If you’re not aware of my hit series “The Fear” yet you’re really missing out. Part 1 saw our lovable, naive young author-protagonist ruminate about the unease he felt over finally breaking into the “pro” writing market and having to put his work before actual, real-life, professionally-paid editors. Part 2 saw the still-pretty-much-naive and relatively young author-protagonist stressing about how his first pro-published stories would be received by the savage and ravenous reader-folk.
And now, part 3. What lies in store? The answer should be pretty obvious: more fear.
In a bout of literary foreshadowing I remain proud of to this very day, Part 2 included the following elegantly-rendered line; “maybe these are first-time fears, or maybe I’ll always be afraid that what I’m writing is stinky word-crud.” Well folks, it looks like the answer to that question is the latter – most writers, it seems, will always be afraid their work sucks. They just accept it, get used to it, and bury it beneath all the previous happy experiences where their work clearly hasn’t sucked.
Unfortunately I’m not at that stage yet.
If Part 2 was a snapshot of my doubt-daemons just before the plunge into my first publications, Part 3 is the snapshot just prior to the Big Push. The past half-year has gone as well as I could have hoped. I’ve been inundated with work, and my small writing resume has been growing with every passing month. The future, however, is a scary thing, made so by the release, in six months time, of my first full, feature-length, stand-alone novel. And in hardback to boot.
Said novel was completed about two months ago. Since then the social medial platform I’ve spent the past four years constructing has been kicked properly into action for the first time. It has performed admirably. Hype, marketing, call it what you will, I’ve been able to get the word out about my novel well in advance of its arrival. People from all across the Internetsphere have flocked to offer support, from Facebook to Twitter to tumblr and beyond. I’ve been inundated with messages from people saying just how much they’re looking forward to reading it. I’ve even had folks promising not only to purchase multiple copies, but even encouraging others to do so. This is even more touching given that this particular piece of writing involved me sticking my neck out a little bit with my publisher. They weren’t a hundred percent convinced the subject matter could sell well. I convinced them they could. And, without jinxing it too much, going off how much momentum the hypetrain is picking up, I think it’ll do just that.
But that’s exactly what’s causing this latest bout of Fear. This really is it; back against the wall time. Nowhere to run, nowhere to hide. My name is stamped to this release, quite literally. People are excited, expectant. I would have to be slightly unhinged not to fret over my work’s reception after deliberately attempting to whip up a frenzy over it. Sure, if I keep it up this first big novel is going to sell well. But if it doesn’t live up to the high expectations of my growing readership, what hope is there for anything else I write, let alone direct sequels?
Of course, to top it all I’m suffering from Writer’s Blindness, insomuch as I’ve re-read the work itself so many times I have no idea anymore whether I personally think it’s any good or not. It could be some of the best work I’ve ever produced, or it could be total trash. The editors, of course, are happy enough with it to let it go to publication, but who can truly predict the reaction of the literary masses once they get their hands on it?
The tin whistles are still a long way from blowing, but zero hour is marching steadily closer, and in the quiet moments before going over the top, Fear is at its most powerful. And all I can do is wait.