Afraid to Hit Publish? #AuthorToolboxBlogHop

Afraid to hit publish?

You’ve sweated over the perfect word, stolen time from family, work and play, and finally —finally—your book is done. Why then, are you afraid to hit publish?

Fear of putting your novel into the world where anyone can read it can be traced to two reasons—fear of failure and fear of success. Let’s unpack them further.

Fear of Failure

afraid to hit publish

You’re not good enough. Your writing isn’t good enough. So-and-so writer is better. Your book isn’t ready. People will hate it.

If you’ve ever had any one of these thoughts—Congratulations, you’re a writer! We’ve all suffered from imposter syndrome, knowing that anything we write is crap, and why are we even trying?

Good news! We’ve all been there. Every book you read was written by an author who doubted himself. Every. One.

Better news! Your worst fears won’t come true. I mean, really? The whole world will hate your book?

Are you willing to abandon your dream and all your goals because of the opinion of someone else? Since when is any other opinion but your own the standard by which you live?

Stop comparing yourself to other writers. They’re not you. You’re not them. We are all on different stages of the same journey. Don’t let the imagination that created an amazing world be the assassin of your dreams.

You’re good enough, and so is your book. Don’t be afraid to hit publish and send your baby into its next voyage.

Fear of Success

Afraid to hit publish?

If you’re afraid to hit publish, you may be afraid of success. It’s not as odd as it sounds. Fear of success is a valid social anxiety. We like our routines, our habits, and feeling comfortable. What if success changes all that? We’ve seen overnight success in celebrities ruin their careers. We’ve read about lottery winners who are broke five years later. Do we want success if it changes who we are? Will our friends and families look at us and treat us differently if we succeed in our writing career?

Ask yourself:

Maybe we found happiness in the past and it failed. Think of the euphoria of your first love affair, then the heartbreak and disappointment when it broke apart. Or the promotion at work followed by a pink slip.

Good news! Life is full of ups and downs. Why deny yourself a pinnacle of success just so you can remain in a comfortable rut? Don’t you deserve a reward for the sacrifices you’ve made to finish your book?

How to not be afraid to hit publish

  • What will happen if you don’t publish?
  • Realistically, what are the chances of it happening?
  • If it does happen, do you have a plan to cope with the consequences?
  • Will publishing your book take you to the next level?

By laying out the worst-case scenario and anticipating your reaction, you can ease or eliminate your anxiety and not be afraid to hit the publish button.

Fears are normal. Ups and downs are normal. If you write fiction, you’re aware of the hero’s journey and his character arc. Why not embrace the writer’s arc?

afraid to hit publish

Ease your fears with these steps:

  • Find your tribe. Facebook is filled with support groups for writers (20Booksto50K comes to mind). As they say there, a rising tide floats all boats. Ask as question from someone with more experience and give a helping hand when you can. You’re not in this writing journey alone.
  • Be accountable to someone. Post your goal and achievements to someone who will hold you accountable. I know when I don’t feel like writing, I sit down and type anyway because, at the end of the week, I have to post that I wrote at least 3,000 words.
  • Grow a thick skin. Your first book might not get noticed, or if it does, the reviews aren’t stellar, or are nonexistent. (Hint: Don’t read or expect reviews. Take your ego out of the equation and realize reviews are subjective). Your editor gives criticism that you don’t agree with. Your critique group rips apart your character’s motive. Don’t let it stop you from publishing. It’s your book.
  • Get as much feedback as you can from beta readers in your genre and an editor, but sooner or later, you have to have to let go of the book.
  • Nothing will ever, ever be perfect.

Change your mind about failure and success. Don’t be afraid to hit publish. Then start writing the next book.

Much success in publishing your book!



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Gotta Read It! Book Review #AuthorToolboxBlogHop

Gotta Read It!: Five Simple Steps to a Fiction Pitch that Sells

By Libbie Hawker

This month I’m reviewing the writing craft book: Gotta Read It!, an excellent book on how to create the perfect blurb for your book.

Gotta Read It, how to write a blurb for your book

Writing a blurb is hard, almost harder than writing a book. Why is it we can write 40, 60, 80, 120 thousand words, but we can’t condense our story into 150-200 words? Perhaps we’re too involved with our characters. Perhaps our love of storytelling prevents us from leaving out anything. No matter what the reason, we can use help in writing a pitch or blurb for our book.

Fortunately, Libbie Hawker has written a book to make the process easier.

She advises us to think about your book like a publisher. The key to making your book stand out from others in your genre is packaging, which consists of:

  • Cover
  • Title
  • Pitch

In Gotta Read It!: Five Simple Steps to a Fiction Pitch that Sells, she focuses on the pitch.

What is a Pitch:

A pitch, Ms. Hawker explains, consists of five elements:

  1. A character, who
  2. Wants something, but
  3. Something stands in her way, so she
  4. Struggles against that force, and
  5. Something important is at stake.

These five elements are the basic skeleton on which to build your pitch. To build on that skeleton, you need to add three things:

  1. Setting. Give the reader clues so they can form a mental image of the world they’re reading about.
  2. Details. Add details about the main character’s desires and conflicts, as well as clues about his and the antagonist’s personalities.
  3. Voice. The pitch should match the tone of the story. Don’t write a light, breezy blurb when the story is a psychological thriller.

Ms. Hawker also tackles how to write a pitch for a romance and for a book with multiple main characters.

The book is short (52 pages), but it tackles an important dilemma most writers struggle with. I heartily recommend you add this writing craft book to your library.

Gotta Read It! on Amazon for 99¢

This blog is part of the #AuthorToolboxBlogHop, a monthly event on the topic of resources and learning for authors. Feel free to hop around to the various blogs and see what you can learn! To join, visit Raimey Gallant’s website or follow the #AuthorToolboxBlogHop hashtag on Twitter.

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Please feel free to share this article or reprint it with permission. I ask that you please include the following blurb when doing so:

The author authorizes use of this article. Cheryl Sterling blogs at and publishes a free monthly newsletter. If you want to learn the craft of writing and learn the latest at Sterling Books, please visit her website.

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S.M.A.R.T. Goals for 2019 Writing Resolutions #ThrowbackThursday


Today’s #ThrowbackThursday post takes its inspiration from a June, 2017 post. I thought it appropriate to repost S.M.A.R.T. goals as we near 2019 and a clean slate for making progress on our writing goals.

The old post talks about the mistake of thinking you can write a lot during summer vacation. But:

Your best time to write, Buttercup, is when you’re busy with everyday life. Truly. No time to write forces you to write. Squeezing words into little corners of time is a surefire way to get it done. Having all the time in the world=”I’ll do it tomorrow.” Take it from one who knows.

So how do you write when your daily life intrudes?

Use S.M.A.R.T. goals to get your work done

What are S.M.A.R.T. goals? S.M.A.R.T. stands for:

  • Specific. Is the goal clear, explicit, firm, detailed? “I’m going to write a book” is not any of those attributes. It’s too nebulous of a goal. Define it further. Write down (and it’s always best to write down your goals) what genre you’ll write. What subgenre. How long will it be?
  • Measurable. Will you write 500 words this month? 50K? How many queries will you send out? How many writing-related books will you read or on-line writing courses will you take part in? Make sure you have a tracking system, whether it’s a spreadsheet, an online tool, or an old-fashioned notebook. You wouldn’t say “I’ll lose 10 pounds by the end of the month” if you never stepped on a scale, right?
  • Achievable. It’s all well and good to say you’ll write 50K words or query 5 editors a week, but are you being truthful or stretching your capabilities? Which brings us to:
  • Realistic. If you’re working three jobs and your mother is dying, your significant other left you, and the dog’s throwing up, you might not have time to write 5K a day. How fast can you write? Can you improve in some way? (dictation, outlining so you’re not sitting down at your computer and thinking “now what?”) Break your goals into smaller, more achievable bits.
  • Time-based. Give yourself a deadline. Will they be daily, weekly, or by the end of the month? Are you looking at word count totals or time spent writing (pick word count)? Throw some milestones in there while you’re at it. If you want to write 500 words a day, and you have 2K written by June 15th, you’re probably not going to meet your goal of 30K by June 30th.

What’s stopping you from making your S.M.A.R.T. goals?

Do you fear failure? Or maybe success? Do you lack ideas? Or have too many and can’t decide on which one to pick? Does your writing normally sizzle out halfway through your book? Is finishing a book tantamount to having a root canal?

Don’t let doubts stop you. Every writer writes a crappy first draft. Every writer, at some point, wants to kill all their characters in a fiery car crash.

use S.M.A.R.T. GOALS to achieve 2019 writing success


The keys to achieving your S.M.A.R.T. goals

  • Consistency.When I participated in the AtoZChallenge, I committed to writing a 800-1200 word blog post for twenty-six days. Yes, it took time away from my “regular” writing, but I learned I could write quality pieces every day.
  • Commitment. I made a promise to myself to finish the challenge. I not only finished twenty-six blogs, I turned them into an ebook.
  • No vague, open-ended goals. Which will get done? “I’m going to write a book.” OR “I’m going to write 500 words a day on my epic, high fantasy novel, committing to at least an hour a day, turning off TV, the internet and all distractions, including my family.”? Having clear, specific goals will help you achieve them.
  • Keep track of your progress. Make it visible to motivate you to continue.
  • Check in often. Are you on track? What steps do you need to take to stay on goal? What’s keeping you from achieving your goal?

Using S.M.A.R.T. goals will clarify what you want, when you want it done, and how to go about getting it done. Don’t be like me, and let a little vacation and a couple of grandchildren delay you from writing your Thursday blog on Sunday. Make your goals S.M.A.R.T., write them down, and go forth and write!



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