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

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