The Terror of the Finished Manuscript

Yesterday morning I made the last couple of tweaks to the first complete draft of my new book and I am now in a state of high anxiety, a state that I anticipate being in for the next few months at the very least. There’s a lot said about the terror of the blank page, although I’ve never really found this an issue. The question has never been “what on earth do I write?” but “which of the many things buzzing around my head do I want to pick?”

The real terror, to my mind, is the terror of the finished manuscript. What if the thing I’ve spent over a year of my life on turns out to be shit? The MA programme at Bath Spa was a wonderful safe place to try out stuff without fear of embarrassment, but I’m now about to start the long process of sending this thing out into the real world. Here’s a chronological list of things that could go wrong (all of which I am envisaging right now):

  • Beta readers hate it – since these are friends and family, this could be especially awkward
  • No agent will touch it
  • An agent will take it on but won’t be able to sell it
  • It’ll get sold to a rubbish publisher
  • It’ll get published and ignored
  • It’ll get published and reviewed badly
  • No-one will buy it
  • People will buy it but will start looking at me in a funny way

And that’s just the first few that came into my head.

The worst of it all is that I suspect it doesn’t get any easier. Why am I doing this again?

10 thoughts on “The Terror of the Finished Manuscript

  1. Marija Smits says:

    I hear you! But you’re doing this because it’s a terror to face and overcome… just so that you can get the book ‘out there’ (in whatever form), get it out of your head and life (well, mostly), and start on the brand new delightful process of writing the next book. Enjoy!

  2. Joanna Campbell says:

    I’m glad I’m not alone. I don’t know why we do this, but suspect it’s because it’s impossible not to. Wishing you masses of success .

  3. admin says:

    Cheers! And the very same to you too 🙂

  4. TU says:

    It will be fine 🙂 And well done for getting it out.

  5. Veronica T. says:

    Hahaha, this made me laugh! I would add: “What if this first book gets really famous, and then I’m ever able to write another good book” I’m not helping, sorry :p

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