I caught myself (and it's not the first time) doing something I used to do a lot when I was a kid, especially a teen. You see, I never gave people a chance to say anything bad about me--because I made sure I beat them to it. There wasn't anything anyone could say bad about me that was worse than what I'd already said about myself.
The really sad thing is that, at my age, I dang well should be over that.
So what have I done? Lately, I've found myself warning my friends that they might not like my book. I keep imaging a friend or loved one picking it up, thinking they're going to love it . . . and finding that they hate it.
I know on an intellectual level there will be people who don't like my book. Author Beth Revis has a wonderful blog post on dealing with negative reviews here.
I guess my insecurities erupt full force in their adolescent power because some of the people who aren't going to like my book won't necessarily be strangers. Some of the people I care about may not like my baby.
My active imagination shows me in a social setting while I stare at their deer-in-the-headlights expressions as they scramble for tactful ways to give me a social white lie. Of course, I have to admit that I've got a couple of sons who would never give me a social white lie. They'd lay it out before me in untempered honesty:
"Your book sucked, Mom."
And, you know, that's okay. Really. Because I would be surprised if either of them liked my little adventure romance. Example--at least one of them thinks George R. R. Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire series is the epitome of great literature.
Um, I hate that series.
I've tried reading the first book twice and quit both times--finally checking out Wikipedia to see where it was headed. I knew I didn't want to read any further. Just not my kind of story.
Marketing myself--and my intellectual property--will probably be one of the toughest things I've ever done. Maybe even harder than it was to hand over that manuscript to be read for the first time.
And I'm surely not alone in this. Obviously, I need to do better with the positive self-talk. What do you do to either deal with your own doubts or to prepare yourself to deal with criticism?