Originally published on www.writerschatstew.com
by Sonja Hegman
Publishing a book is terrifying.
With memoir, one worries what their loved ones will think of them. With career/business books, one worries that people will call them a quack, a hack, a dumbass. With fiction, well, there’s a lot with fiction. You get the point.
This week’s topic is inspired by ongoing conversations I’ve had with an authors-to-be. They worry that they’re jumping in too fast to publishing. They aren’t. Many of them have been writing or thinking of writing their books for YEARS. Much the way it’s tough to see your youngest go off to college, so to is letting go of your first manuscript. To that I have this to say: “Leap and the net will appear.” (John Burroughs)
Sometimes you just have to leap without knowing where you’ll land. If you’ve reached the publishing point, turn that manuscript over to an editor. We’re here to help you not hurt you! (Well, if you’re too sensitive about your work we may hurt you, but we call that “tough love.”) Just like you, your editor wants your work to be the best it can be.
It’s scary to turn that manuscript over to an editor. When a manuscript has been your baby for so long, you don’t want to see it go off and get “hurt.” You worry about judgement. You worry that the editor will tell you it’s shit. You tell the editor that you want to rework it before you send it to them. Why? An editor’s job is to give you an outside perspective. Let it go. You can only revise for so long before you drive yourself insane. Plus, you’re likely doing more harm than good. Trust me.
Do you really think the likes of Stephen King and J.K. Rowling would be where they are today without their editors? I could argue yes, because they’re great storytellers, but probably not. Editors are there to tell you if you’re going in the right direction. Every writer needs an editor. Remember that. Even if you plan to self-publish, you MUST hire an editor.
So, have you taken any leaps lately? Are you scared to turn that book over to an editor? Are you scared to even finish your book? If you need help getting unstuck or need a figurative hand to hold on your publishing journey, don’t be afraid to drop me a line or reach out on Twitter.
Leap of Faith in action: Just one month ago, I decided to expand my business to book editing and publishing consulting. Today, I already have three writers signed on and a possible fourth on the way. I never imagined things would happen this fast. It’s funny how things work out when you get on the right path, huh? Think about that when you get scared about anything, not just publishing.
Sonja Hegman was born and raised in what she lovingly calls “Minnesconsin.” A graduate of the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, Minnesota, she received a Bachelor of Arts in journalism with a minor in psychology in 2001. After the newspaper world all but imploded, she started Hegman Editorial, a consulting company focused on the writing needs of small businesses and the promotional needs of authors. Visit Sonja at writerschatstew.com.
Image courtesy of LarryLens