Fear of Failure

Fear of Failure

I consider myself a confident person. I’m proud of my accomplishments in the areas of education, writing, storytelling, parenting, and friendship. So why then did I gain fifteen pounds as I readied my newest book for publication? For me, sweets are the ultimate comfort food.

I thought about it and then had a session with a counselor before I gained a hundred pounds. My identity in my third (or fourth?) career is writer. I spend full time at it during the summer and a good bit of time in the other seasons. The nonfiction books I’ve written, published by established firms, got good reviews but the royalties wouldn’t pay the mortgage for more than a month or two. I published my memoir, As One Door Closes, on XLibris, a print on demand firm, when my agent got laudatory letters from publishers but no contract. I didn’t promote the book and it only sold 483 copies. No reviews.

I’ve spent the last five years writing, revising, and trying to sell my novel, Reinvented Lives. I went to writers’ conferences, sent query letters, etc. I did get two New York agents to read the whole thing, and they liked it. But they didn’t LOVE it. These days there’s no hope for a contract for a first novel unless an agent or editor loves it.

I went to a conference of the Southwestern Society of Authors in Tucson last fall. An author told how she had published her nonfiction book on CreateSpace which is part of Amazon.com and did it electronically for Kindles. She sold five or so copies a month until she allowed it to be free for Mother’s Day Weekend, when 22,000 people downloaded it! After that she sold ten to twenty copies a month. Although this is a hundred to four hundred percent increase, I wasn’t that impressed at the time but my paradigm has shifted.

Do I write to make money or to communicate to readers? Every writer I know has a secret desire to be on the best seller list, but I’m more realistic than to plan on that. I don’t count on making money from my writing. Heck, I write this column for free! I began to be dazzled by prospect of 22,000 readers.

Hence I got my teacher and literary friends to copy edit the book. Nothing screams amateur like misspellings or typos in a published book. My childhood friend is a graphic artist and she designed the cover. This should all be great but I was eating Oreo, ice cream and dark chocolate like the world was ending. Why?

It was a crisis of confidence. What if I got 22,000 people to download the book and even ten percent of them read it. Would they like it or laugh at it?

front cover of the book

front cover of the book

I got the proof for the paperback last week from CreateSpace and the spacing is weird on some of the pages. Both the right and left sides have to be justified and it made some of the lines space very badly. So I have to figure out how to solve that problem. I’m going to give myself a deadline of a week. So you should be able to buy a paperback copy the novel Reinvented Lives by Annie Weissman on Amazon.com in about two or three weeks. The Kindle version will out six weeks later Let me know what you think at annieweissman@aol.com


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