Want To Publish A Novel? Better Toughen Up

I feel naked. Naked and vulnerable. For all of you planning on publishing a novel, may I suggest a new suit of thick skin?

Exposed

I once boasted being un-Googleable, save a few work-related Internet entries. Well, sayonara anonymity.

This online-visibility angst isn’t new; it’s troubled me since my blog’s inception. Within a short time, a search for ‘Carrie Rubin’ netted more than my professional, white-coated countenance.

But I adapted. I understood the permanent nature of everything I scribbled online and tried to conduct myself accordingly. Sure, there were nights I’d awake in a panic—Good God, what have I done?—but most days I managed to breathe.

And then my book came out.

Now I’m putting my business in everybody else’s business. Not just blogs and Twitter but forums and review sites and book sites and any other place where one sells her soul to the devil.

Vulnerable

Of course, this increased visibility is the whole point of marketing. “No s**t Sherlock,” you say. But like an autopsy incision, it leaves one wide open. Gaping, really. The next thing you know, there are emails in your inbox from people you’ve never met—online or in person. Good comments for the most part, but a few back-handed compliments as well. One person enjoyed my novel but suggested some bits weren’t realistic. Ah, very true, very true. But this is the land of fiction, a land where vampires and zombies and good-hearted serial killers exist. If one can’t invoke creative license in this made-up terrain, then writers, put down your pens.

On the other hand, this individual read my book based on a writing group member’s recommendation. Well, that’s pretty cool, is it not? Perhaps this word-of-mouth sparked the book’s recent good standing on Amazon in a particular country. Imagine my surprise last week when The Seneca Scourge ranked #30 in medical thrillers across the Atlantic. My flu tale has since tumbled, but I enjoy these waves when they come.

What’s Next?

So, yes, I’m naked. But that nudity is what gets one noticed. What’s the latest addition to my striptease? Facebook. Oh, yes I did. I finally joined the time-suck. I still sport an ample dunce hat, thus shortchanging my friends in this relationship, but everything takes time. (By the way, a special thanks to JM McDowell for helping me navigate a few steps and to Le Clown for offering help if I need it.)

Although it’s a work in progress, I’d love you to come ‘like’ and subscribe to my page. Or lick it or scrub it or whatever the heck one does. I hope to offer something different from my blog and Twitter. Perhaps a daily short post of a health or parenting or writing tidbit with a useful link to support it. Maybe this is not Facebook’s purpose, but anything more personal just isn’t going to happen.

This woman is naked enough.

Please click here for my public Facebook page. (And check my recent status update for a contest! Hint: my paperback is out.)

Are you on Facebook? Got any much-needed tips or words of wisdom to share with me? Can you persuade me it will be worth my time? Cause so far I’m not convinced…

All images from Microsoft Clip Art

217 Responses to “Want To Publish A Novel? Better Toughen Up”

  1. Miss Snarky Pants

    Though I haven’t published my novel yet, many of my friends are successful writers – and you’re right. People will come out of the woodwork and say the kindest and the most hurtful things. One of my friends writes suspense and receives emails from time to time “correcting” her. Surprise…they’re often wrong, but there are always people out there who want to one up you. If you won one award, they’ve won three. If you lost 20 pounds, they lost 40. If you downed four martinis in an hour, they downed an entire bottle of Svetka, a jar of olives and ate all the glass to boot.

    I, for one, am looking forward to checking out your book. If your blog is any indicator, I predict your novel is brilliant!

    Like

    • Carrie Rubin

      Well, thank you, but warning: my blog offers humor; my book offers death and disease. But, you know, semantics.

      And yes, the One-Upper. Don’t we all know those folks? You summed the behavior up perfectly. I know they don’t mean anything–probably just seeking a little attention–but it does get a little old.

      Like

      • Miss Snarky Pants

        Death and disease? Well, that’s right up my alley! Much scarier than zombies because pandemics HAPPEN! Believe it or not, I actually survived one back in 1969 (Hong Kong Flu pandemic), so that stuff scares the beejeezus out of me. I may have to go to sleep with the lights on. Okay, my book light maybe… ;) Hey, I’m not that big of a sissy!

        Like

            • Carrie Rubin

              See? Where were you when I was responding to this guy’s email who said my story wasn’t very realistic? That’s just the answer I needed. (Then again, I was thrilled someone I didn’t know actually read my book and thought enough to contact me. For that I am forever grateful.)

              Like

            • Miss Snarky Pants

              Well, you know me now. I’m not sure if you want me to give you advice on things to say to your readers, though. You might lose them. That said, I just hit 1800 followers on my blog and I have no idea why. I’m not fishing for compliments, either. I thought my first few blogs would offend anyone who read them, but they just kept coming back. Now, I take the “South Park” and “Family Guy” approach – offend everyone and no one gets upset. Unless that person is just a douchebag. There’s little you can do about a jackhole.

              Like

            • Carrie Rubin

              People do flock to that kind of snark. I have to rein in my snark since I blog under my real name. Then again, I’ve always been a conflict avoider. I’m annoying that way.

              Like

  2. Carol Wuenschell

    Carrie, you are so very brave. I genuflect in your direction.

    I started t set up a Facebook account, took a better look, and ran away screaming. Did you know they want PICTURES?

    Like

    • Carrie Rubin

      So funny to see this comment now, because I’m just working on my Thursday post about my FB experience thus far, and the difficulty I have between the personal and the public aspects. Stay tuned. We’ll see how much longer I last…

      Like

  3. sweetmother

    2 things — did you see the lana wachowski video that i posted? particularly the points she makes about losing their anonymity once the matrix came out? she makes such good points on the price one pays to put their creative work out to the masses… second thing — what sometimes poses as criticism is often thinly veiled envy. not always, but often. keep that in mind when some ‘back hands’ you. a lot of it can be rooted in jealousy. much love, sm

    Like

    • Carrie Rubin

      I did see that post of yours, and although my book has only been seen by a few eyes, it’s still a weird feeling. And I appreciate what you’re saying about the ‘thinly veiled envy.’ I’ll keep that in mind, at the very least to make myself feel better. Thank you!

      Like

      • sweetmother

        i think it’s true A LOT of the time. far more often then you think. he’s in a book group…chances are he’s a writer…writers want to get published… and so the green deepens… maybe no, but also…maybe so. xo

        Like

        • Carrie Rubin

          I chose to focus less on his words and more on the fact that he read my book on a recommendation from someone else. It’s all about the spin, right? And I thought that was pretty cool.
          :)

          Like

  4. kateshrewsday

    Carrie, I’m late but I sympathise. I don’t think there is anything more demotivating than touting around for likes on a FB page. It stinks. I feel sure, however, that you will very soon be burgeoning with the things. Off to Like you right now.

    Like

    • Carrie Rubin

      Thank you! And I’ll go scout out your FB page as well. After nearly a week of using FB, I’m happy to say it really hasn’t taken too much of my time. I’m not thrilled, however, with the unwanted political bits that have entered my news feed uninvited…

      Like

  5. vudragovich

    You made your post interesting enough on Stan Mitchell’s Post about the reader thing I figured I would come and take a look. Like your style for this post, broken into sections. Will visit your fb later when I get some time, off to work. So you write stories in the medical field? I might be able to refer 1 person your way. Happy Sunday and if you are in ET TN, stay dry! Dave

    Like

    • Carrie Rubin

      Thanks for stopping by to check things out. I appreciate it. I’m not in TN, but there’s still plenty of rain where I’m at.
      :)

      Like

  6. jeandayfriday

    I am so impressed by you, Carrie! You did something I don’t think I would have the courage to do – write a novel and promote it. You are a brilliant writer, and I am pleased to have met you in the blogging world. I will be catching you on FB! :)

    Like

    • Carrie Rubin

      Thank you! That’s nice of you to say. But I have no doubt you’d have the courage to do the same. You teach high school kids, after all. Nothing takes more courage than that.
      ;)

      Like

  7. Arizona girl

    A very nice post! I’m nowhere near as famous as you, but I can understand the strange feelings one gets from putting themselves out on the web. PS – I’ve had a Facbook account for years, but I never check it on a regular basis and hardly every post anything there. I keep saying I should get on the bandwagon… Good luck with your fame and marketing and general stuff along those lines! PPS – very cool about the writing group! PPPS – I thoroughly enjoyed reading the book! (That’s a lot of exclamation points…)

    Like

    • Carrie Rubin

      Thank you! I’m so glad you liked it. As for the fame part, I’m about as famous as the dust bunny under my bed. Which is fine, but sadly, my Internet anonymity is no more. Then again, the number of people searching for my name is probably in the single digits, so I likely don’t have much to worry about.
      :)

      Like

  8. runningonsober

    You are really breaking out of your comfort zone! Good luck on Facebook. I rarely ever sign on these days; I guess the thrill is gone. But from a social media standpoint, you gotta do what you gotta do.

    Continued success to you Carrie!

    Like

  9. twistingthreads

    I joined Facebook a couple of years ago after avoiding it for many more. A new work friend of mine had clued herself into my awkward fascination with the morbid, and her ferret had just swallowed a rubber tube and received surgery to have it removed. “Do you want to see ferret stitches?” she asked. “Heck, yes!” I replied, loving both pictures of ferrets and stitches. The rest is history.

    I frequently find it terrifying; sometimes I just want to quit. I’ve reconnected with people I care about, but it can also be a massive time suck from writing and life, so I had to install a program to lock myself off the internet on occasion. Recent privacy concerns mean my page is locked down as tightly as I can make it, and that I try to avoid “liking” things or joining a bunch of apps that might leak information. I don’t post anything I can’t handle the rest of the world knowing. I don’t post my birthday or city or where I was born, because all of that is information that could be used for less than benevolent purposes. Don’t click on any link that seems out of character for a friend or has been sent to everyone; it’s likely a virus or bug. Maybe I sound paranoid, but as you’ve found, once the information is out there, it’s hard to impossible to take it back.

    I mostly remain on Facebook because of people I care about and writing groups, and to support authors I’ve “met” on the web, but I spend far less time interacting than I used to. Now, off to boost your Facebook popularity quotient. By the way, there’s nothing wrong with just posting links to useful advice, interesting things, or book updates; that’s what most author’s pages do. I find it useful.

    Like

    • Carrie Rubin

      You sound just like me (well, except for the ferret part…)
      ;)

      I don’t list my birthday, hometown, school, or other personal information, and so far my personal account is mostly just family. I’m very paranoid and private, but I agree, that’s kind of the way one needs to be. I haven’t even explored apps yet, and don’t really understand their purpose. I am enjoying the interaction, and so far it hasn’t been too time consuming (other than initially trying to learn about it).

      Thank you so much for stopping by and for the insights. I can use any help I get.
      :)

      Like

  10. Kourtney Heintz

    You have been liked and commented on on FB. No licking. But I do appreciate the offer. :) I linked my blog to FB and Twitter–it helped me gain a few followers. BTW, I think you are doing a terrific job marketing. You built a huge following on your blog by being you and you mention your book but never ever in a hard sell. You made me want to know more about it and buy a copy. :)

    Like

    • Carrie Rubin

      Thanks, Kourtney. I appreciate hearing that. And thanks for the support–with the book, my blog, and now Facebook. Do you have a FB page I can go ‘like’ or do you only have a personal account?

      By the way, I just dropped copies of my paperback off at my local bookstore. I tried to pretend I knew what I was doing, but I don’t think I fooled anyone.
      ;)

      Like

      • Kourtney Heintz

        I just have a personal account. :) I thought about getting the author page, but I figured I’d wait until I have a book.

        OMG, that sounds so thrilling. But I’d have been so nervous I’d have stumbled through and likely taken down a few display tables. :)

        Like

        • Carrie Rubin

          I’m sending my husband there today to take a picture of my books on display. He’s better at looking like a dork than me. Well, okay, maybe not, but I’m too embarrassed to do it myself.
          ;)

          Like

  11. Jennifer M Eaton

    Facebook has not been my friend. Maybe if I spent as much time there as I do on my blog it might help. … But then when would I write? So dern happy for your success so far. Remember… No matter what … You Rock!

    Like

    • Carrie Rubin

      Aw, thank you. And we’ll see where Facebook gets me. So far, it’s more interaction with people on my blog, which I can do right here. But there are a few new faces to interact with, so we’ll see. And now that I’ve settled in, it’s not taking too much time from my day.
      :)

      Like

  12. whiteladyinthehood

    I try scanning through all the comments, so I don’t sound redundant, but there are toooo many! (which is great, of course) I’m enjoying the book – it is awesome! I like that you are sharing all of your thoughts on the publishing process – seems scary AND exciting to me!

    Like

    • Carrie Rubin

      Don’t worry–the reading of other comments is never expected. Interestingly enough, they’re rarely redundant.
      :)

      Glad you’re enjoying the book. Wonderful to hear. Thank you!

      Like

  13. aFrankAngle

    Your journey continues to enlighten you about marketing … especially electronically. Now about those in-person ways. ;) … I couldn’t resist. Keep up the good work. :)

    Like

    • Carrie Rubin

      Thanks, and now that the paperback is out, the face-to-face angst starts. I’m actually dropping off copies to my local bookstore today. I’ll pretend I know what I’m doing…

      Like

  14. Cakes and Shakes...

    Ugh, yeah, I know what you mean about the lack of anonymity thing – I subscribed to WordPress and it asked of course for my email, which is my first and last name – it clearly states your address will never be published; However another blogger told me that it popped up when I commented on their blog, which WP never informs you about. Sayonara anonymity indeed. If you feel bad about your reviews ever I suggest visiting the reviews for Twilight and seeing some of the funnier lambastings, they make for amusing reading but also evidence of how caught up people can get in novels.

    Like

  15. Amy Mak

    Good job! Writing the book is tough enough, why does the aftermath have to be such a challenge too. Trying not think of that part; just trying to finish the novel! Thanks for navigating for us :)

    Like

    • Carrie Rubin

      It’s funny how little thought we give to the aftermath. Then again, if we worried about the potential for vulnerability and defeat, we’d probably never create.
      :)

      Thanks for the comment!

      Like

  16. Alejandro De La Garza

    If it’s any consolation, Carrie, I love being naked, especially when writing – so you’re not alone! We are kindred spirits – sans clothing and jewelry. Just make sure fingers don’t wander off the keyboard.

    Like

    • Carrie Rubin

      Well, at least one of us enjoys it.
      ;)

      But alas, I would prefer being bundled up from head to toe, every inch of me concealed.
      :)

      Like

  17. Sheila

    It’s great that you’re conquering any and all fears and continuing that striptease! I feel naked enough just with the blog. Before that, I just did the personal FB thing and hopefully the world can’t see those scary college pictures that tend to pop up there. I think you’ll get a different audience with FB so it can only help. I’ll make sure to go and like!

    Like

    • Carrie Rubin

      Thank you! I’m not doing much with my personal account–mostly just family–but the public page is a nice option to keep subscribers updated with what’s going on. Be sure and give me the link to your public FB page if you have one so I can go ‘like’ it.
      :)

      Like

  18. Jill

    Congratulations on your book and good luck with Facebook. I think like anything it just takes a while to get used to, but it can be a wonderful way to promote yourself (and your book) my advice would be have fun with it but don’t let it become a time sink. :)

    Like

    • Carrie Rubin

      Thank you, and I appreciate you stopping by. I just checked out your blog–great content by the way–and now I’m headed over to your Facebook page. That’s the one nice thing about joining Facebook: I’m a little more in the loop now and can go visit other people’s pages.
      :)

      Like

  19. The Bumble Files

    Congrats on your paperback being out! Yay!! I can’t wait to read it. I’d like to connect on Facebook. But a forewarning, I don’t use it much and it’s probably kind of outdated. I need to improve that. Much luck in this new frontier. I imagine you would feel exposed. Hopefully, it will pass.

    Like

    • Carrie Rubin

      Let’s hope! I’m not really using my personal FB account to much, but if you have a public page I can ‘like’ and subscribe to, let me know.
      :)

      Like

        • Carrie Rubin

          Not really–mostly just for family. Most everything I post will go on my public page. Just too private of a person to reveal much more than that.
          :)

          Like

          • The Bumble Files

            Well, that’s a good idea! I don’t blame you for wanting to hold on to your privacy. Maybe I’ll create a Bumble Files Facebook, but I’m not sure what would be the point of that. Hmm…on the other hand, if you’re a writer with a book it makes sense to me.

            Like

            • Carrie Rubin

              Well, it’s nice for people who want to follow someone publicly. For example, I’ll post various snippets of (hopefully) useful things. And it’s also a way to communicate with others outside of my own personal circle.

              Like

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