Things that terrify me about my traditional debut

I joined a Club House room this past week with the Romance and WF club about fears published authors have, for instance, not earning out, no one liking the book etc. While I participated and shared one of my own fears (keep reading for details), in my mind I was racking up way more worries than I publicly confessed to.

A few months ago, I blogged about all the things I most anticipated with my traditional romantic comedy debut, AS SEEN ON TV. But now that we are less than a year away from the release, fears are beginning to infect the anticipation. *Disclaimer: I acknowledge how fortunate I am to have secured a traditional publishing deal. I worked very hard, but there are many other authors who put in just as much effort, want it as badly, and are just as patient and persistent as I was, who are still querying or on submission with editors. I have such high hopes for all of you! But with each milestone we cross, there are new doubts and hurdles. Here are some personal examples:

What if no one likes the book? Here I am, so proud of finally achieving my dream of traditional publishing and the possibility of a much broader reach, but what if the readers don’t come despite my publisher’s best efforts? Or what if they do come and wish they hadn’t?

My publisher is positioning the book as a romantic comedy and that is how I describe it. The central plot is romance and there would be no book without it, but there is also a lot of focus on my main character’s journey, and the book is told in her single POV. What if the romance community doesn’t think it’s romantic enough?   

What if it’s not funny? I’ve heard bookstagrammers and bloggers complain about novels marketed as romantic comedies that didn’t make them laugh. My critique partner, beta readers, and agent thought it was hilarious. My editor wrote in her offer letter that she snort-laughed while reading. But what if no one else shares our sense of humor?

In my earlier post, I wrote about how excited I was to participate in romcom and authorly panels as an author. What if no one invites me to panels or wants to be “in conversation with me” even at my own launch? Will it be like junior high all over again?

I hear other 2022 debut authors discussing blurbs. I’m not quite there since my developmental edits haven’t been accepted yet, but I assume it’s a discussion I will have with my editor in the not-so-distant future. There is no shortage of authors I would be thrilled to blurb AS SEEN ON TV. What if no one wants to? Or what if they agree but can’t think of anything complimentary to say because they detested the book?

What if I get awful trade reviews or libraries and book-sellers don’t take a liking to the book and, therefore, don’t order many copies?

What if I did such a lousy job on my developmental edits that my editor regrets signing me? What if she hates me?

My publisher accepted the detailed outline for Book 2 of the contract, so my editor must have liked the premise, but what if the execution is not up to snuff? I’m in love with it, but would they have bought the book if it had been the one we’d gone out on submission with?

And the one I confessed to in the Club House: what if this two-book deal is a one-off? I am so proud of myself for getting this far, and if the experience begins and ends with this contract, it is still a dream come true. But I’m in this for the long haul and afraid I’ll never sell another book. Publishing is so competitive. Selling once is no guarantee of it happening again. Authors need to bring it every time: great writing, a fresh premise, the right market. I haven’t finished revising book 1 or submitted book 2 and am already thinking about my option book.

I’m sure I could come up with more worries if I tried, but I think you get the gist. Thank you for letting me unload on you! With that out of my system, I am going to thank my lucky stars, get back to dreaming about holding AS SEEN ON TV in my hands, seeing it in a book store, and answering all my fan mail!

Comments

  1. Meredith, I so admire your honesty in this post, but also believe AS SEEN ON TV will get excellent trade reviews, blurbs, and reader support. Yes, other very good writers have worked hard and not gotten recognition, but that doesn’t mean your work shouldn’t! You’re super talented and deserve this opportunity. I can’t wait to read and enjoy it.

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