10 Things Authors Worry About

20 Sep

Announcements: 

The next section of my interactive poetry series on Wattpad has begun! You can read the first poem – The grave of my teenage daughter – by clicking the link. Remember to vote, comment, and/or share for your chance to be mentioned during my next YouTube video.

In other news, Star-crossed Book Blog reviewed Take Me Tomorrow, and she included excerpts and viewpoints on the characters. Read the full review by clicking here, but here’s a small quote, “Noah was a mystery that I enjoyed unraveling. He was broken, dark and even though he never showed it, I couldn’t help but feel as though he was suffocating from having the weight of the world on his shoulders.” Click here to check out Take Me Tomorrow on Amazon.

10 Things Authors Worry About:

One of my more popular posts has always been Being a Writer: Pros and Cons. So much so that I even receive emails about it to this day – mainly from aspiring writers who want a little more detail about an author’s lifestyle. That’s why I got to thinking about this topic, and that is also why I thought it would be fun to share some of those pesky worries authors can go through on a regular basis. Honestly? I probably could’ve gone on forever, but here are ten topics I’ve had a giggle at to start the conversation:

1. Is my title catchy enough? – This is my first one because I dealt with this while writing this piece. In all honestly, this should be titled “things I worry about as an author” but…A. That’s too long. B. Using “I” is generally frowned upon because…A. It’s self-centered B. It subconsciously removes readers from the center of the piece; therefore, taking down your chances of being clicked, read, and commented on. (This is true. Google it.) And let me just point out that this is just a blog post. Titling a novel is even scarier! That’s when even more questions arise: does it make sense, does it represent my novel, will readers enjoy it, is it eye-catching, how will it look on a cover? Even worse: how will it look like on a spine or as a thumbnail? Just. Title. Me. (and by “title” I truly mean “hit”)

2. Can I stare at this picture of myself forever? – Generally in reference to whatever photo we decide to use for various purposes, including our websites, business cards, and book covers. I don’t care how awesome someone looks or how stunning a photographer makes you look, seeing the same photo day-after-day-month-after-year is really strange (and borderline creepy). It is almost like staring in the mirror too long. Eventually, you start thinking, “Do I really look like that? Is that how people see me?” Ah! I just want to hide my face in a book.

3. Are my characters (fill in the blank)? – Too happy, conceded, whiny, or – the worst one – flat. It’s this solid shadow of worry that is impossible to forget.

4. What am I doing wrong? – Okay. Okay. This is just a question that I’m sure everyone has about numerous things in their life, but I feel like this question represents so much for authors. Why are my rankings so low? Why haven’t I gotten more reviews yet? How can I connect further with my darling readers? Everything is lined with this “I know I can do better, but first I need to know what I’m doing wrong so I can improve” and it slowly becomes this obsession of Googling for advice and begging fellow authors for some sort of know-it-all secret, but it results in one thing: you’ll get better. And you slam your forehead on your desk because you know they’re right.

5. Ratings, Reviews, and Rankings (Oh! And sales!) – Even if we try our hardest to ignore them, they are often discussed within the writing community. I can admit that I try to pay attention to everything – especially the reviews my readers post, because I look at it this way: if they are going to take the time to read and review my book (not to mention send me a link), I am definitely going to take the time to read their thoughts. Thanking them is the least I can do. That being said, this combination of numbers and scales can be just as exhausting and discouraging as it can be enthralling and encouraging, so there’s definitely a careful line we have to keep in mind if we’re going to keep our minds on these things, and I definitely don’t recommend that every author pay attention to these things. It’s completely up to the author’s personal preferences, especially in terms of whether or not someone can just have fun with it. (But that’s a different discussion entirely…that I’m already planning on posting about in the near future).

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6. What am I going to do in 2017? – Yes. 2017. I don’t know about many authors, but I think a lot of authors have year-long plans if not longer plans as to what they want to work on, release, and distribute next. While we’re publishing one novel, we’re probably already writing another one, and we might be writing a second one when we’re on break. It takes years to write and publish, so writers’ lives are generally planned out a year in advance. It can get overwhelming sometimes, especially when you want to fit in a new project or change directions entirely.

7. When will I write next? – As contradicting as this can be, a writers publication calendar can be set for a year or three, but finding time to write or edit or a number of other writerly things is entirely up to the writer and their personal life. Wait. I’m open from 3 a.m. to 6 a.m. next Thursday? Not anymore. #amwriting

8. Am I reading enough? Am I writing enough? – Reading and writing go hand-in-hand into the sunset…while riding separate horses…that sometimes like the go in different directions. Balancing two passions can be hard, sometimes impossibly difficult, but we find a way.

9. Am I writing for fun enough? – Much like the above issue, it can go hand-in-hand with simply writing, but writing with deadlines can sometimes take that original fun out of it, and even authors need to take time to write something silly they never have to worry about releasing or sharing with four editors and the world.

10. Social Media – It was the best of nights and it was the worst of nights. I love it, and – sometimes – I do hate it. (Please don’t tell social media that.) It can be repetitive, and it can be so exciting that you fall off your desk chair and your cat leaps five feet in the air due to your sudden movements. Even then, your eyes can only stare at that little glowing screen for so long before you have to step away and remember what real-life colors look like without an alien illumination behind them. I can still love how it connects me with you all, though, and I enjoy speaking with everyone in the comments below, but I also worry about whether or not you’ll enjoy my next article, my approaching poem, or my non-HD video. (Sorry, a writer’s life isn’t always a rich life. I can’t afford HD yet, even though you all deserve it!) But I try to push my worries away, so I can fully enjoy the ride.

Let’s enjoy this ride together! Comment below, and we’ll chat about what you worry about as a reader or writer. Honorable mentions go to editing, mistakes that make it through editing, and other writer problems we all tweet about.

~SAT

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30 Responses to “10 Things Authors Worry About”

  1. Holly Michael September 20, 2014 at 12:27 am #

    Worries about ranking and sales can drive an author crazy. Best advice: keep writing. More book drive up sales.

  2. Bethany Hatheway September 20, 2014 at 12:42 am #

    1. Seriously, I just take suggestions from people until I come up with something that isn’t already something that Google has word-for-word results for. Luckily 2 doesn’t apply, because I don’t have a picture in my actual books or on any business cards or anything. Until I either cave and sit for a real photographer or get my mom to take a good picture (she takes senior pictures for high school, so she pretty much knows what she’s doing) I’m just putting the best picture I can find up everywhere online, even though it doesn’t really look like me anymore (different hair, different glasses).

    I think that my worst fear is that readers won’t connect to my stories. Like I love them, this is the exact genre I would want to read, but I don’t know if it will miss the mark for some people. I’m afraid of writing too broadly, because all my books are in the same universe and the first one is series but fluffy, the third one is going to be really fun and silly, and the second one I’m halfway done with is super serious and the romance is between the male/female character but the steamy scenes are between two male characters. It’s different, but I can’t pull back now. I might just end up with a second book that goes nowhere and I can just go on and write the third and pretend that nothing happened.

    • Shannon A Thompson September 20, 2014 at 1:16 am #

      Thank you for sharing your thoughts! I think many authors can relate to worrying about their characters and their stories both for themselves and for their readers. :]
      ~SAT

  3. bwharold September 20, 2014 at 12:55 am #

    Reblogged this on B.W. Harold's and commented:
    I have struggled with all of these and still do on a daily basis!

    • Shannon A Thompson September 20, 2014 at 1:21 am #

      Thank you for sharing!
      ~SAT

      • bwharold September 20, 2014 at 1:34 am #

        Thank you for the great article.

  4. K. Caffee September 20, 2014 at 2:45 am #

    My big one is worrying that I won’t remain interested in the story I’m writing long enough to get through the sticky spots.

    Right behind that is the worry the plot will unravel on me as I forge ever deeper into one of my weaker settings. (Writing a political scene, and I don’t like, have trouble dealing with, and generally avoid real life politics. But, without the political piece somewhere in this general period, the entire series would wind up unravelling on me, and I know it.)

    • Shannon A Thompson September 20, 2014 at 2:53 am #

      That can be hard, too! Thanks for reading and commenting.
      ~SAT

      • K. Caffee September 20, 2014 at 3:36 am #

        Thanks for the reply. I’m glad that I ran across your blog, because it actually gave me a couple of ideas for the segment I’m stuck on right now.

  5. Dominika September 20, 2014 at 2:46 am #

    Apt; I worry about each point that you brought up here! I, also, worry about whether readers will completely misunderstand or miss important subtleties.

    • Shannon A Thompson September 20, 2014 at 2:52 am #

      Oh, yes! Those questions like “am I hinting it enough or too much?” are nail-biting. Great addition.
      ~SAT

  6. Charles Yallowitz September 20, 2014 at 6:44 am #

    #5 drives me up the wall. Especially since I have some people who react to my Amazon rankings worse than I do. My latest book didn’t get as high up the charts as the previous 4 because slow summer and it’s 5th in a series. Things will obviously slow down. I ended up getting a few messages asking if I was okay with this and one person sent me an Ecard to cheer me up. It was actually this that made me panic more than my own worry when I swore I’d simply be happy selling a few books every day.

    As for 2017, that’s the year I publish the last 3 books of my series. So I guess I have to start wondering what I’ll be doing in 2018 . . . one-shot to seal a possible secondary character’s plot and starting in on my fantasy vampire series. 🙂

    • Shannon A Thompson September 20, 2014 at 11:28 am #

      #5 deserves a post on all its own. 😛 I love your calendar plans!
      ~SAT

      • Charles Yallowitz September 20, 2014 at 11:49 am #

        Thanks. Fingers crossed that I can stay on schedule. 🙂

  7. lollywrites September 21, 2014 at 11:35 am #

    You are doing great I admire your talent and your tenacity.

  8. Richard Sutton September 21, 2014 at 11:36 am #

    All places I’ve been, left and revisited several times. They get old, but I keep on comin’ back anyway. The only thing I’ve learned I can actually offer other writers as universal advice is: It’s going to take some time. Be prepared to wait while working fiendishly.

  9. Beth Caplin September 21, 2014 at 11:52 am #

    I just wrote a blog post very similar to #4. I am always paranoid about whether my books really showcase my abilities as a writer, or whether there’s some flaw that no one – not the editor, not any of the betas – picked up on, but the readers will. I’m also training myself not to care so much about ranking (I know mine is nothing close to bragging about). My priority now is connecting with other writers, building relationships with readers, and working on another book 🙂

    • Shannon A Thompson September 21, 2014 at 1:08 pm #

      Anne Rice just released a statement about how – no matter what – there will always be something that slips through (a mistake in editing, in content, in all the little pieces that make up a book). Even with an entire team, someone will miss something, and she was saying that was okay. But I’m like you! I definitely have my moments where I’m worried that readers won’t pick up on something or will figure something out too easily or something else will happen. Thank you for commenting!
      ~SAT

  10. theowllady September 21, 2014 at 2:45 pm #

    Reblogged this on theowlladyblog.

  11. SJ Francis September 21, 2014 at 7:13 pm #

    Fabulous post and valuable to all writers. Thanks for sharing it with us.

  12. debyfredericks September 21, 2014 at 9:34 pm #

    My big fear is that I’ll work long and hard and not be able to find a market for my story. It happens quite a bit, actually. My children’s fantasy always seems to be too long for the juvenile magazines and too juvenile for the adult magazines. Some day soon, I suspect, I will have enough of them to just do my own anthology.

  13. Adrianne Crouse September 22, 2014 at 1:33 pm #

    Yes, these are concerns I have. Also, as a blogger, I sometimes think, “should I post this?” I almost always do. Thank-you for taking the time to check out my site. Your encouragement is greatly appreciated!

    Adrianne

  14. stephsgrn September 22, 2014 at 3:55 pm #

    I honestly worry that I will never be a “writer”. I had an idea in my head for a book, started to get it down on paper, and lost it.. not what I’d written, but the story itself. I just started wondering, is this story even interesting? Will anyone care to read it? Am I even a good enough writer to make it interesting? So many questions for myself and I now feel like I’ve lost it altogether. I really want to write, because I actually enjoy it, but I also want to write something people will actually want to read. I feel like I have “writer’s block” but I’m not even technically a writer yet.. Is that completely twisted? LOL

  15. author winona October 1, 2014 at 4:36 pm #

    Reblogged this on Winona Rasheed's Book blog & More.

  16. Elizabeth Huff December 17, 2014 at 11:46 pm #

    Reblogged this on The Well-Rounded Writer.

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Sunday Post: September 21 | Classy Cat Books - September 21, 2014

    […] 10 Things Authors Worry About by Sarah A. Thompson […]

  2. September Ketchup | Shannon A Thompson - September 30, 2014

    […] 10 Things Authors Worry About: I’m glad I’m not alone in these worries, but it looks like we all have to stop worrying so […]

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