly have not accepted it graciously *stamps foot about cancelled party*) so, let’s support authors who are releasing their babies into this weird time, and especially debuts who will have had so much excitement for this time! Celebrate and support and do what you can, because whether your little bird flies or not: you wrote a book!

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