The good, the bad, and the crazy-making

I’ve had quite a few surprises over the last couple of weeks:

  • I got the full-on dreadful flu, despite having gotten my flu shot, and lost a week of my life. (blech)
  • I still managed to finish the final author query round for BE A CHANGEMAKER. (okay, I was a teensy bit late, but they forgave me—see above bullet.)
  • Even though I’ve read the manuscript countless times, of course, I actually enjoyed going through it yet again! Most of the other read-throughs have been piecemeal and focused on particular areas, but this one was straight through, cover to cover. Plus, I’ve had some time away from it. I was worried that I’d hate it by now. I’m happy to report that I really like it, even more than before.
  • I found out I get to present at YALSA’s YA Lit Symposium in November with some of my favorite authors like Cynthia Levinson, Kelly Milner Halls, and Bruce Coville.
  • I got to see the jacket design for the hardcover version of BE A CHANGEMAKER for the first time.
  • I got to see the latest layout and illustration roughs for MY DOG IS THE BEST. I’m here to tell you, illustrator Paul Schmid is the best! (can’t wait to show you)
  • I found out BE A CHANGEMAKER is already available for pre-order on, and it showed up on Goodreads, too, where people (both friends and strangers) have already added it to their to-read shelves! (eek)
  • I noticed that someone who hasn’t even read the book yet (it’s on to-read shelf) already gave it a 2-star review on Goodreads. (what?)
  • A friend and fellow author whom I respect told me she downloaded the ARC of BE A CHANGEMAKER from NetGalley. (gulp)
  • I was introduced to the marketing department at my publisher so we can start working on promotion plans, including where to send ARCs.
  • I got permission to share the cover for BE A CHANGEMAKER…


As you can see, these are mostly all wonderful, amazing, exciting surprises! I’m thrilled, ecstatic even, but also… TERRIFIED! This is the weirdest feeling in the world. Half of me is jumping around shouting at the top of my lungs, “I WANT EVERYONE TO READ MY BOOK!” while the other half is cowering in a corner, wide-eyed, whispering, “What if someone reads my book?” Elation and gut-wrenching fear, all wrapped up together in the same moment.

We write books to be read, of course, but they’re so personal, so revealing, that at the same time it seems ridiculous to share this precious creation of ours with perfect strangers. It’s not even necessarily whether they’ll like it or not. It’s just the vulnerability and “out-there-ness” of it. There are no take-backs, you know? And it’s like a piece of me. I’m a pretty modest, private person generally, and soon I’ll be baring my soul to the universe. Yowzers.

Of course, there is the whole review thing, too. What if people don’t get it? (Some won’t.) Worse, what if they hate it? (Some will.) Even worse than that, what if they hate ME? (Some will.) And there will, of course, be people who do hate it (and me). But it would be worse if no one read it at all, or if readers didn’t have any reaction to it at all, right? Or would it? AHHHHH! It’s all enough to drive even the most stable author stark raving mad, I swear.

Wouldn’t it be great if we could all just do something like this with the negativity?

And I sure hope Mark Tyler Nobleman keeps making his “Children’s Authors Read Online Reviews of Their Own Books” video series for us:

I know many authors who say they don’t read the reviews of their books at all. I don’t think I’m the kind of person who can do that. I hope I’m the kind of person who can shrug them off and let them go, both good and bad. After all, at the end of the day, I did what I could, and it is what it is. If it resonates with ANY readers at all–if a little piece of them connects to this little piece of me–then that will be good enough.

Won’t it?

I hope so.


Filed under Anxiety, ARCs, Happiness, Panic, Writing and Life

27 responses to “The good, the bad, and the crazy-making

  1. Lindsey Lane

    Laurie, FIrst of all: GREAT COVER!!!! Yea. Second, I know exactly how you feel. Really. Thank you for writing my exact terrified exciting feelings. Third, I’m so glad we’re in this together.


    • Thanks, Lindsey! The truly frightening thing is that it’s only going to get worse as the date draws nearer, don’t you think? Egad, what a roller coaster ride we’re on! Yes, it certainly helps to have friends in the same situation. 🙂


  2. “What if they hate ME?” That’s the problem, isn’t it? It’s the heart of all of an author’s insecurities — that we start out barely able to separate ourselves from the work — and then this internet world seems incapable of producing a rational review that doesn’t subsume the work with the artist. That’s why that video series is so wonderful: if it happens, you can be reassured that these things happen to the very best of writers.

    Beautiful cover, and aside from the icky flu, good things happening! Congrats!


  3. Ashley Leath

    Your description of what one half of you wants while the other half is scared stiff made me laugh out loud. I just started sending query letters to agents, and even now this is how I feel! Congrats on the fantastic cover!


  4. Hooray for that fantastic cover, Laurie!!

    And “I am not my book” has become something of a mantra for me lately. I’ve actually been trying to watch my language when I refer to book-related things…like say “my book’s launch party” instead of “my launch party,” or “my book just got a new review on Goodreads”…you get it. Not sure it’ll help, but I’m trying!


    • Thanks, Tara! I’m trying to do the same thing; I even edited my post several times to try to use that kind of language instead of the default “my reviews,” etc. It’s hard, though, because even though I am not my book, my book is so ME. I try to separate them, but, honestly, it’s a pretty thin line. And I thought writing nonfiction would be less revealing. Ha, foiled again! 😉


  5. I completely relate to the half of you that wants the book out there, and I relate just as well to the other half that’s hiding in the corner. This is so insane, and it’s all getting very real for you now – but you’ve got this. You ARE a changemaker! And that cover is a winner, Laurie. Can’t wait to have this book in my classroom.


    • Megan, thank you so much for being such a champion of my book (and me!). Having a teacher excited about it means so much to me, and, honestly, your professional enthusiasm in CHANGEMAKER gets me through some of the scariest moments. It’s so exciting and inspiring to know there are people like you who are looking forward to it!


  6. kevanjatt

    Author insecurity. I live it and breathe it. Nice to know we’re not alone. Your book is going to do fab. And the cover, I’ve already told you, is perfect! Wooohoooo, Laurie!


  7. Joshua McCune

    Holy wow, that’s a lot of activity (never mind awesome Viking video ;))… Congrats on the cover and YALSA! So awesome!


  8. Mike Jung

    I’m going to read your book, Laurie! I might even make other people you read it! YOU CAN’T STOP ME, MWAHAHAHAHAHA!


  9. I have exhibited paintings over quite a period and to say it is an emotional roller-coaster is understating the degree of anxiety felt. My first exhibition, they loved me. The second, I stunk. So today i write and paint with just as much enthusiasm and business zeal, but I do it to please the great omnipresent critic that is me. B


  10. Parker Peevyhouse

    Love the cover! I can definitely see teens being drawn to it.


  11. Congratulations on the book, Laurie! I can’t wait to read it. Great post. I can totally relate to the terror of having your work “out there”. Glad to hear I’m not the only one!


  12. Laurie…I thought I’d commented on your post last week! I got so busy watching the videos and then looking for others (yes! I got sucked in) that I never came back to tell you how much I LOVE your cover! Beautiful and inviting!


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