I’m close to finishing book three in my Witch’s Trilogy. This has taken me almost a year and a half to complete. What started as a simple 80,000 word stand alone novel has become a 230,000 word trilogy, something I never thought I could write. I mean the first novel I wrote (which was terrible) took five years. This took 18 months for all three! That’s crazy.
And yet as I get closer to the end I find myself getting scared. Scared to finish. Scared to succeed. But mostly terrified that it will fail. It makes it difficult to write sometimes, but I do it anyway. A few words here, a few sentences there, trying to get to the end even though a big part of me is afraid of doing so. And I know it’s stupid to be afraid.
For the last couple of years I’ve made some great friends, watched them write novels and make a small (or sometimes big) following for themselves. And they’ve done well. I’m happy for them, and I’ve tried to learn from their examples but it all seems to come back to “write more good books. Eventually something will get through.”
Oh, they do other things like ads on facebook and book bub, but mostly they just write good books and keep putting them out there. No wonder they have lots of readers.
So I’ve been telling myself that with the third book I can finally have a trilogy out, three complete novels, and I might be able to do a bit of advertising. But as the time gets closer I realize that… it doesn’t work like that. Oh sure, I could do some advertising (and I will) but really, in the end it might not even matter. Sometimes getting people to pay attention to what you made is just a matter of the right time at the right place.
So I’m afraid that I’ll put up the third book and I won’t sell a single copy. I shouldn’t be afraid of that, not if I really just want to write. But there it is. That gnawing fear.
Here’s the truth: whether I sell a thousand books, or one, or even zero…I’m going to keep writing. I love telling stories, and building worlds. I love seeing what happens to my characters. So I know I shouldn’t care if this book sells anything since I’m going to keep doing it anyway.
But I also know it’s nice to have some validation that what I say matters to someone. And I don’t know where to get that validation. I suppose I should figure that out soon, because it probably won’t come from sales any time soon.
After this last book in the trilogy I’m going to go back to making my own covers, and probably shorter works because editing can get expensive, but I will continue to write. And I won’t feel the pressure to finish them like I do with this one because I won’t have invested so much money into them… just time, and me. I think I’d rather invest myself in my books then money anyway.
Anyway, time to get back to the writing. Fear or not, I want to finish it. Even if no one ever reads it I need to say that I finished it.
It’s difficult looking for validation from readers, I think. The latest SPP had a good tip: set a measurable goal. For example, maybe getting 10 five star reviews this year? However, that puts your writing success in the hands of someone else.
I think you’ve already succeeded in something incredible. A 230K trilogy is something only 0.0001% of people on this planet have done (might be guessing on the number). So that in itself is something to be proud of.
It is, isn’t it? Now to convince myself of it 😉
I think most writers struggle, at least at times, with the same problems. I’m just about to start working on the third book of my trilogy, and those feelings of fear you mention seem all too familiar. Still, it’s important to realize you’ve already done a great job. Writing is hard. Getting your work noticed is even harder. But just by writing on, putting your books out there, engaging with other writers and readers, you’re doing great!
If you’re moving to shorter works, maybe you can try posting them to magazines, short story competitions, even those open for all, no prize- type of events? Those could bring comments(and/or likes) and perhaps direct more readers to your books as well.
In any case, good luck with your book!
I meant shorter as in novellas instead of full novels, but with us doing the Bradbury challenge and writing a short story a week your ideas would apply there.
Thank you for the encouragement. It means a lot to me.
Fear is good: fear you aren’t achieving means you are focused on quality.
It’s when you stop being worried whether or not your work is good that you start putting crap out there.
And what you say matters to me.
Aww, thank you Dave. That means a lot to me.
I can relate. Finishing is scary. We all have to do it at one point or the other. Congratulations on coming to this point.
Thank you. It amazes me that I’ve managed to get this far. But it’s not over till it’s done, right? Back to work I go.