To everyone out there who thinks this is the easy bit…
‘Publish now’ said the plain, unassuming little button on her screen. But it wasn’t as easy as it seemed. She’d actually uploaded her novel the night before, but then had so many misgivings that she’d given up around midnight and turned off the computer to go to bed and sleep on it. She laughed and shook her head at the memory — she’d hardly slept at all with all those inner demons to keep her awake and would have been pacing around the living room like a caged tiger at 3am if only it wouldn’t wake up her family and make them angry or worried.
She stared at the screen in front of her and chewed her top lip. If she pressed the button, people might read the book she’d written.
Perhaps it would get bad reviews: ‘An awful book in every way – don’t waste your money. 1 star.’ Or worse still, perhaps nobody would read it at all. Maybe it would sit there unread for months — years even — like a book on fly fishing in the middle of a shelf full of erotica. And if nobody read her work, it must mean she was a bad writer, her efforts were pointless and she was wasting her time.
Almost a year of her life had been spent getting this far: ten months of planning and research, of pouring her ideas onto paper some days and squeezing them out of a stone the next. Then two more months of proofreading, editing and formatting before finally uploading it to the biggest bookseller in the world’s website.
But so many things could go wrong. It was safer not to publish.
‘Shhhhhh!’ said her inner voice. ‘If you’re quiet, nobody will notice how dreadful you are. Don’t press the button. Keep yourself safe.’
Yet the whole point of writing was to be read. It wasn’t to get rich or be famous or get ‘likes’ and ‘followers’ on social media. To be read and have other people enjoy the fruits of her labour; that was why she’d done it. Did it even matter what the reviews said? So what if the only other people who read it were her mum, her sister and her best friend? If she didn’t try, not one of the seven billion plus human inhabitants of the planet would ever have the opportunity to read her work and, regardless of whether or not they liked it, wasn’t that the whole point?
With shoulders hunched, a hand over her mouth and her eyes screwed tightly shut, she clicked on the button.
Her eyes flew open and she stared at the screen, holding her breath for at least 20 rapid, thumping heartbeats before finally leaning back in her chair and exhaling loudly between pursed lips. She swallowed hard. Time would tell if she’d done the right thing.
Novel number 5 had been published.