So you wrote a book and published it. Now What?
How does it make you feel becoming a published author.
It it all roses and rainbows from now on?
Are you going to be the center of attention?
Will you be an overnight bestselling author?
Only about one percent of the authors are lucky enough (I didn't say all of them good enough, though) to become celebrated bestsellers.
Well, the rest of us, no matter how good we are, we go through stages and keep on writing.
Read my opinion about the emotional stages that most authors go through:
The feeling of euphoria after publishing your first book
I will never forget that euphoric feeling when my first book was published. I was walking on clouds and told everyone about my book. Of course, I expected everyone I know to be happy for me and buy my book, but then reality kicked in.
Denial and Avoidance
Denial and avoidance of the fact that you didn't become an overnight bestseller
Friends and family promised to buy your book, but never did, which deeply hurt your feelings. Moreover, you sold only a few copies on publishing sites despite all the publicity you tried to stir up on social sites. You enter the stage of denial which is a defense mechanism that buffers the immediate shock and numbs your heightened emotions.
Yes, it comes as a shock that besides a few polite congratulations, you didn't get the excited reaction from people that you were expecting but you kept telling yourself, "They will read my book, they just didn't get to it yet."
Anger and "I'll show you" mood
The book is still not selling as you've hoped and as the masking effects of denial begin to wear, reality and its pain emerge, "They don't care! They will never read my book because they don't give a s*** about me!" You may aim your anger at inanimate objects, complete strangers, friends or family.
At this stage you do extensive research into book marketing and you jump in with full force.
Stage 4. Doubt
You doubt yourself and ask,
"Why doesn't it sell? Why they don't like my story? Nobody wants my book! It's my fault! I should have done more!"
The normal reaction to feelings of helplessness and vulnerability is often a need to regain control through a series of “If onlys” such as:
If only I had a better book cover made
If only I had paid for that expensive book release event
If only, if only...
Stage 5. Sadness
You get into sad-mode, feel sorry for yourself, and you need a hug
Sadness and regret predominate this type of sad mood. You're ready to give up because nobody is giving you the much needed positive feedback.
"I worked so hard and nobody appreciates my work."
A bad review deepens your sadness but a good review or kind words about your book from a friend or stranger could instantly snap you out of this sad mood.
Stage 6. Realization
The realization of not becoming an overnight bestseller
This phase is marked by withdrawal and calm. This is not a period of happiness over the release of your book. At this phase you climb down of your self-made pedestal, look around and talk to other authors. They assure you that maybe one percent of writers experience overnight success and they advice you to keep writing.
Stage 7. Acceptance
You accept the things you can't change
By now you've published a few books and you're doing your best to promote them. You keep writing because you love it and the lack of sales and lack of interest by friends and family doesn't bother you too much anymore.
Keep on writing my friends, and write stories you would like to read.
Yup, I've been through the stages too
Erika M Szabo
Author of magical realism, fantasy and children's books, Publishing Coach at
Print & eBook