Publishing a Book: The Ecstasy and Anguish

For writers, having a book published is a huge moment. Before that happens, we may spend years writing a book. I certainly have. The manuscript for A Stone for Bread was completed twenty years ago. Three New York agents turned it down. Then I turned it down, filing it away convinced it would never publish.


Several years ago, I pulled out the manuscript and rewrote it. After sending it off to a half dozen small presses, I received the long-sought phone call: We want to publish your novel. This is a stunning moment in any writer’s life.


The next great moment comes when we hold the published work in our hands or see it on-line, launched into  the world for others to read.

the book arrives

Two moments to savor. Because next comes the anguish.


Will people like it? Will they buy it? And what about those dreaded reviews?


I’ve been through this before with my first novel Absolution and here’s what I know: we can get good reviews that may have a single qualified comment, even a criticism or two. And because we’re the anxious and insecure writers that we are, we will ignore every positive thing that’s said and see the review as BAD! I’ve gone back and looked at Absolution reviews and see how much better they look in retrospect.


Thankfully, reviews so far for A Stone for Bread have been really good.


But that doesn’t solve the more basic problem for today’s authors. We also have to do much of the marketing ourselves, a daunting task for many of us. We’re word people, who sit behind computers creating stories or works of nonfiction. We may not be savvy about commercial marketing and how to plug into it. There are dozens of sites and come-ons that invite us to use their services. But will they actually sell books?

At the moment, I’m looking into some of these. Any writers have advice on marketing sites? If so, share it and I’ll post your comments.