My new book comes out next week: What if everything goes wrong?
A new book and its launch always catapults me into a tizzy of doubts and worries.
It happened with the first, the second and now -a week before showtime- it’s happening with the third.
I try to take it as it comes. I try and let it be, this anxiety surrounding results and other people’s expectations. I don’t usually feel much of that in my day-to-day, but it’s here full-throttle when it’s nearly book-day.
I let the what-if’s spin in my head like laundry in a washing machine.
What if it tanks?
What if it doesn’t sell?
What if it fizzles out before it gets the chance? The chance to be big league, the chance to reach everyone who I passionately believe will benefit from reading it, in little AND big ways?
Even worse, what if the people that do buy it…don’t like it? Don’t find it useful?
What if they hate it?
What if they send my book back? Write bad reviews? Unfollow me everywhere because they think I lied when I talked about how amazing I thought my new book was gonna be? Send me horrible messages?
What if I am my agent’s one charity project? The one writer he has under his wing out of pity?
What if the publisher made a huge mistake signing me for this book? What if they’re nice to my face but regretting everything behind-the-scenes?
And always…what if I’m actually not a good writer?
What if I have been deluding myself into thinking I’m worthy of this, of publication, of being in bookstores, people reading what I write? What if all the people who ever told me they love my writing have been lying to me?
What if I’m actually just not good (enough)?
So I let all this cycle inside me for a while, like spinach in a salad spinner.
And then I think: So what? Let it happen.
Let it tank. Let the book just be a nice little book that unfortunately didn’t do very well. Disappointing, but in the way where your football team played well and still lost.
Let it sit in bookstores, to be picked up by someone who’s moved to it for whatever reason. Let that one, those twenty or those twohundred people read it and enjoy. Let me be an obscure, unsuccesful writer.
The worst thing that can happen to me is that there is no more book deals in my future. The worst thing that can happen to me is that everything stays the same from hereonout. That’s not a terrible fate to me.
Let people hate it. Nothing is loved by all, and even if my book is hated by all? I’ll know in my heart: it’s the best, most genuine and loving thing I’ve made up til now. If it turns out it was only for myself, then that’s what it is. Back when I thought I was talentless myself, that didn’t even stop me from writing. I don’t think bad sales or bad reviews can. And if people are mean, Twitter and Instagram have block-options. I’ll get over it.
Let me be a charitycase for my agent and my publisher. Even if I am their pet project, I’ve learned and grown from them. I appreciate their support, their help, their efforts, the opportunities that have come to me through them, whatever the reason.
And…I don’t have to be good (enough) to do it. Let me be not good enough, mediocre, below average, maybe even a bad writer.
It won’t stop me from writing.