Thoughts That Run Through Your Head When You Release A Book That Was Hard To Write

Usually, when I release a book, I like to do a bit of tongue-in-cheek post about the thoughts that run through your head, such as:

I did have thoughts for what is now my third book release too, but they weren’t so funny. Why? Because this was the hardest book to write.

And it wasn’t because I was writing it during 6 COVID lockdowns that spanned 290 non-consecutive days. Or the hell that was months of homeschooling. Not even the mental and physical toll of three postponed surgeries, one major surgery, one unsuccessful surgery, and a follow-up surgery I’m still yet to have, made the book hard to write (although none of those setbacks helped).

This book was hard because it wasn’t working.

It was my fault. I’d written the initial draft in 2017 before the first two Blackbirch books had been published and the storyline needed to be adjusted. While I knew that and attempted to do those rewrites during 2020 and 2021, I held too tightly to the original ideas and couldn’t see that they weren’t that great.

The first round of beta readers tried to tell me. I listened to some feedback and attempted to make things work. The second round of beta feedback said the same things, and I realized I hadn’t fixed the real issues. I also seriously considered giving up. Very seriously considered it.

I honestly didn’t know what to do. I felt I didn’t have what it takes to write my own book, a book in a series I’d been working on for twenty years, where I knew the story and characters inside and out.

It was a ridiculous notion, which goes to show you how bad my headspace was at the time (and that perhaps the setbacks of 2020-2021 had more of an impact than I’d realized).

Add in 7 months of additional rewrites and the book is now published.

Do I love it? More than I did those first ten drafts. It took until draft number eleven for me to realize what all those beta readers were really saying with their feedback and to make the right changes that ultimately led to a better version of the story. One of the first betas even reached out to me after they started reading the published version to let me know how much stronger the book is and that it reads beautifully now (thank god and thank you, Belinda! I really needed to hear that).

With all that in mind, these were the thoughts that ran through my head as I read the manuscript one last time before preparing it for publication—and danced that fine line of wanting my book into the world for others to read, and not wanting anyone to read it at all.

Thoughts That Run Through Your Head When You Release A Book That Was Hard To Write

  • Here’s my latest book. (Don’t) buy it.
  • It’s full of frustrated tears and the memory of aching muscles from hours of work hunched over a laptop screen.
  • It’s created from sentences I wish I could write better.
  • It features paragraphs I wanted to shape into beautiful images but felt as if I fell short.
  • It has the echo of feelings I felt so strongly, but didn’t have the skills to put on the page with the conviction I wanted.
  • It includes scenes that didn’t achieve what I set out to when I started them.
  • It has chapters I wanted to do justice to but couldn’t work out how.
  • There are typos in there, I’m sure. Ones I’ll find a year from now that will haunt my thoughts from time to time.
  • I wanted to do the best I could. I’m not sure if I did.
  • I don’t remember the words of encouragement from early readers. The compliments on plot twists and character arcs. At things that surprised them, made them laugh, made them feel. I only remember the flaws they pointed out. The confusion and the misunderstandings that I can only hope I fixed.
  • It’s not what it was when I started writing. It’s not the exact idea I had in my head. Some of it is better. Some of it is not.
  • It’s hours of my life. Missed events. Early mornings. Late nights. Sacrificed time with friends and family.
  • It’s what consumed me for years on end.
  • It was, and still is, endless anxiety.
  • It’ll be sold for as cheap as possible. Most of the money made will cover the cost of printing. It won’t give me a living wage or mirror the work put in, yet it still won’t be cheap enough for some readers to consider buying it.
  • I didn’t write it to make money. I wrote it because I had to. Because the desire and need to put these words on the page outweighed everything else.
  • It’s an itch I have now scratched until the next book calls to me.
  • It’s something that turned out better than I thought.
  • It’s something that won’t ever be good enough.
  • It is the best writing I can do right now.
  • It is something I could write better in a few years’ time.
  • It is my art.
  • It is a piece of my soul.
  • It is entertainment for others.
  • It is someone’s future fave book.
  • It is someone else’s waste of a read.
  • Here’s my latest book. Please buy it.
  • Here is my latest story. Would you like to read it?
  • Here is my latest lifelong dream. I hope you enjoy it.

So, those were my thoughts. Did you read any you could relate to? What has popped up in your head during your writing journey? Let’s talk about it in the comments.

If you would like to read Blackbirch: The Ritual, it and the other two books in the series are on sale for a special price right now for a limited time. You can get them in paperback or ebook from various retailers. All the links can be found on this page: Blackbirch.

— K.M. Allan

Find me on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads.

40 thoughts on “Thoughts That Run Through Your Head When You Release A Book That Was Hard To Write

  1. Thanks for your honestly, which has to honor also everyone of us readers. I hope you are fine, as the circumstances allow. I have you book on my list, but i am honestly a very lousy reader. Putting word to word, and sentence to sentence, sometimes like in primary school. But i will read it, and also try to write a review. Best wishes, Michael

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you, Michael, and thank you for adding my book to your reading list. I hope you enjoy it when you get the chance to read it, and I appreciate hearing that you want to read it so much 😊. You’ve made my day!

      Like

  2. A lot to unpack here, Kate. I hope you realize that you’re not alone and that every indie author can relate to something from this post. I sure can! I just released my latest book and it about killed me – for many of the reasons you listed. Still, there is the feeling of accomplishment and overcoming in the face of your doubts when you receive feedback from readers. I know you still have book 4 to complete, and I hope the journey on that book will be easier and more pleasant.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Alexander! Congrats on your latest release. I’ve just checked my WordPress settings because I never seem to see your blog posts, but I think I’ve got it working now. I’m so glad to hear I am not the only one who feels this way too. Certainly makes those writer struggles less overwhelming. I think book 4 will go more smoothly, but I do need to work on getting it finished in a more timely fashion.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. “It is someone’s future fave book” = My driving force to keep writing.

    “It is something I could write better in a few years’ time.” = So true. I look back at my current story’s early chapters and I can see all of the ways I know I can improve it. And I know that when I reach the full end of my story, I’ll look back at the chapters current me is writing and see all of the ways I could improve them.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s so amazing to see how you can grow and change as a writer, even from draft to draft. Thanks for reading and for letting me know which thoughts were the most relatable to you too. Best of luck getting to the end of your story.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Hahaha. I totally get the (don’t) buy it part. It’s like, I want people to read my stories, but I’m also worried that they’ll discover a crappy chapter and expose me for the hack I really am. Thanks for always being honest, Kate!

    Liked by 3 people

  5. Love this post. Your honesty is so refreshing. It’s like you’re in my head! You have no idea how helpful this has been to read. Thank you and huge congratulations on publishing despite all those ups and downs and dilemmas. What a huge achievement! 💕

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Grant at Tame Your Book!

    Relate? Oh yeah! Thanks for exposing the tricks our writer’s mind tries to play on us. Here’s what I tell myself whenever those pesky thoughts knock on my door: “Don’t pay attention to them; don’t even ignore ’em!”

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Although I’m at the beginning stages of writing, I already have those thoughts in my head. I told you before, one of your other posts gave me the courage to keep on writing. I just purchased books 1 and 2 and I can’t wait to read them!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much. I hope you enjoy them 😊. I remember you letting me know about the other post and I’m happy that this one has resonated with you too 😊. It makes me feel less alone about such thoughts, so thank you. Best of luck with your writing and enjoy it. It’s a tough job, but also so wonderful.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Reblogged this on Michael Seidel, writer and commented:
    I know all of these things. Think most writers do. ‘Writer’s butt’ — the ache of sitting too long, massaging lines, sentences, paragraphs, intentions, plots, and so on — strikes on too many days. I often feel like I can’t do this and think about giving up. Just live a normal life, right? Not think about plotting, pacing, characters, endings, and beginnings. But the itch remains. There’s a story. Write it. Finish it. Move on, and torture yourself again. Isn’t this fun?

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks for the reblog, Michael 😊. I agree that there’s so many tortuous things about writing that it’s a wonder anyone does it, but those highs of cracking the right plot twist and creating those characters and worlds from nothing makes up for it.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. I have been there (often) as every author will have been. I quail at my published novels; they are not perfect, and I find them lacking at times. I whimper when I know someone is reading a book I have self-published, as they are less than perfect.
    But here is the rub, thousands have read my many books, some have hated them, some suggested that the paper would be better used as loo roll.
    Others still enjoyed them, loved them, thought they were good and beautifully written. You must hope that your books get into the hands of readers and then…….. shut your eyes, open the door, and hope the bucket filled with freezing water balanced above that door does not fall on you.

    Liked by 3 people

  10. Thank you for this article. When we send out our writing, it always carries a piece of us. This was a poignant and honest piece, and I salute you for sharing it. After reading the first book and waiting to read the second, I’m very confident that your third book will deliver on characters, events, conflict and engagement

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Firstly, you are a remarkable lady! Major surgery and awaiting more hospital visits etc. I had one major surgery in November which I am yet to recover from, let alone home schooling children! Now then, I can relate to everything you are saying especially where it relates to self-doubt and not seeing the good in your writing. It can be like torture! Well done Kate, third book. You have done your WordPress buddies here proud! All the very best! Sharon.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much, Sharon 😊. Sorry to hear you’re still recovering from your surgery and I hope things get better sooner rather than later for you. That self-doubt really is loud some days, but there’s always a way to push through 😊. Rest up and take care.

      Liked by 1 person

  12. Pingback: Writing: the curse of publication? | Tomas - the wandering dreamer

  13. What a powerful piece of writing! I felt the emotion reading it and loved how relatable it felt to me as a writer and person. Writing is a rocky road and I think this post highlights what that really means through concrete example. ❤

    Liked by 1 person

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