One of the things I struggle with, and I suspect most people do, is confidence. It takes a lot of confidence to write a review and feel like you have something worth saying about the story. It takes a lot of ego to put yourself out there, in any form, and say “Hey, look at me!”.
I was chatting with KT the other day, and she mentioned that I should ask my editing regulars for testimonials to go up on the Chimera site. I should, and I’m emailing them to do so, but my initial reaction the first time she mentioned the idea was a kneejerk NO! Because part of me is always afraid either 1. They don’t really like me and my work (Clearly false, as these are people who have booked me twice at least, and who I get along with wonderfully!), or 2. That I’ll bother them.Even though I know, on a conscious level, that’s not the case.
I was also talking this weekend with an author who is much further along her career. She’s been published for well over 15 years, and has at least as many books out through a major house. She just got her edit letter back and was doing what I call the Red Pen Rant: Griping and groaning, because clearly, everything is terrible and what the editor wants her to do to the book isn’t working for her, etc. (Far more nuanced, actually, but the details don’t matter for this.) Now, I’ve read the series this is in, and I was amazed. The same doubts, fears, and complaints exist still, after years of publication. I’ve heard stories that even Big Names have things they wish they could fix about their published works, or won’t even read them because they’ve become such better writers, but I’d never seen it first hand.
These feelings are normal, because we take critique of our work personally. It’s why I always preface my especially difficult crits (You know the ones, where you know the amount of work you’re suggesting is FAR greater than the author expected.) with advice to read the suggestions over, sleep on it first, and one they’ve calmed that kneejerk reaction, to ask questions. It’s not personal, when I’m editing something. So I need to get it through my head that when the tables flip and I’m trying to find the confidence to put myself out there more, be it with promotion or my own projects, I have to acknowledge the kneejerk and get over it, but press on. Rejection is ALWAYS a possibility, and there’s little that sucks more than being told no, but not asking is the same end result without the chance of yes. It’s an automatic, self imposed no. Why reject yourself before you even get a shot, no matter how small, at the yes?
Speaking of chances: If anyone’s wanting a chance at a critique, I have a query+First chapter critique up for grabs to support RAINN! It’s only open for today (4/4/16), so if you want in, I suggest grabbing it ASAP!!