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Thursday, August 14, 2014

The Irrational Fear of Publishing

There are two types of fear in life:

Rational & Irrational

Our job, actually mine today, is to help you determine whether your fear of publishing your manuscript - that you've been working on for the past decade - is rational (or not).

The largest fear of publishing your baby is the fear of failure. What happens if no one buys my book, you ask. Well, that's a good point. Based on available stats, you won't sell a whole lot of copies of your first novel. Some, not a lot - but some, will sell zero! Now that makes the anxiety level of a normal person increase 100 fold. But should you let it be your prevailing fear?

NO! Regardless of how your book sells...

You are a HUGE success by just getting it published. Think about it this way: There are about 9 billion people in the world. Currently, there are something like 4 million books available on Amazon. If we use these basic numbers, and if we assume every two books represent one author, you are in a class of 0.022 people in the world who have published. And that's GREAT!

Publishing is scary, but the fear of publishing is IRRATIONAL

At least that's how I see it; this publishing game. Think of it another way: One out of the next 4,500 people you meet (on average) has actually published a novel. In the US alone, there are approximately 15,000 towns and villages of that size (around 4,500). That makes you a big fish in a small pond. Of course, there are probably more authors per capita in the US than any other country, so maybe a lot of us are small fish in a large lake. But the point is:

By self-publishing your novel, you have succeeded 

And isn't that something? I sure believe it is.

Let's look at another irrational fear that has been ingrained in humans for millennia. It's the fear of Canis Lupus - the wolf.

For some reason, we here in North America have a huge fear of wolves. And for the most part this fear is irrational - extremely irrational.

The last fatal predatory wolf attack in the contiguous 48 states was back in 1888. That's more than 125 years ago. The last two documented non-fatal  attacks both occurred in Minnesota (yay - where I live - boo). The most recent attack took place in 2013. Before that, it was 1988. That's 25 years between attacks.

Let's look at the wolves' cousin - Canis Familiaris - the family dog.

So far there have been 18 fatal attacks by these family pets in 2014. Wait, we've gone 25 years between non-fatal wolf attacks and yet a dog kills a person here in the US every 12 days or so? And we're afraid of wolves exactly why again?

You are a billion times more likely to have Big Foot sneak into your home than you are to be attacked by one of my dogs

Your fear of the wolf is irrational. For most of us, unless you have a certain breed that seems to do most of the attacking, the fear of dogs is equally irrational. I have an eight-year-old female American Black Lab (Bella) and a seven-year-old male Brittany (Norman). In the last 25 years there have been exactly two fatal attacks by full-blooded labs and none by any sort of spaniels (much less a Brittany named Norm). The fear of dogs at my house is thus deemed irrational.

The bottom line is this: We all possess fears - rational and irrational. Just like being afraid of Norman would be irrational, so is the fear of self-publishing. I mean, come on; if I did it, anyone out there can do it. And I mean that. Just get it ready as best you can - make sure it has a great cover, has been edited, and is formatted properly - and hit the publish button. YOU CAN DO IT.

Until next week, never give up on your dreams. No matter how large or small they may be, always dream. Because a person without a dream can never have a dream come true.