Since my Beta Readers have (for the most part) read my story the feedback is slowly coming in on my most recent draft. Every time someone mentions reading or finishing or even enjoying my book, I get this queasy feeling and struggle to make eye contact. I keep wondering if it's possible to have an illustrious writing career where no one has to read your work. I wish I was joking. Still I'm easing up to the idea that folks are reading my book. And they claim to want more! They're so sweet. While they beg me for spoilers about a potential sequel, not all the questions are on the novel's content. One thing being asked, is if I will try to get it published. And that, as my writer friends know, is a loaded question.
And wrapped up in that one little voiced curiosity are many other questions:
Do I think it's good enough to be published?
Do I think I could find an agent?
Is this a book I want to be known for?
If I edit it again, it might be.
Will anyone want to read it?
Do I have the nerves of steel necessary to handle rejections and professional critiques from agents, editors and publishing houses?
Will I break down in Barnes & Noble because nobody is jumping to publish my book when I see the huge Fifty Shades of Grey display?
Oh, and I'm terrified at the thought of contacting agents.
The thing is, while writing and editing it, I had confidence. I believed it was a story worth telling and I felt-if I got it right-it would be worthy of publication. I don't think I could have spent so long on it if I didn't.
Now I'm working on a new project and I feel more confident. This could be the one. But isn't that how I felt before? Maybe I'm growing as a writer and this is all normal, though the little doubtful voice in my head wonders if I'm like Charlie Brown and every time I convince myself this is it, I'm going to get it right and kick that ball, I'm wrong.
Only there is no one playing Lucy in my analogy. I'm my own Lucy. Someday when I do send out query letters, and submission to editors there will be many faces to Lucy. There will be a lot of disappointment and maybe it's fear of the inevitable rejections that's keeping me from answering with a definitive and hopeful, "Yes, I will try to publish."
Still, you don't want to query before your book and you are both ready. Hesitation isn't necessarily a bad thing but I wonder, am I being realistic or just lacking confidence? Maybe it's like falling in love, once you finally experience it, you have no doubts. The doubt is proof that it's not right.
It's tough. I've heard writers claim to never feel done, never feel completely confident in their work. It could always be better in their minds. Is that what I'm feeling? How do you know the difference anyway?
I see you shrugging.