How to deal with the insecurities of a first-time book launch, especially when you’re self-publishing like me! By writer and artist Carmen Gloria
1. Jump right in.
As I’m about to launch my first children’s book, a part of me is nervous, and a part of me is excited to finally take this leap. When I first started acting, I had to put myself out there, send my headshot and almost empty resume to anyone in the business who was auditioning for anything. Once in a while it worked. I did it with my music too. Same when I decided to leave the military and a “stable income” into the instability of becoming an actress and artist. All the fears have flooded my head, every time, every decision. I have talked myself out of launching my first book at least three times these past weeks, but I am doing it. I am jumping right in. And I suggest the best way to handle this fear is to just do it. One it’s launched and out there, it’s harder to take it back. You’ll be proud that you did it because you get to say you’re a published author.
2. You won’t please everyone.
What I’ve learned is to NOT listen to everybody. Everybody has an opinion. I have to remind myself of that when I’m feeling the fear of creatively expressing myself because it might not be that good, and wonder what will people say if it’s not good. So what? At least I’m doing something. And what if it IS good? Or great? I do strive for greatness every time and I do work hard at all of my endeavors, so I feel good about that at least.
Focus on the people that do appreciate your work, and if they critique, it’s to help you and not put you down.
Learn from the experience and learn to have thick skin.
Luckily I learned to have thick skin in the Army. But not everyone has had the privilege of serving. We dream that people will be moved by what we create. It doesn’t always turn out that way. Some will like it, or love it, but not everyone will. Some might even hate it. I’m already prepared for whatever comes. It is my first children’s book after all. I have tried my best, but I probably didn’t nail the first time, and that’s okay. But hopefully so! I’m learning to accept positives and negatives ahead of time, and am already in the works for my next children’s book. Pay attention to what people like and don’t like, and learn from it for your future projects.
4. Realize that it is the beginning.
Even if your first launch didn’t make it big, at least you did it! You should be proud. If people don’t like it, too bad. I do my best and each time I feel like I learned something and I get a little better. Practice makes you better. Know that this is your first book, not your best book. Your best book will come if you keep writing.
5. Accept and move forward. Sometimes you have to.
Continue to create. What’s the next book? Is it a series? Or do you have another creative idea? Then start working on it. At least brainstorm on it. If you fail, don’t dwell on it too long. I know it hurts every time we work hard at something and people don’t notice, or don’t like it, or choose not to say anything about it just because they hate it. Sometimes the failure of one idea leads to the birth of another idea. And some of them fail again. But creating IS a medicine and it is what makes me feel better.
In my case when it came to music, I didn’t want to give it up. I started music in my 30s. I was maybe good as a singer, a good songwriter, but not GREAT. In today’s music market, we can’t just be good. There are too many great and unique creatives out there to be just good. I finally got the message that my voice is not made for pop and dance music. I had two songs in the Billboard Dance & UK Pop charts, but my voice just wasn’t amazing. So I tried this latin jazz style. It was singing jazz where I received the most compliments, the EP got nominated for Best Jazz EP, and I LOVE JAZZ, so why not try. Even after great reviews and compliments, I didn’t get full traction. There was something about music that never fully ‘clicked’ in terms of my career, even if I worked hard at it for years. So I learned to accept that “failure”, and moved on. I don’t see it as a failure. I have other creative endeavors that I enjoy even more, such as writing fiction and painting. I’m no longer a music artist, but I do still write song lyrics for some other artists, I love it and have become great at it. It’s still writing and storytelling, and I’m becoming a better songwriter with each song.
So that is where I’m at with my creative journey and how I’m handling my own insecurities of launching my first children’s book. I hope this is helpful to some of you that are dealing with the same fears. I am fearful even writing this first blog post, but I just have to do it.
Those of you who are about to launch your first books and happen to read this, I would love to hear how you handle your fears and follow your journey as an author. Please feel free to comment and stay in touch, and thank you for reading.