We’ve often said here at Seriously Write that the journey to publication is not an easy road. It’s good to be prepared for dips, bumps, and unexpected detours. It’s also important to be aware that we’ll face new challenges once we reach our first destination and become “published.” I’ve admired Susan Meissner for some time and have read a number of her books. I’m so glad she’s here today, sharing wisdom gained during her own writing journey for handling those things that may stress us out. ~ Dawn
Tips for Handling Stressors in Publishing
by Susan Meissner
Sometimes when people ask me what is one thing I wished I had known from the get-go about this industry is that just because you are published, that doesn’t mean the opportunities for stress suddenly disappear.
The stressors that can plague you in your pre-published days – the waiting, the multiple rejections, the close calls where you almost had it, the pages and pages of rewrites – morph into new stressors, like reviews by people who totally missed your point, Amazon numbers that you just can’t seem NOT to look at, the horror of being told you are in charge of your own marketing, royalty statements that make you feel like anything BUT royalty, and the envy that slides up out of the darkest part of you when colleagues find a place on the bestseller list and you don’t.
There are probably many other stressors out there but let’s look at just a few of them to see if we can’t adjust our perspective a little bit.
There are always going to be readers and reviewers out there who don’t get you, who don’t get your Christian worldview, who don’t like what you wrote or how you wrote it. The reviewers whose opinion matters to you are the ones you need to honestly consider. The rest you need to let go. Don’t respond to them. Don’t complain about them on your social networking sites. There is usually, not always, a kernel of truth to a review that is uncomplimentary. Find the kernel, learn from it, and let it go.
I know what my skill set is. I can write. I can teach. Marketing is a different skill set. That is why publishers have an editorial department and a marketing department and they are staffed by different people. I have come to a place where I am okay with my limitations. I do what I can do the best of my ability when it comes to marketing and self-promotion. I maintain a professional website, a blog, a newsletter, Facebook, Twitter, and I accept outside invitations for interviews, guest blog posts and teaching opportunities. But at the end of the day I am a writer, not a salesperson. And I am okay with that. Find three marketing tools that you can excel at and do those three to the best of your ability.
Envy is not your friend
When you’ve done your absolute best but the sales numbers just don’t match up, the best way to counteract feelings of defeat, bitterness and envy is to cultivate joy for the success of others. Facebook and Twitter give us instant insights into all the great things that happen to other people. The more time you spend in social networking, the more you will be exposed to the good fortunes of others. When the envy monster wants to crawl out of you, stop and pray and thank God for that other writer. Know that the monster will be back tomorrow. Or an hour later even. In all honesty, you will need to be in attitude of prayerful thanksgiving for the rest of your life.
Remember, that you are not your writing career. What happens in your writing life doesn’t define who you are. God only measures our contributions to the world by how much we love.
And no one but you can put a limit on that.
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Susan Meissner is the author of 14 novels, including The Shape of Mercy, named by Publishers Weekly as one of the 100 Best Novels of 2008. She also enjoys teaching workshops on writing and dream-following, spending time with her family, music, reading great books, and traveling. She lives in southern California with her pastor husband and their four grown children.
Connect with Susan here:
Twitter: @SusanMeissner - Facebook: Susan Meissner