Dawn Colclasure's Blog

Author and poet Dawn Colclasure

Friday, December 03, 2004


I have a very good reason for wanting to wrap up the novel-that’s-taken-me-forever-to-finish: I have another book coming out. In just TWELVE DAYS, I’ll be telling all the world that my book, 365 Tips For Writers: Inspiration, Writing Prompts and Beat The Block Tips to Turbocharge Your Creativity, is OUT and READY TO BUY!! Whoo-hoo!

And even though I didn’t get the novel done, I’ve spent a good part of this week working on the promo for this book. I’m sending out articles (even doing something I’ve never done before: Submitting reprints), writing up ads, securing ad space, getting review quotes to put on the book’s Web site and working on the press release. I’ve also got a thread going at the Absolute Write Water Cooler that is counting off the days getting closer to this book’s release. (Maybe it’s not day-by-day but at least it is SOMETHING!) (Hm, it would be neat if I could put something like that here or on my Web site.)

Of course, as with my last book, I’m VERY NERVOUS. Sure I’m excited, but the same old anxieties, doubts and fears keep picking at me. This time around, though, I’m confident the book is typo-free. (I caught one in an ARC and my publisher let me know she took care of it when I called her the other day.) But other worries keep nagging at me: What if writing pros put down this book as having absolutely NO VALUE to any writer? What if somebody plagiarizes the book? What if magazines like Writer’s Digest or The Writer hate it? What if somebody turns around and sues me for stealing THEIR book idea?

What if the book flops?

What if, what if. I’m right back where I was when MIDNIGHT OIL was coming out. And while it got some good reception, I’m finding it pretty hard to imagine what good things readers would have to say about it. If they’ll have anything to say at all. (One of my sisters was going through the ARC and said, “I need this book.” That sure helped me breathe a relieved sigh but, still, she IS my sister.) This book had very few beta readers: Peter Bowerman read it, but only because he wrote the Foreword for it. My younger brother, an aspiring writer, read only one tip in the book. And Jason read a couple. But other than that, no one has sat down, read the whole thing and made any comments or suggestions. Not on my end, anyway; my publisher had four beta readers before they accepted the book. And all I got from her was, “We think your book is fantastic.” And, sure, the glowing praise for the book’s CD lifted my spirits, but I don’t have any outside criticism on it.

Now I see the wisdom of having beta readers, for either fiction of nonfiction: You can go into this thing armed with some knowledge of everything in your book being fixed/explained, your book being able to do the job it’s meant to do and what kind of feedback you can prepare yourself for.

But despite having no beta readers, I AM confident about this book. I DO think it is good and can help other writers out there. I’ve even tested a few of those tips with writing groups and message boards. I know that there has been at least ONE writer who I communicated with through a writing group that felt better after hearing a tip.

And if I’ve managed to help at least ONE writer start writing, sending stuff out and defeat writer’s block because of my book, then my work is complete.


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