My Book is Coming Soon…Now What?

I’m kind of freaked out about it. And I’m not afraid to admit it.

Writing a book and having it published is a dream I’ve had for years. Well, the third time ended up being a charm, as the saying goes. After receiving two rejections, I sent my manuscript to the publishing company my dear friend, Tyler, works with, and a couple of days later I’m signing a contract. Encompass Ink (Hot Ink Press’ GLBT imprint) liked my novella, “Back in the Saddle”, enough to invest in me as a writer. Very few moments in my life (except my senior voice recital, wedding, & first nephew being born) even come close to the excitement I felt. I was flying high for months!

And then came the reality that my work, the words I put my heart and soul into assembling together to make a story, would be out there for all to see. This voice in my head, the one that still feels like an awkward teenager with braces and no date to the prom, tells me I should have thought twice before exposing myself like that. The other voice, the more mature, fearless one with perspective and wisdom, assures me that I have to take risks in order to reach my goals.

“Fall seven times, stand up eight.” Japanese Proverb

Now it’s less than two weeks until my release date. I find myself floundering through Facebook groups, the Goodreads author programs, and a variety of other social media outlets looking for followers, even though you have yet to read a stitch of my writing. It’s a daunting task. It has the potential of depleting my hard-earned self-confidence before my book is even out! Yikes!

So what do I do? I have my release event scheduled, most of my swag & giveaways ready, and I’m on social media every single day. The truth is – I don’t know. I’m in the same boat as many of you who are brand new to publishing or preparing to publish. But I’m open to trying anything and learning from those who have been in my shoes before.

If I’m being honest, my biggest concern is how I’m going to react to the first negative review. Will I crumble under the criticism? The last thing I want is to put my first book out there and become too scared to do another. So, I resolve to handle all comments with humility and grace, focus on what I have instead of being afraid of what I don’t, and count my blessings.

Vital to my survival are a couple of really great author friends, Eddy LeFey and Tyler May, who have always been there for me to listen and to make me try again; I have a fantastic publishing family who is supportive and encouraging; My family and friends and wife put up with my easily distracted mind and endless hours at the computer. And I’d be remiss if I failed to mention all those authors (you know who your favorite go-to storytellers are) who have led the way for newbies like me.

As for my own book and writing career being a success, that is yet to be determined. But I have a slew of characters in my head who are begging for their stories to be told and the courage and determination I’ve not felt in a long time. Will J.R. Barten become a household name? Probably not. Will you give me a chance by reading my stories? I hope so.

I’d love to hear from you! As a newer author, are there strategies you found most effective for gaining an audience? As a veteran author, are there obstacles you’ve encountered along the way that we can learn from?  Feel free to comment here.

To learn more about me, check out my page on Facebook and Goodreads. The links to both are to the right. Thank you!

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