How to Build a Book While Filled with Crippling Doubts

I am making a book.  It’s a thing that I am doing.  By telling all of you about my plan on this blog, I’m pretty sure that now I have to make it happen and do so in a miraculously timely manner.

I’m compiling my short fiction with the intent to self-publish it.  So, you know, 8 more people will read it and I will be able to show it off like a party trick to friends and family.

The point is, I have been meaning to take this step for some time and it is getting a little overdue.  When I was younger, I said that I wanted to get a story published before I turned 30 years old.  I accomplished that.  Then, I told myself that once I had 5 or 10 of those small press lit mag publications under my belt, I’d strike out there and publish a book.  I now have about 30 published stories…

And no book.

So that happened.

I keep telling myself that I have enough work and that creating this thing will be easy since the hard part of actually writing fiction has already mostly happened.  I mean, I might want to write a couple of extra stories and toss them in, but yeah.

Apparently, I may have completed the easy part.  Staring forlornly at my laptop, I discovered that I will no longer just be sending out digital copies of word docs.  I will be deciding trim size–which sounds like a function on an electric shaver, but is not–and lots of other baffling things.  I will be learning design programs and will need to concern myself with the level of color quality that I expect.  Is “great” quality actually great, or is “outstanding” quality code for, “won’t make my book stand out as an obvious fraud amidst a shelf-full of deserving and monied options put out by an expert team of publishers?”  These questions are not really addressed in any of the varying self-publishing websites FAQ.

And if I do it all just exactly right, maybe nobody will even buy the damn thing and it will die a quiet death as a print on demand that was never demanded and therefore theoretically published, but sort of unreal.

Then, when people ask if I have a book, instead of saying, “no, I’m working on it now,”  I would be saying, “yup, and it’s a total dud, so good luck turning up that failure in any of your local bookstores.”

Does this sound like a negative rant?  Am I fishing for all of you to tell me that it will be great and you will love it?  I don’t know.  Maybe I’m just tired.  Maybe these are valid concerns.  What I am sure of is that I am making a book.  It’s a thing that I am doing.  And, you know what?  Fuck it.  That’s enough.  At least for now.

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