Publishing Nightmares: When the ‘What Ifs’ Come To Get You

I couldn’t sleep last night. It was my book, Undead Rising: Decide Your Destiny. Out of nowhere, I was just struck with this sickening realization that my book is, at its core, stupid. I mean, I knew that, all along: it’s supposed to be stupid-fun to imagine you’re being chased by zombies in New York; it’s supposed to be stupid-fun that you’re choosing what will happen next in the story, because that’s a rarity and a hefty dose of nostalgia. It’s stupid because no one really expects to have to put their zombie plan into place. In fact, I wrote it, at least in part, because it was a stupid idea that made me laugh and I had a great time doing it.

But last night, for whatever reason, I was swallowed by a tidal wave of shame. And because it was late and I was tired and fears were coming out of the depths of my brain, it ballooned. OMG, I thought. I can’t publish that. It’s not serious literature. Everyone will know me as ‘that author who writes really stupid books. I’m doomed.

I’m blessed in that I have a very forgiving husband. Because he moaned in his sleep, so I decided he was awake, so I woke him up. I told him I was going to publish a stupid book and no one would ever take me seriously ever again.

He told me it would be fine and to go back to sleep already.

This isn’t the first time he has had to talk me down from some big scary publishing fear that came out of nowhere. I keep finding more, actually. There’s a lot to be intimidated and afraid of.

I wish I could tell you that my fears were stupid by the time I woke up, but I can’t. My book is still kinda stupid. Fun, absolutely. But it will never be studied in high school English classes (and we can all be thankful for that). It’s not “serious.” But it wasn’t meant to be. There are lots of “not-serious” authors out there who nonetheless had a huge impact on readers (for example, the recently deceased Terry Pratchett. May his books be read forever.).

So it may not be bad to be a “not serious” author.

It probably won’t be the last time self-publishing wakes me up with a nightmare. What are your self-publishing fears? Why are they unfounded?

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5 Comments

Filed under Publishing

5 responses to “Publishing Nightmares: When the ‘What Ifs’ Come To Get You

  1. shinyoliver

    I like this story. I wonder if feeling like your book is stupid is a necessary stage in all writer journeys. Lately I’ve been knocked about the head with the thought.

  2. shinyoliver

    One of my big publishing nightmares is forgetting my artistic standards and signing off on poorly-executed cover designs. Fortunately I am far from that stage.

  3. Serious is overrated. To this day I haven’t been able to finish Moby Dick or Great Gatsby, but I can assure you I’ll finish your book…several times 😉

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