Publishing News and Imposter Syndrome Pt 1
The most important part of this blog post (My first! Which is a big deal and also, sadly, the point of the post) is that I finally (Finally!) have publishing news to share. Deliver Me, my debut novel, has found a home and will be releasing in July of 2023.
This is pretty big news for me. It's the culmination of a dream I've had since I was a kid. Books were a refuge for me in a life that could be a little hectic, a lot lonely, and occasionally violent. I lost myself in fictional worlds where the idea that love could save the day was never even really a question. There was going to be a happy ending. There was always a happy ending. It didn't matter how messy the story was or how broken the people involved might get. They would find what they needed to heal those wounds and come out better on the other side. That was a message I needed to hear when I was young and I wanted, more than I really knew how to express, to be able to craft those stories myself some day.
The problem was, I was a good writer (apart from never quite grasping the correct way to use commas), but a bad storyteller. I could practice writing skills in school. I did very well on essays and school assignments, but those things rarely involved learning to write fiction and creative writing wasn't something my school offered. I didn't have many ideas for original fiction and, even when I did, I lacked the skill and the confidence to do anything with it.
I spent most of my life convinced I didn't have what it takes to be a real author. I wasn't one of those people that had to write and, in fact, I lacked the ability to do so. I was in my thirties before I stumbled, entirely accidentally, into an online group of creative people. They were kind and welcoming and I learned very quickly that part of the key to success as a creative person was to surround yourself with other creative people. Suddenly, I had ideas and a place to learn from those who actually knew how to make those ideas into real stories.
I started small because I was afraid I wouldn't be any good at it and every step I took required me to overcome my own self doubt. This is where I really started to get in my own way. I knew what I needed to do, but often found myself delaying it or trying to get out of it because I was so sure I was going to fail or that I didn't deserve to be successful when there others out there far more talented than I was. I leaned really heavily on the friends I made because I didn't have the necessary confidence to do it on my own.
They cheered me on while I wrote the stories, when I revised and edited the one I wanted to publish, when I struggled over query letters and the synopsis. They kept my spirits up while I waited to hear back from agents and small presses and didn't let me quit when those responses were mostly rejections. Even with all that help, there were still things I knew I should have done that I simply couldn't bring myself to do because I was afraid no one would want my book and all the work would be pointless.
I wasn't a total failure in this area. I did set up an author email account, designed the website, set up a MailChimp account... But there was definitely more I should have been doing while I was waiting for responses to my queries. I'll do a separate post about all the things I now wish I'd done, but one of the biggest things is actually starting this blog!
I kept the suggested blog feature up with I set up the website because I knew it had potential. It was a good way to create content between books and keep people up to date on how things are going. Did I do anything with it? No. I thought about it. I thought about it a lot. Probably two to three times a week at least. But every time I did, I would get sick and anxious thinking about it and just push it back out of my mind again.
I let my imposter syndrome get to me and dictate what I did to prepare for the day I might have a book coming out. I didn't think it would happen and didn't think I deserved it, so I didn't bother. I didn't do everything I could have done to set myself up for success.
That's something I want to learn from going forward. One big quality I have noticed in authors that are really successful, is that they are always preparing for the next step. They don't let fear keep from them trying. When opportunity knocks, they're packed and ready for that next great adventure. There's no chance of them getting left behind because they didn't believe in themselves.
I'm not sure what the next part of my adventure will be, but I do plan to be ready to embrace it, even it means spending every wrestling with my own insecurities. I'll keep you updated on how it's going, what I'm working on, and what I find helps the most! Keep an eye out for Part 2 of this post, where I'll go into greater detail on what I did manage to get done before my book deal and what I really wish I'd done, but never got around to accomplishing!