Rosanne Dingli

Rosanne Dingli

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Excitement and fear

The various stages a book undergoes between inception of an idea and final publication are packed with incidents and accidents that can fill any author with doubt, loathing and fear. Writing, researching, rewriting and editing all require decisions, creativity, and incredibly hard work. Sometimes, authors can simply stop in their tracks, numbed by the process. Although it is not strictly speaking writer's block, this stage has been called that by many. It is enough to drive one quite insane.

Then there's the stage when a finished novel is being prepared for release. It is possibly when an author feels most doubt. The manuscript could have undergone another edit or two. Or a rewrite... or something! Is it really ready to go? Will readers like it? There are distinct stages in the creation of a novel that can soothe, disturb or agitate. Will this ever end?

Questions of that nature abound - but soothing things happen to even the keel of the most hesitant author. Working with a publisher whose digital awareness and marketing aplomb are terrific certainly helps. While I am struggling with doubt and trepidation, BeWrite Books and its editors and designer are working behind the scenes in a capable kind of calmness that's so realistic ... and yet so frightening.

They, of course, have created dozens of titles. I have not come anywhere near one dozen, so my nervousness is understandable. Camera Obscura is slated for release on March 30 or thereabouts, and I have no doubt BeWrite Books will once more come up with the goods - their third time for me.

Design by Tony Szmuk
Imagine my delight when I find they are unveiling the cover in stages, using puzzle pieces that so aptly denote the contents - it is a puzzle indeed. It's a thriller with a strong romantic overtone, which might seem a bit unusual, seeing the protagonist is a male Australian photojournalist.

This kind of gradual revelation is soothing to an author, who takes a novel from inception to launch with a number of foreboding questions. There are many slip-ups, reversals, decisions and knotty problems. Always, there is that feeling of indecision - a sense of insecurity. One teeters on edges and rocks on one's creative heels - locked on the itchy horns of some dilemma which might be halved if shared.

Only other writers understand this stage. Luckily, I have the privilege of knowing a number of writers whose advice, support and help - not to mention their understanding at a time like this - is gold. Gold.

Bear with me as I weather this time. As I cross this bridge, as I reach for metaphors to signify this terrible time  in an author's life, when everything seems futile and a complete waste of time.

Comment if you are an author who also experiences times of frustration and inertia, especially on the threshold of a launch.

Comment if you are a curious reader, who wonders what the fuss is all about.
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  1. You describe it so well. This is exactly what I'm feeling as my next book approaches release in a couple of weeks. It's good to know that other authors share the same doubts and fears and experience the same excitement. Is this why we do it? Partly, I suppose, but mostly we do it through some compulsion to write and share the stories we have to tell. That doesn't make it any easier.
    I am intrigued by your growing jigsaw cover and look forward to the whole thing being revealed almost as much as to reading the book.

  2. Ian - you are one of the 'golden' author friends of whom I speak above. Believe me, if it were not for you and others like you this year, I would have given up writing (which would have been the fifth time!)

  3. You have it exactly right. "Cosmic Entanglement" is coming out next week. I am on a roller coaster ride of apprehension (did I do enough?) a professional edit, writers group and beta readers have all passed it, but still I feel vulnerable to public judgement, excited, fearful, exhausted and yes, triumphant. Why am I doing this? Now I face marketing. I hate marketing....but the next book...I vowed to give it up, but I am now eager to see what happens next. What a ride we writers are on.

  4. Rosanne, I've totally been there, and I know exactly what you're going through. I always find the best way to cope with the waiting in particular is to work on the next novel. It's amazing how getting engrossed in a new world and new characters takes the sting out of waiting on the old ones. I must say I love the one puzzle piece at a time cover reveal - can't wait to see it.

  5. Love the idea of the puzzle pieces eventually revealing the cover.
    I think we all experience those feelings of self-doubt, Rosanne.Thankfully other authors understand. What would we do without the support of authors who totally get what we're talking about?

  6. Thank you, thank you - Maggie, Sheron and Dale... so we all endure those pangs! I hope you find me as understanding when you are having yours.

    The cover is elegant yet enticing. I hope it reflects the contents. This is a novel I had to write.

    The next one? Jewellery and jewels, of course. Like Maggie says - a great diversion!

    1. Rosanne, I empathise. My first book-form publication is still in the writing stage, but I've felt just like you as my shorter pieces were being brought into the world. Similar self-doubting and fear of the public reaction even occurred as my new song had its first airing. But we keep doing it because...that's us.

      And the idea for the cover is brilliant! What great publishers to work with!

  7. perhaps a way to offset the nerves is to realise that you have an enthusiastic publisher willing to invest time and money in your book. Now what publisher these days would ever take on a book unless they believed in it and expected it to sell? You have done your work; it's time to relax and feel confident that your baby will be beautiful, intelligent and welcomed into the world! Margaret Sutherland

  8. Margaret - you are absolutely right. The team at BeWrite Books is nothing short of enthusiastic. They believe in Camera Obscura and my two previous novels, and their support and hard work goes a long way towards publicizing my work!

  9. Teena Raffa-MulliganFebruary 29, 2012 at 7:18 AM

    Rosanne, part of being a creator is having periods of self doubt. What we create comes from deep within ourselves and there is an incredibly personal connection to it. Publication opens us up to judgment by a wide audience of readers who do not know us and will not necessarily treat our work with kindness. So we waste our precious creative energy agonising over whether it's good enough and if 'they' like it or hate it? Be reassured that BeWrite Books would not be publishing Camera Obscura if they were not behind it 100 per cent. Congratulate yourself on yet another novel reaching this exciting stage because you make no secret of how difficult you find the writing process. You've achieved another landmark. Relax and enjoy the success I'mm sure will come your way. I love the puzzle cover... what a brilliant idea.

  10. Oh, thank you Teena. I'm sticking this to my fridge!

  11. Having read some of your other books, Rosanne, I know that Camera Obscura - what a great title that is - is going to be just as fascinating. Relax and enjoy your achievement.