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How do you deal with confidence issues?

(12 Posts)
ishallconquerthat Mon 18-Jul-16 12:30:11

The first version of my first book is almost ready. I'm just polishing chapter by chapter so I can send it to my first beta reader.

And then...

I've put a lot of effort, energy and time in this book, and I have some expectations. (I'm a journalist, which means I'm a professional writer - but not a professional novel writer - yet! ;)

I know it's not BAD - but I don't know if it'as any good either.

It's fantasy, YA but more geeky (imagine a mythical creature who earns his living as a hacker, meeting a geeky musician girl, and her musician boyfriend...).

So I start thinking it won't find it's niche (because it's not obviously YA, or obviously fantasy, or obviously romance - it's just something I would have liked to read when I was about 17).

It's not in English, so it's initially aimed at a different market in a different country - smaller market, but with fewer good writers than here.

I'm also terrified that people will read though the book and see myself in it, and I'll feel exposed.

Please, how do you deal with all this?

I'm trying to just ignore all that and finish the thing, and think about the problems as they arise. (I plan to offer it to publishing houses first, and if it doesn't work I may self publish).

I'm sure you people will have strategies and tips for me at this point. Any tips on what to do next, or how to deal with these feelings?

(or some hand holding?)

Thanks a lot!

Madhairday Mon 18-Jul-16 18:01:12

I think that novel writing often necessitates a certain amount of soul-baring to the world. It can be an incredibly vulnerable thing, to write this thing then ask others to read it, knowing they'll be reading you, kind of - your deepest thoughts, hopes, ideas, dreams will all come out. And that's great - that's how great fiction gets written. But I really get you; this is a hard thing to do!

I have days when my confidence is sky-high and others when it's lower than a low thing and I look at my writing in abject disgust and want to tear it up (figuratively, it being on the laptop!) and start again. I think it's the lot of writers everywhere really, and almost think it's a good thing - if we were overly confident we could easily get arrogant and then not pour so much of ourself into the writing - and it not be as good. Having a little self-doubt can strengthen it, I think. At least I tell myself that.

I guess, then, it's a case of being willing to be exposed...once you've crossed that barrier, you can forge ahead.

I like the sound of your story. It sounds quite YA urban fantasy?

Good luck!

ishallconquerthat Mon 18-Jul-16 23:16:49

madhairday thanks a lot! It's good to know that others are going through exactly the same things, and you mention very good points! Being uncomfortable is the only way to write something relevant (even if it's YA). BTW, it is probably YA urban fantasy. But it's a love story, which in theory narrows the target readership to only the girls, if I'm not mistaken.

I told my beta reader I'd send him the stuff on Friday, but am struggling with this last edit. I'm reading everything aloud and fixing everything that doesn't sound good. It takes ages!

MissBattleaxe Tue 19-Jul-16 14:52:30

Can I ask why you're sending it to publishers and not considering agents? Genuine question, in case it comes out sounding harsh. smile

GetAHaircutCarl Tue 19-Jul-16 15:07:03

I've been writing for many years now.

I think the nerves never leave you. With each new novel I still wait for my agent or my editor to say they hate it. I still wait for it to bomb. I still wait for bad reviews.

But when I say 'wait' I really don't think about it that much. I just do my best, put the work out there and hope it finds an audience.

The writer has so little control after the creative process, that it's not worth giving it air time. Best thing is to just crack on with the next project.

HarrietVane99 Tue 19-Jul-16 15:07:27

Everything I write, I go through phases of thinking 'this is crap'. I've learned that it's just a stage I go through and I just have to push on through it and get it done. Usually, when it's finished, I do feel that it's all come together and while it might not be exactly the book I set out to write, it's not entirely crap either.

Then, if you put it out there, you have to expect rejection and be able to cope with it. Just remind yourself how many times JKR was rejected, and carry on. Even if you self publish, there'll be bad reviews. It goes with the job. I just don't look at my Amazon reviews any more, since I got a negative one which was nothing to do with the book, and another which gave away the entire plot!

GetAHaircutCarl Tue 19-Jul-16 15:11:14

Reviews, good or bad, are only ever one person's take on your book.

Not everyone will get what you're trying. to do.

ishallconquerthat Tue 19-Jul-16 22:32:14

Getahaircut I would LOVE to be able to do that, just put the thing in the world and leave it (I really believe that once you put a creative product in the world, people will do their bit, understanding it in their terms, filling the blanks, etc. And it's not the writer's "baby" anymore).

But I'm afraid I will have to do quite a bit of marketing, even if I get a publisher. But anyway, first I have to finish the thing! It's reassuring to know that established writers also feel this same fear smile

MIssbatleaxe because this market I'm talking about is not very "mature" (for lack of better word) and there aren't many agents - new writers usually don't have one. I have nothing against agents, it's just the way things work there.

In fact, after your comment I decided to google agents in that country. I may try one of them first...

Harriet I've been through the "it's crap" phase, and what terrifies me the most is that I don't even think it's too bad now. Usually only the most terrible writers like their work. It must be hard to get bad reviews. At this point I think I'll be happy to get reviews at all.

HarrietVane99 Tue 19-Jul-16 22:48:20

ishall, I think there's a difference between thinking the world has been waiting for your novel, and publishers and film producers are going to be beating a path to your door - and being quietly confident that you've written the best book you're capable of at this point in time. You have to have faith in your work if you're going to put it out there for people to read.

The review that made me confused the most was the one that gave me one star because the reviewer only really likes nonfiction. Why buy it/read it then? It's obvious from the blurb and the sample that it is fiction.

ishallconquerthat Wed 20-Jul-16 11:40:27

Oh Harriet I dream about the film producers, is this wrong? ;)

(but seriously, I'm a sensible person).

Re the review, that's ridiculous! Hopefully sane people will understand that this is a crazy review and dismiss it. It's a bugger that it affects your rating, though.

(can you tell by PM me what is the book, or what is you pen name? It's fine if you don't want to)

Madhairday Wed 20-Jul-16 12:04:01

Saw a one-star review on Amazon the other day:

'I haven't received the book.'

hmm

Well then don't leave a one star review!

Idiots.

Have also seen ones for things like 'not having read it yet,' 'the book is damaged,' 'I don't like this genre.'

confused

Harriet I love what you said about just being confident that what you have written is the best thing you can do at this moment.

I think all authors think about film producers from time to time wink

MissBattleaxe Fri 22-Jul-16 18:36:37

Oh yes Madhair- I hate that too. People leaving a one star review for the book because it arrived late! If it's traditionally published, it's hardly the author's fault. Madness.

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