Publishing Hesitation/Fear?

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JennyStuart
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Publishing Hesitation/Fear?

Postby JennyStuart » Tue Feb 09, 2021 4:29 pm

I haven't found any other topics in the forum like this yet and I wonder if there are other writers that feel the same way I do.

Regardless of whether I ever become a published writer, I will write. Regardless of whether my work is any good, I will write. Regardless of whether another soul will ever read my work, I will write.

But my writing skills aren't what makes me freeze up when I think of the future, it's what will happen if I actually become good enough that someone else thinks my work is worthy of publishing.

I don't have a mindset for business, I'm not active on social media, I've never been a reader-fan that's been that interested in learning more about the authors of my favorite books beyond what their name is, and I hate the idea of self-promoting because I've been conditioned to think something along the lines of "How dare I presume to impose myself on other people?"

Yet, I know that without this stuff, I'll probably fail at the business part of writing because I don't naturally engage with others. I lurk, I observe, I read, but I rarely interact. It's why I haven't dedicated myself to any kind of goal towards this contest or publishing or anything. I'm scared to succeed partway only to fail in the follow-through.

Anybody else feel the same or similar?
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disgruntledpeony
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Re: Publishing Hesitation/Fear?

Postby disgruntledpeony » Tue Feb 09, 2021 7:05 pm

I think, with concerns like this, the important thing is to ask yourself: "What will make me happy?" If writing simply for the sake of writing makes you happy, then you win regardless of whether you get published or not.

I can't specifically speak to the fears you're experiencing, as my own experiences and fears are very different. However, as someone who has had a few short stories published (mostly under the same publisher) I can presently say that I have yet to experience any meteoric rise in fame (although I'm not planning to give up any time soon). It seems to me that success in this industry is generally incremental until you build up the momentum to really get solid attention, assuming one has the stubbornness to stick with it--few "overnight successes" actually happen overnight.

As far as social media presence goes, mine has so far remained fairly small, but I like to think of it more as a way to engage with friends and peers than as an explicit marketing tool. I do promote my stories on occasion, but I also talk about my friends' stories and other assorted things that interest me.

I will freely admit that my personal dream is to eventually make enough money off my writing that my husband can stay home with the twins full time, but that's a long time coming and involves having time to write novels. It's incredibly unlikely for any writer to be able to reliably pay the bills with short stories in this day and age. There's a definitive (and incredibly narrow) bottleneck when comparing any magazine's available space/funds to the number of people trying to get published in said magazine.

I think, essentially, what I'm trying to say is that success in publishing is at least in part a matter of personal interpretation. One short story sale isn't going to make or break the bank. Even if a debut novel tanks, there's always the option of writing under a pseudonym and starting over.

And remember--if writing for the sake of writing makes you happy, then you win regardless. wotf007
If you are in difficulties with a book, try the element of surprise: attack it at an hour when it isn't expecting it. ~ H.G. Wells

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rkcapps
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Re: Publishing Hesitation/Fear?

Postby rkcapps » Tue Feb 09, 2021 9:01 pm

disgruntledpeony wrote:I think, with concerns like this, the important thing is to ask yourself: "What will make me happy?" If writing simply for the sake of writing makes you happy, then you win regardless of whether you get published or not.

I can't specifically speak to the fears you're experiencing, as my own experiences and fears are very different. However, as someone who has had a few short stories published (mostly under the same publisher) I can presently say that I have yet to experience any meteoric rise in fame (although I'm not planning to give up any time soon). It seems to me that success in this industry is generally incremental until you build up the momentum to really get solid attention, assuming one has the stubbornness to stick with it--few "overnight successes" actually happen overnight.

As far as social media presence goes, mine has so far remained fairly small, but I like to think of it more as a way to engage with friends and peers than as an explicit marketing tool. I do promote my stories on occasion, but I also talk about my friends' stories and other assorted things that interest me.

I will freely admit that my personal dream is to eventually make enough money off my writing that my husband can stay home with the twins full time, but that's a long time coming and involves having time to write novels. It's incredibly unlikely for any writer to be able to reliably pay the bills with short stories in this day and age. There's a definitive (and incredibly narrow) bottleneck when comparing any magazine's available space/funds to the number of people trying to get published in said magazine.

I think, essentially, what I'm trying to say is that success in publishing is at least in part a matter of personal interpretation. One short story sale isn't going to make or break the bank. Even if a debut novel tanks, there's always the option of writing under a pseudonym and starting over.

And remember--if writing for the sake of writing makes you happy, then you win regardless. wotf007


This is fab advice :) It's so fundamental that I often overlook it, lol.

It's funny you should mention this because I just started reading How to market a Book by Ricardo Fayet (founder of Reedsy). On Amazon, it's free for Kindle. I write books, so I think from that angle (sorry if that's not you, new here, so I'm still getting acquainted).

He doesn't (so far) make marketing a book seem as daunting as you first expect (because I'm not keen either). Like this:

Book marketing fundamental 1: Thou shalt know your target market

Before you even start writing your book, you should make sure you know exactly what kind of book you want to write and, more importantly, who will want to read it.

Fayet, Ricardo. How to Market a Book: Overperform in a Crowded Market (Reedsy Marketing Guides Book 1) (p. 16). Reedsy. Kindle Edition.
Fairy tales are more than true: not because they tell us that dragons exist, but because they tell us that dragons can be beaten - Neil Gaiman

TimE
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Re: Publishing Hesitation/Fear?

Postby TimE » Wed Feb 10, 2021 4:14 am

JennyStuart wrote:
Anybody else feel the same or similar?


I wouldn’t submit to one of those agents who asks for a marketing plan, and wants to know your presence on social media. There are others.
In Eric Flint’s podcast, he says something like going to conventions or whatever doesn’t generate enough sales to cover his costs. You don’t have to do those things.
I declined WotF’s invitation to film myself speaking about the WotF workshop – because, Jeez, I don’t want to see my face let alone inflict it on the public.
But, I think you can enjoy writing and steer yourself toward winning this contest and getting published without worrying about marketing and publicity and business.
Doing well in WotF is a way of measuring your writing quality and improvement over time.
You can enjoy writing, win competitions and get published without being the next Brandon Sanderson and doing lecture tours or whatever. You just might not earn as much if you're shy.
A published author on a forum elsewhere said her agent and publisher didn’t push her to go to bookshops or speak at conventions, it was optional. (She did go, and bought more copies of her book than they sold to others in total)

So I have some understanding of your feelings, but I don't worry about a future that probably won't happen.

I'd encourage you to enter WotF if you want to see if you are improving - and to be told by a published judge not a member of family, and not worry about success until you get there.

Keep enjoying your writing.
Some HMs More Rs - I keep thinking I'm getting closer, but perhaps not.
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pdblake
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Re: Publishing Hesitation/Fear?

Postby pdblake » Wed Feb 10, 2021 4:41 am

TimE wrote:I declined WotF’s invitation to film myself speaking about the WotF workshop – because, Jeez, I don’t want to see my face let alone inflict it on the public.

Pretty much my reaction to that invite too. wotf019

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Re: Publishing Hesitation/Fear?

Postby TimE » Wed Feb 10, 2021 5:34 am

pdblake wrote:Pretty much my reaction to that invite too. wotf019


Now, if - like the Texan lawyer - I could use a cat filter...
Some HMs More Rs - I keep thinking I'm getting closer, but perhaps not.
CWA-Debut Dagger shortlist. https://thecwa.co.uk/colours/ (Still trying to find my genre - but perhaps it's scifi - and perhaps it's not)

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Wulf Moon
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Re: Publishing Hesitation/Fear?

Postby Wulf Moon » Wed Feb 10, 2021 3:27 pm

Jenny,

We all write because we love to write. No one makes us do it, it's in our nature. We should find joy and satisfaction and fulfillment in the writing itself when it's a part of us. But most writers also desire to be read, and that requires doing things like getting our work out to markets like this one to be considered for publication so that we can reach a larger audience. Not all of us are good at the social aspect and networking that can indeed help publishing goals along. Most, in truth, will have a hard time with the business and marketing side of writing--it's a separate skill set. Focus on your strengths, write your stories, find your joy.

And if you'd like others to read those stories, send them to aspiring writer contests like this one, send them to markets, post them online, or share them with friends. It's really up to you what you wish to do with your writing.

But don't let fear of success keep you from writing. That would be counterproductive.

All the best,

Wulf Moon
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rkcapps
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Re: Publishing Hesitation/Fear?

Postby rkcapps » Wed Feb 10, 2021 5:26 pm

Wulf Moon wrote:Jenny,

We all write because we love to write. No one makes us do it, it's in our nature. We should find joy and satisfaction and fulfillment in the writing itself when it's a part of us. But most writers also desire to be read, and that requires doing things like getting our work out to markets like this one to be considered for publication so that we can reach a larger audience. Not all of us are good at the social aspect and networking that can indeed help publishing goals along. Most, in truth, will have a hard time with the business and marketing side of writing--it's a separate skill set. Focus on your strengths, write your stories, find your joy.

And if you'd like others to read those stories, send them to aspiring writer contests like this one, send them to markets, post them online, or share them with friends. It's really up to you what you wish to do with your writing.

But don't let fear of success keep you from writing. That would be counterproductive.

All the best,

Wulf Moon


Sublime advice :)
Fairy tales are more than true: not because they tell us that dragons exist, but because they tell us that dragons can be beaten - Neil Gaiman

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Re: Publishing Hesitation/Fear?

Postby JennyStuart » Sat Feb 13, 2021 3:53 pm

But, I think you can enjoy writing and steer yourself toward winning this contest and getting published without worrying about marketing and publicity and business.
Doing well in WotF is a way of measuring your writing quality and improvement over time.

Focus on your strengths, write your stories, find your joy.

I think, with concerns like this, the important thing is to ask yourself: "What will make me happy?" If writing simply for the sake of writing makes you happy, then you win regardless of whether you get published or not.


Thank you for calming me down everyone. I get worked up too easily about things I can't control (something I'm still working on). I do want to be a better writer and I like it when people read my stories, but reading these posts reminds me of one of the podcasts where someone said something like "After twenty years, I was an overnight success". I'm probably getting the years wrong, but it still took time. Most writers don't capture lightning in a bottle with their early works, so it feels okay for my writing goal to be just learning the lesson every new story wants to teach me. I don't have to have a big, ambitious writing goal yet if I'm not ready to have one (though I can dream freely of it).

Once again, thank you. I feel much better about it all now.
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disgruntledpeony
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Re: Publishing Hesitation/Fear?

Postby disgruntledpeony » Sun Feb 14, 2021 5:22 am

JennyStuart wrote:Thank you for calming me down everyone. I get worked up too easily about things I can't control (something I'm still working on). I do want to be a better writer and I like it when people read my stories, but reading these posts reminds me of one of the podcasts where someone said something like "After twenty years, I was an overnight success". I'm probably getting the years wrong, but it still took time. Most writers don't capture lightning in a bottle with their early works, so it feels okay for my writing goal to be just learning the lesson every new story wants to teach me. I don't have to have a big, ambitious writing goal yet if I'm not ready to have one (though I can dream freely of it).

Once again, thank you. I feel much better about it all now.

I'm glad we were able to help. wotf007 Writing is like any other art--it takes years of dedication to get really good. I think approaching writing goals one step at a time (for example, getting a story published) while dreaming of bigger things is a good balance to find. (My current goal, at least as far as short stories go, is to win Writers of the Future or pro out--whichever comes first. I'm slowly getting closer to meeting one of these conditions, although I don't know which.)

I can understand having a hard time with something you can't control (in this case, getting published). There are ways to mitigate that lack of control, at least a bit:

Keeping track of what stories are where, whether on The Grinder or in a private document, can give a semblance of order to things (and also helps prevent accidental resubs).

Understanding that a rejection does not necessarily mean a story is bad helps--not as much as I would like, but it's good to keep in mind. I've had multiple stories acquire six or seven rejections before they sold. I've heard of people who sold stories after receiving twenty rejections. Sometimes it's just a matter of finding the right market at the right time.

For me, at least, having multiple stories out to different markets at the same time helps. It means I'm less focused on any one story.

Finding a solid critique group helps. If you have people who understand your strengths and weaknesses as a writer and work to support the former and help you get past the latter, your writing can improve by leaps and bounds. (It also feels really good to help others in this way, too.)

Any other thoughts on how people manage this stuff? wotf007
If you are in difficulties with a book, try the element of surprise: attack it at an hour when it isn't expecting it. ~ H.G. Wells

R, SF, SHM, SHM, SHM, F, R, HM, SHM, R, HM, R, F, SHM, SHM, SHM, SF, ?, ?

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Re: Publishing Hesitation/Fear?

Postby Mr H » Sat Feb 20, 2021 7:00 am

The worst is not that a story is good and will eventually sell, it's the thought that's it's just rubbish and will never sell. I guess once you sell a few that must mostly go away.

Don't put the cart before the horse. It's like worrying about what you'll do with your future lottery winnings. On the other hand preparation can be a good thing.

Perhaps, pick faults with everyone. For example, a famous writer may have bad teeth, be overweight, have a funny accent. I remember a weather girl who swallowed funny, sort of gulped all the time. Nerves I guess, but viewers noticed. I bet other weather girls used it to make themselves feel superior. Look at their lives too, he's not even married, she just lives in a normal house, I can do better. Point is, if you pick up on all these things, you will still be no better, but you will feel you are.
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Re: Publishing Hesitation/Fear?

Postby disgruntledpeony » Sat Feb 20, 2021 8:55 am

I can't speak for everyone, but picking faults would make me very uncomfortable. I don't want to feel "better than," I want to feel like a peer. That involves helping people be the best they can, and they might be willing to help me in turn. (Not saying we should put people on a pedestal either. Understanding that no one is perfect but we're all working to improve seems like the best strategy, to me.)
If you are in difficulties with a book, try the element of surprise: attack it at an hour when it isn't expecting it. ~ H.G. Wells

R, SF, SHM, SHM, SHM, F, R, HM, SHM, R, HM, R, F, SHM, SHM, SHM, SF, ?, ?

https://ticknortales.com/

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Re: Publishing Hesitation/Fear?

Postby AliciaCay » Mon Feb 22, 2021 10:47 am

disgruntledpeony wrote:I can't speak for everyone, but picking faults would make me very uncomfortable. I don't want to feel "better than," I want to feel like a peer. That involves helping people be the best they can, and they might be willing to help me in turn. (Not saying we should put people on a pedestal either. Understanding that no one is perfect but we're all working to improve seems like the best strategy, to me.)


Well said, Peony! wotf010

And Jenny, what you said made me think of this quote. I think it's beautiful. <3

"Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate.
Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.
It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us.
We ask ourselves, 'Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?'
Actually, who are you not to be?" --M. Williamson
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Re: Publishing Hesitation/Fear?

Postby Wulf Moon » Mon Feb 22, 2021 3:30 pm

I will simply say this: This Forum stands on the foundation of building people up, not tearing them down.

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disgruntledpeony
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Re: Publishing Hesitation/Fear?

Postby disgruntledpeony » Mon Feb 22, 2021 3:35 pm

Wulf Moon wrote:I will simply say this: This Forum stands on the foundation of building people up, not tearing them down.

Wulf Moon
Forum Moderator

wotf010
If you are in difficulties with a book, try the element of surprise: attack it at an hour when it isn't expecting it. ~ H.G. Wells

R, SF, SHM, SHM, SHM, F, R, HM, SHM, R, HM, R, F, SHM, SHM, SHM, SF, ?, ?

https://ticknortales.com/

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Re: Publishing Hesitation/Fear?

Postby rkcapps » Mon Feb 22, 2021 9:41 pm

I'm loving this forum's philosophy :) It's like a breath of fresh air and fits with what I believe want. I want to help other writers be the best they can be :)
Fairy tales are more than true: not because they tell us that dragons exist, but because they tell us that dragons can be beaten - Neil Gaiman

JennyStuart
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Re: Publishing Hesitation/Fear?

Postby JennyStuart » Tue Feb 23, 2021 3:50 am

AliciaCay wrote:"Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate.
Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.
It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us.
We ask ourselves, 'Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?'
Actually, who are you not to be?" --M. Williamson


Oooh, I like that Alicia! I can think of so many other situations where I and others have self-rejected something we really want (job, relationship, etc) because we're scared of what happens if we get it. It's a change in status quo and that's always scary on since level.
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