My third novel, The Surrogate, has recently been published. A new author asked me if I still feel nervous bringing out a book, as I’ve done it twice before. Yes! I still remember vividly the way I felt before my previous books The Sister and The Gift were published, and although I knew what to expect this time, on the days leading to publication, those feelings hadn’t changed. Here is what I have learned: –
1) It’s okay to feel vulnerable and scared. The story you’ve put your heart and soul into, your precious words, the book you’ve lovingly crafted, line by line, chapter by chapter, is about to be released into the big wide world and there is no predicting how it will be received.
2) You should feel proud and excited. The blank document you started with is now a novel and sticking with it through the sticky middle, ironing out plot holes, developing characters, is an incredible achievement and possibly a lifetime dream.
3) There will be readers who will love it and those glowing five-star reviews will boost your confidence and keep you writing on the days the words don’t flow. These reviews are lovely but they don’t mean there’s no room for improvement. Never grow complacent.
4) There will be readers who hate everything about your work. Those scathing one star reviews are often written to hurt, and they do. Never let these reviewers make you feel you can’t. Go back to point 3, dust yourself off, and write some new words.
5) There will be constructively written reviews and you can glean a lot from these. I love to learn what readers like and don’t like and it really helps with future books, but bear in mind you can’t please everyone and your next book must be written much as your first was, as one you would love to read, not one that you think will please every reader out there. It won’t.
6) It’s normal to have a last-minute panic, to wonder whether your editor was right, to want to reinstate characters, cut entire chapters, and generally write the whole thing again from scratch. Relax. If it wasn’t good enough it wouldn’t be published.
7) Most writers find themselves obsessively checking the Amazon rankings around release date. My husband is now the one who checks the charts, that way I don’t get distracted, disheartened or too excited to write.
8) Publication day is often like a wedding. Full of the best intentions to relax and enjoy it, but in reality often much to do with interviews and social media. Find time in the day to celebrate. You deserve it.
9) It’s normal to want to hold on to your characters, they have become as real to you as your friends. Don’t be reluctant to start something fresh, you have a whole host of new people to get to know.
10) It’s okay to question whether you can ever write another book, but you can. You will. And then you’ll go through all this again.
The Surrogate is currently part of a flash sale and is only £0.99/$1.31 across all digital platforms, you can find it on Amazon here.
Louise, your post is full of inspiration for me! I can’t wait to experience all these emotions good and bad. My dream of publishing a book has always been something I wanted to do. One day I hope to be writing a post just like this!
Thank you for deciding to write and publish your debut novel The Sister if it wasn’t for you I wouldn’t be taking a new path in my life and becoming a writer myself!
Thank you! One point though – you’re not becoming a writer – you ARE a writer. I read your flash fiction yesterday and it was fab. Can’t wait to be reading your novel x
Thank you so much Louise! x
Really enjoyed this post, I’m looking number three in the nose also, Dec 1st is my publication day and I expect to feel exactly as I’ve done twice before, an odd mix of happiness, completion and trepidation. Still wouldn’t swap it for the world — love your covers and I’m off to download The Sister this minute – best of luck, Faith
Thanks Faith. It’s an odd feeling sometimes isn’t it? Wishing you lots of luck with yours x
A great post, Louise! It’s so easy to get caught up in the wrong things that can crush your creativity. I think it can be easy to forget to enjoy the ride too.
Congratulations on your upcoming release! Even better news is that you get to start the journey again with the next book. I sometimes forget that writing the story is the best part, and getting to share it with others is just an extension of that.
Happy writing and I hope you celebrate a lot!
Thanks Mandie. Yes you’re right – writing is the best part & that sometimes gets lost amongst all the other stuff.
Exciting times (again!), Louise. And wise words there. Looking forward to hearing more in person
Ooh yes it’s lunch soon!
It’ll be here before we know it!
Reblogged this on Author Don Massenzio and commented:
Check out this great post from Louise Jensen on what she learned writing her 3rd book from her Fabricating Fiction blog.
Congratulations. I loved the first two books so I’m looking forward to the Surrogate.
Enjoy and celebrate🍾🍾🍾
Thanks Tracey 😃
Good morning Louise. I woke at 6 this morning so decided to finish your book The Sister rather than go back to sleep. So glad I did! It was a wonderful read. Your letter to your readers at the end brought me here. Thank you for your words of inspiration to all budding writers, like myself. You have made me want to start on the piece that’s been buzzing around in my head for a while.
Congratulations on your success and good luck with The Substitute!
Thanks Juliet. Delighted you enjoyed The Sister & that it inspired you. Check on my flash fiction & join in the Friday Fictioneers challenge (links on my stories for instructions). It’s so great for firing the imagination. Good luck!
Thanks Louise! I will. Have a lovely Sunday.
OMG, sorry, Louise. I wasn’t quite awake when I wrote The Substitute instead of The Surrogate. Silly me. Oooops.
That’s ok – I knew what you meant & actually thought it was a great title for a future book! Watch this space…
😀. I’ll be watching!
I loved this post! I particularly liked this point:
The blank document you started with is now a novel and sticking with it through the sticky middle, ironing out plot holes, developing characters, is an incredible achievement and possibly a lifetime dream.
It’s made me have a ‘moment’ after weeks of feeling like ugh when I look at my drafts. You are right, they all started off as blank documents and to get to this stage is an achievement. Never viewed it like this. Thank you
So pleased you related Lucy. I’m at that god awful beginning a novel stage again and it seems mountainous but one word at a time. Wishing you the very best of luck.
Hi FF! I’m very guilty of checking my book sales often. I used to check it several times a day, but I’ve held that back to once a day. Even now I can feel the temptation creeping in. You might consider checking out our new Writers Club, by the way. It now offers free book promotion.
I’ll check it out – thanks.
Let me know if you have any questions.