I wanted to talk about something that has happened since landing my book deal: The Fear.

Hear me out.

You spend all this time writing, perfectly, querying, revising and submitting your story, all in pursuit of the elusive book deal. And then, after months of patience and hard work and perseverance, everything falls into place. You get the call! Hooray! Rejoicing! Champagne! And then something happens. The festivities die down, things grow quiet, and Fear stirs.

Now don’t get me wrong, I am so, so, so grateful to have my book deal. I feel blessed. I am beyond ecstatic. But I’m also terrified. It’s as if I didn’t fully comprehend that getting a book deal would mean anyone could one day read my story. And once I realized that, I mean really realized that, Fear pounced.

When I first wrote LAICOS, I wrote it for me. It was my story. Well, technically it was Gray’s story, but the whole thing was in my head and my head alone. It was a private thing that I hashed out on my computer. It was my world and my characters and my love. I wrote exactly what I wanted because I was, at that point, the story’s one and only reader. There was no one to judge it but me.

In the days following my book deal, as I told colleagues and extended family and, well, pretty much the world (Twitter), I slowly came to terms with how many people might one day hold this novel in their hands.

I started panicking about what they might think. That ex-coworker who reads only non-fiction. That neighbor that knew me when I had braces. That kid in high school who always had (and probably still does) read about twenty levels above the rest of the world. What if they didn’t like it? Certainly, some of them wouldn’t. Every book gets its zero and 1-star ratings, even the classics. (Even my beloved Harry Potter. Sniff, sniff.)

And then, a moment of clarity: It doesn’t matter what all these people think. I didn’t write the book for everyone. I wrote it for me. And I wrote it for people who, like me, love this type of story.

This realization helped a lot. But Fear still lurks, hanging around in the shadows. Before this is all said and done, I have a feeling it will sink its claws into me several times over. And each time, I am confident I can beat it back.

There is something very scary about knowing that your work is going to be “out there.” But I think this might be a good thing. It pushes you outside your comfort zone. It makes you a stronger person. Writing a novel requires you to be creative and determined and persistent, but above all, it requires you to be brave. You have to battle some fear. Fear comes with the territory of sharing your story with the world. Fear comes with writing the story inside you, with being unashamed to write it exactly as you envision it. Fear is a part of writing, just as it is a part of any creative process.

So am I scared? Heck, yes. But it is totally, absolutely, 110% worth it.

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