Debut Novel Anxiety


As it gets closer to the date of my release, my stomach churns with butterflies. Also a mixture of happiness, excitement, hope and yes…terror running through my veins.

Two weeks left to wait. My editor is doing the final read-through to check for any pacing issues, storyline glitches, repetition, and mechanical errors on the novel before my book is unleashed into the world of readers, and of course, reviewers.  
Now I am left feeling extremely nervous as I fall headfirst into expectant authorhood this week. 

Each night I pray my novel has wings and flies...

Instead of writing other novels or working on the sequel to WITCHY WICKEDNESS, I find myself torn between frenzied promotions, booking blog stops, getting my website design done, and reassuring my cat that she is in fact adorable and still loved, even though I  don't have time to play hide-in-seek with her. Silly cat!   


Lately, at night, these constant worries are clouding my mind: 

Will the reviews be mostly positive? Or will there be author bashing? 

Will readers like Shiloh’s “voice”? 

Will I be able to make a living from this?

Will the book be made into a movie?

Okay, so maybe I don’t worry about the last one, but a girl can dream can’t she?

So, while I eagerly wait for my final edits to show up in my Inbox, I thought I’d tell you a bit more about, well, me. Besides my obvious first-book-publishing jitters.

To start off, like most writers in this industry, I pitched to agents and editors and had numerous rejections. For over 2 years. Of course, I see the mistakes I made now. The manuscript wasn’t clean. No crit partners. Only one beta reader. No read through of the MS out loud. Amateur moves.

But in my heart, I knew the storyline had an audience. After resolving all those issues and working with three awesome CPs, and doing another murderous revision with some deep-line cuts, the story was in much better shape.

There were enough vamp, angel, werewolf, fae, and shapeshifter young adult novels saturating the market that I figured it was time, in my humble opinion for more witchcraft-related stories. So I decided to make my heroine a sassy witch. Because witches need love too! When I saw the announcement for the CW’s new series by author L. J. smith, “The Secret Circle,” I knew I was on the right path.

The narrative took a different twist once I decided to add magick to the plot. And it was super fun. The story came alive and I found my “voice." The narrative is loosely based on the actual Wiccan Religion; however, I have taken certain liberties with the portrayal of real witchcraft purely for entertainment purposes.

As a result of adding a magical theme, I wanted my main characters to live in a spooky town, which gave birth to the idea of the setting: Ravenwood, California, near Muir Woods, where teenagers have mystically disappeared for over ten years. The perfect place to set my story. 
Not to mention, I’ve always had a morbid fascination with haunted houses and ghosts. Thus, Ravenhurst Manor was created to add suspense. Because when construction on mansion unleashes a sinister evil, the body count in town rises. And the owner's son, Trent becomes the next victim on the supernatural hit list.

Then I made the smartest move of my career. I hired two freelance editors to critique the novel for me. With their insightful help, I was able to polish the manuscript into a marketable product. Yay!  

After another round of rejections from agents, I decided to research indie publishers. Upon hearing the Amanda Hocking story I thought about self-publishing too. I didn’t expect her wealth and fame, but I still strongly felt that my story had a readership. So, I decided to submit to several Indie pubs first. I figured everybody has to start somewhere, and not only are medium presses accessible to new writers, they also take unagented submissions.  

Then in May 2011, WITCHY WICKEDNESS (perviously titled Beautifully Broken) found its home with Disenchanted Publishing because they gave me full creative control on the novel. Plus, it is owned by a family member, who made me an offer I couldn’t refuse. (Bad Godfather pun?)

Now I sit at my computer, biting nails and wondering if I am getting an ulcer while I count down the days until the book enters the reading world…

Any advice for handling this stage of the process?

 



12 comments

  1. I love vampires, werewolves, etc., but I really like that you chose to spotlight witchcraft. Still the paranormal that everybody love, but something different at the same time. Also, I've never seen an author post such a detailed character gallery. I love that you went to the trouble.

    Congratulations on your upcoming release!!

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  2. Good Luck, Sherry! It'll be awesome, you'll see. :-)

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  3. How exciting! I just know it will do well. It sounds great! Best of luck:)

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  4. Thank you Kate & Martha!

    Once the ARCs go out in about a week, then my nerves will really be frazzled! LOL

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  5. No advice here since I'll be in the same boat soon. I'll have to come back for advice from you!

    Good luck, Sherry!

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  6. Hi Sherry,
    I firmly believe everything happens for a reason. You will do awesome and so will your book. The cover art is amazing, your site is fabulous and you are getting great comments. I wish you all the success and happiness, now take a big deep breath and have some chocolate lol that always calms me down :)
    Natalie

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  7. Well, your comments have eased my nerves...some. LOL And thank you all for the well wishes. Time for chocolate

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  8. Your blog is pretty, Natalie. I am now a follower. :-)

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  9. Oh thank you Sherry you honor me, that is very cool. and your welcome :) yes I agree, time for chocolate :) great idea.

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  10. Joanne, you are too cute! LOL It is getting close for you too. Not nervous at all? Book Reviewers don't scare you? :-)

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  11. The last part of the blog post made it seem like the book's your baby. I guess it feels like that. (:

    I can't wait to see your book published. It certainly deserves more attention.

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I absolutely love hearing from my readers! Thank you so much for your comments. Please consider yourself awesome!

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