Writer’s doubt – I’m kinda scared to publish

The original cover of the first edition of my book, "Mantrap".
The original cover of the first edition of my book, “Mantrap”.

Doubt is that area of limbo between completely believing that we can do something, and totally believing that it’s impossible.

Last year I overcame a large self-doubt when I committed to writing a story that I had been thinking about the year before. It was a fun story based on me and a bunch of guys from college with whom I’m still very close. I was writing the book for them, and for myself. And I truly believed that I could write a story that I could be proud of, and one that would entertain those guys.

This year I finished the first version of the book (not first draft, mind you…it saw three rewrites and countless revisions) and presented it to my friends. The response was overwhelming. After getting great feedback on the book, I decided that I’d need to publish it. But first I would need to make a couple of changes to it. One of those changes was removing my friends’ names (and my own) and changing up a couple things in the story to make it a little bit less of a happy ending (killing all of my friends at the end of a book seemed to be a bit harsh, especially since it was a gift to them). I needed to be able to part with some characters. It was back to the revision process.

I haven’t touched the manuscript since I printed that first run of 20 books. That was four months ago.

What I’ve realized is that I’m scared to change this story. Not because it will change the book; the changes are actually for the better and I know they will make the story more well-rounded. But I’m scared that when it’s done, that it could fail. It’s not writer’s block. It’s writer’s doubt.

The next version of this book isn’t for my friends. It will be for the masses. It will be available for anyone to pick up or download. And those people, complete strangers, could love it or hate it. This time around, I simply don’t know how people will respond. It’s scary.

So it’s time to man up. Will people like the book? I hope so. Is it a good book? Yes, I think it really is.  Should I stop making excuses to put in that final rewrite? You bet your ass.

(As added motivation, I added the cover from the original version of the book to this post. There, now everyone can see it.)

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