My latest book will be available on Friday, which means going by how KDP is, I’ll be hitting publish on Thursday night. Yesterday, Rob Zimmermann did me the honor of reading an advanced copy of “The Allegory of Dusk” and reviewing it. And, as an author? You want someone like Rob reviewing your work, preferably in the lead up to your book being released. Why? Because Rob is honest, and Rob is fair. And Rob has a damn good eye when it comes to what is and isn’t honest work.
But I’ll admit, I’ve been a bit anxious this past week or so, my mind weighed down with worries about publishing Allegory. And the worries weren’t really about the work itself, because I’ve had friends and colleagues read over my work and give me their opinion, and their opinion was favorable.
But the pre-publishing anxiety just wouldn’t let up. And I hate being anxious. Late last night, in the middle of final-round edits and a bag of M & M’s, I was chatting with a friend through email who’s been reading me since I first started blogging back in 2005, and who I asked to read the sharpest of the seven short stories, just to get another opinion. “Your readers are going to love it. It’s honest, it’s true, and it’s very raw.”
Which was the eye opener I needed.
You see, I’m not afraid of publishing. I occasionally write short stories and put those out on their own, with little said about them other than to let people know I have a new piece of work out. When I publish Allegory later this week, it will be the sixth book (not counting the singles) that I’ve released this year. I’ve ridden this rodeo ride before.
What I am afraid of, what terrifies me, is that my work will not be good enough for my readers. I write, not for myself or the money (you should see my non-existent paychecks if you don’t believe me), but for my readers. Nothing thrills me more, and the true paycheck I receive is the one I get when someone tells me my work affected them, that my work touched them. I need to put my very best work out there, because that is what my readers deserve. As a reader myself, nothing pisses me off more than when I spend my money on a book, and then my time reading it, only to find out that the author has short changed me and screwed me over by bullshitting their way to an easy ending (for them). I can name, quite easily, five authors who lost my attention for this very reason.
So, that is my pre-publishing fear. That I will not have done my readers justice. That I will not have done my very best work. That I have become hypocritical and done nothing more than just cranked out a load of bullshit.
I hope that no matter how many books I write and publish, that I never lose this pre-publishing fear… that I never stop wanting to impress the hell out of my readers, and hope that my work is good enough for them.