cover design

Do The Lambs Still Scream, Clarice?

I turned my novel into an editor on Friday.

I tried to find a photo that would convey shear terror and elation at the same time. Like a girl, mouth wide open with a scream, covered in blood, but also in a tutu, twirling and dancing.

Couldn’t find it.

On one hand, the tremendous work of revising and editing just to get it ready for this stage is finally OVER. I’m free now to catch up on what I had let go. Turns out the shit hits the fan around here without me. It took me ALL WEEKEND to catch up on Mount Laundry, the frat house my upstairs had become, dishes, bathrooms….UGH. And the house being up to par only frees me up for the endless list of other things I need to catch up on: that oil change, and those bills with their pesky due dates. But now I can tackle it; that’s the good news.

On the other hand, every time I remember there’s someone reading my novel I want to spit up a little. Yes, people have read it before, but they weren’t professionals, whose aim it is to find problems.

What if she hates it?

What if she tells me it’s shit?

What if it comes back so riddled in red marks I’ll never see my way out of it?

What if she doesn’t love my characters like I do?

will this excruciating fear ever end?

I wonder if authors always feel this way, or do you finally get to a point of confidence in your work? Does Stephen King write The End and think I just shit gold!

I try, I try to quell the scary thoughts and replace them with positive ones: What if she loves it? What if she has great suggestions I can’t wait to implement? What if everything’s going to be just fine did you ever consider that you masochistic nut-job?

Last night I was on the computer. My husband came in and – seeing the expression on my face – asked if I was looking at a murder scene.

Kinda. I was on a website about formatting your novel for ebook. *gulp* Seems really overwhelming. I had to take a few deep breaths and remember the words I’ve been telling myself during this whole journey — the same ones I told myself in an earlier post, Hold My Hand Until I Can Fake It , Please : I need to just take things in baby steps, and know that there are amazing, supportive communities of writers out there to help me through these processes.

I just need to reach out and ask for it. Breathe in, Breathe out.

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Writers/Authors: Do you still die inside when others are editing your work? What is the best advice you could give me on self-pubbing? Or the best place you would send me for resources?

Anyone: To show you how much I appreciate you reading all the way to this point, I give you this. Don’t say I never gave you anything.

I Don't Like Mondays Blog Hop

Hold My Hand Until I Can Fake It, Please.

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There was a time in my not-so-long-ago past when I wept without shame on an airplane, terrified to the point that a stranger (bless her heart, I’m so grateful to her to this day!) held my hand across the aisle to comfort me until we began to descend and I calmed down. Was this a horrifically turbulent flight across the Atlantic? Hardly. It was 45 minutes from Austin to Dallas. No bumps. It might have been cloudy, which probably hurled me into the panic attack in the first place. And I was on Xanax, people.

I’ve come a long way. If that same woman saw me now, she would beam with pride. Hey, I’ve flown to Hawaii since then – sans Xanax! Yes, I was nervous, but I acted like I wasn’t. That’s the key. You just have to fake yourself out – tell yourself you are a pro. Put your head up and walk right in there like you’ve done it a million times. Eliminate any doubts that pop up immediately – SQAUSH! Because you don’t have doubts, you’re a PRO. Stewardess, can I have a pillow? Me sleepy – YAWN.

My point is, sometimes I require hand holding.

Which brings me to the now. I have a finished novel. For two years it’s been my WIP, and now WTF? I’ll tell you WTF. An OCEAN of information. An ocean in which I am a drop of water. The good news? I have found writers to be the most generous and supportive people on the planet, and I’m not just sayin’ that. I have connected with dozens of dynamic, talented, brave, amazing writers who are now my lighthouses. And they just keep comin’. I’m beyond grateful.

After two years of researching the subject, I’ve decided to self-publish. It’s A LOT of work (no matter which publishing route you take) but I’m determined to put the best possible product out there. I want it to be a labor of love, a collaborative effort with a team of people to help me with the stuff I can’t do (professionally edit, cover design, etc.) and I have a lot to learn along the way. But I have a plan…

BABY STEPS.

If I look at the big picture I’ll end up on the floor in the fetal position hyperventilating in a puddle of my own drool. So I’ll take one step at a time. Right now I’m revising and shopping editors. That’s IT. I’m not allowed to think about anything beyond that. I can read about the beyond all I want; I can flag links about formatting, or cover design, or whatever… but I can’t DO. I won’t dilute the quality of what I’m doing now with stress about the future.

I’m going to stick my head up and walk right into this process, baby step by baby step, and if I get confused or overwhelmed – and I will – I know I have an incredible community around me to light the way, or maybe even hold my hand for a little while.