Staying Steady on the Publishing Rollercoaster
I often have conversations with my clients about the ups and downs of the writer’s journey. It can be a rollercoaster, even for those with the strongest character. It’s important not to underestimate the power of the psychological and emotional aspects.
People will tell you not to take things personally, but you know it IS personal. Your writing is important, and when things aren’t going the way you want, it doesn’t feel good.
There are so many moments in the publishing journey that can really make you feel bruised, and others that make you feel terrific:
- When you’re having trouble finding an agent vs. when you finally get an agent.
- When your agent is having trouble finding you a publisher, vs. when a publisher makes an offer on your book.
- When you’re struggling through finishing your manuscript, vs. when it’s finally complete and you’re happy with it.
- When you first receive your edits and they’re overwhelming, vs. when you’ve completed your edits and your know your book is the better for it.
- When your book receives negative reviews or even criticism, vs. when you get great reviews.
- When your book doesn’t sell as well as you’d hoped, vs. when your book sells better than anybody expected.
Of course, the list could go on and on. This journey is bound to whip you around emotionally.
But my point is not just to tell you to be ready for this. It’s deeper than that. In order to truly be ready for it, you’ve got to prepare. You’ve got to have something to hold on to—something that will keep you steady in the ups and downs. Something that will keep you off the proverbial ledge.
What will keep you steady? What can you reach for in the up and down moments—to keep you grounded, to keep you from getting too low? Some ideas:
1. An agent.
A business partner who understands this business, gets the rollercoaster nature of it, and can help you keep it in perspective.
2. A strong sense of yourself.
It’s important to know where your worth comes from. If you’re letting your self-worth rise and fall with the whims of the publishing journey, you’re probably going to be in trouble. You want to be firm in your conviction of who you are and what makes you worthy.
3. A strong sense of purpose.
If you know why you’re on this journey, and the reasons behind your goals are meaningful to you, it can go a long way towards keeping you steady. It will help you press on when things get rough. It will keep your ego from going out of control when things are going well.
4. A friend who’s also on the journey.
Another writer can be helpful in ways an agent can’t be. They can be a steadying factor when things are tough, and someone to celebrate with when things are going great.
Where do you get your self-worth? What are some ways you stay steady on the rollercoaster?