Half Agony, Half Hope for Publication
“I AM HALF AGONY, HALF HOPE”
–– Captain Wentworth, Persuasion
I learned a lot from the first time I published. I learned that people can have a wide range of opinions about the same piece of literature. I learned the internet is a useful tool, a method to spread opinions and advertise. And I thought I learned that I should not worry about what other people think.
The latter is a hard lesson to learn. The truth is that when you have something to sell, whether it be a book, a song, or an article of clothing, it has to appeal to someone, or else it does not sell. Not everyone will like the same style of writing, just like they do not like to wear the same kind of clothes.
This brings to mind a story that I used to read to my daughters when they were young. It is titled You are Special by Max Lucado. There were wooden puppet-type figures called Wemmicks that judged everyone by giving them either stars or dots, the former was deemed good and the latter was only supposed to put us down. They were labels. But there was one Wemmick, named Lucia, who these stickers would never stick to. No matter how many stars or dots were given to her, they would simply fall off. A certain Wemmick, Punchinello, had been given a lot of gray dots and wanted to be without any stickers like Lucia. So she took him to see Eli, the Wemmick maker. Eli tells Punchinello, “You are mine. That is what makes you special.” The dots start falling off from that moment.
I just published Hope for Fitzwilliam, the second in the Hope Series almost exactly a month ago. I am trying, very valiantly I might add, to feel like Eli does about his Wemmicks. I have no doubt that this is a better book than even the first book in the series, Hope for Mr. Darcy. I admit I was fully entertained while approving it for the last time, in fact, I made myself cry a few times. So does it matter all that much if someone gives it a star or a dot? The truth is, it is mine and that is what makes it special. I should just let the stickers fall where they will, just not on me, and my work.
It took a lot of work to get to this point. It took almost three months to write it and a few more months of editing from my volunteer betas. Katrina Beckstrand, my editor, and I have worked for over a year on the series. All the while, I worked and approved the covers and bookmarks for the series. Then there is all the background blogging and promotions, networking, setting up reviews and scheduling guest blogs on other websites. It can get demanding. Self-publishing is very rewarding and the reason it is so rewarding is because you know its success is a direct reflection of the amount of work you put into it.
Which brings me round circle. I have worked very hard on this book. It has been half agony as I see it transformed into something even more beautiful and yet I still have the fear of rejection. So I literally am half agony, and half hope to see what people think of it. I’d love all 5 star reviews, but in truth, we can only do what we can do. I recently found a quote that summarizes my thoughts.
“Perfection is not attainable, but if we chase perfection we can catch excellence.”
So with a bit of agony, and a bit of hope, I hit that submit button last month and gave to the world what I love so much . . . a bit of me. And I wait as the reviews filter in. I know people will want to judge it and give it a star or a dot, but I know its true worth, for I am its maker. I hope that Hope for Fitzwilliam finds a way into your heart and home like it has mine.
Jeanna Ellsworth Lake
Hey Lady Publications