So as you all know by now, I’ve received my first batch of freshly printed copies of The Call of the Void. How do you describe the incredible feeling of opening a box full of a novel that you wrote? A mixed range of emotions came flooding through. Obviously, I was very chuffed with myself. This was mine, something I did (with plenty of help and encouragement, of course) and no one can ever take it away from me. It looked great as well. The print quality was excellent (a concern which had given me sleepless nights) and the cover design looked as great in print as it had on screen. My wife was just as excited.
Then the doubts crept in…
The creeping dread at the back of nearly every independent author’s mind is that you aren’t a real author unless published by one of the big names. When I approached my first beta-reader to ask him to read my book I jokingly said to him, “How would you like to read the worst book you’ve ever read?”. He agreed, of course, and he loved it. But the reality is that the criticism is coming and the reality of my statement will come crashing down. To someone, out there, my pride and joy will be the worst book they have ever read, and they won’t hesitate in telling me so. How will I handle that?
One of the advantages of independent publishing is the creative control. Everything from the cover design to the typesetting was my baby. While this is great fun, it is also a heavy responsibility. I’m not only being judged on the content and quality of the book’s writing, but on the layout, cover, blurb, typeface selection, font size, margin size, paper density, EVERYTHING reflects directly on me. And the inevitable typos which slipped through the editorial cracks. Of course, if everything goes well this is a feather in my cap. If it goes poorly, a soul destroying experience awaits.
Alright, so I don’t want it to sound like I am feeling sorry for myself or fishing for compliments, I just wanted you to know what was going through my head the first time I caught the whiff of those freshly printed pages. Opening that box will go down on my list of one of the most satisfying experiences in my life. Seeing my own debut novel in print is bucket list stuff. But the reality is certainly not all sunshine and roses. One thing is certain, though. More books are on the horizon. Watch this space.