Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Take a chance...

Guest post by Kat Sheridan for the Insecure Writers Support Group (IWSG).

I published my Victorian romance novel, Echoes in Stone, on a dare.

I finished it five years ago, but never published it. Maybe I thought it wasn’t good enough. Maybe I was afraid of failure. Or success. I picked at it, passed it through beta readers and a really good editor, and made it as strong, as compelling as I knew how.

But still, I couldn’t bring myself to make that leap. To share “my baby” with the world. What if I made a total fool of myself? I was terrified of promotion. Of bad reviews. Of being found out as a fraud. Not a writer.

I belong to a group of historical romance writers who meets every three weeks for coffee, pastries, and goal setting. Every meeting I dutifully set new goals for my work-in-progress, and wrote new pages, but was never really finishing anything. Then one member of the group decided that instead of allowing me to set my own goals, she would set one for me.

Publish something. Anything. She challenged me. She dared me.

So I closed my eyes, screwed up my courage, called in favors from every friend I knew…

…and jumped.

One friend gave me a final edit. Another pointed me to a great cover artist. Another offered to upload the book for free as a thank you for past help I’d given her. Sia had me as a guest on her blog and lined up others for me. Friends tweeted and shared and banged the drum for me.

Sales aren’t spectacular. It’s a debut novel by an unknown author. But I’ve made sales. That very first, tiny little royalty check? It was like winning the Golden Ticket to the Wonka factory.

Many years ago, Hubs talked me into going on one of those 3D virtual rides in Las Vegas. I was utterly terrified and queasy even before getting on the ride. My fears were echoed by a little boy in the same waiting line, who kept chanting “Scary, scary, scary…” When the lights came up after the ride, he jumped out of his seat and yelled “Do it again!” And I turned to Hubs and yelled the same thing.

And that’s how I feel about the book I’m working on now. That giddy feeling that comes only from putting your work out into the world, no matter how much you want to throw up? Do it again!

So tell me, if you’re not published yet, what’s holding you back? And if you are published, what made you take a chance?

Coming up Friday: Judi Fennell and her fun new series Manly Maids. You don’t want to miss this one!

Kat Sheridan is a former project manager whose very serious exterior hides a secret romantic. She is fond of books, bourbon, big words, coffee, and shiny things. Kat splits her time between the Midwest in the summer and the South in the winter, sharing her home with the love of her life and an exceedingly dignified Shih Tzu. She loves to hear from readers, and can be contacted at


Anonymous said...

Have I mentioned lately how much I adore you?

You are the real deal. I can keep saying it until you either repeat it from hearing it so much, or better? You believe it.

I took a hit to the ego, I'm not quite over yet. Soon, I'll give you a run for your money soon.

Kat Sheridan said...

Sherilyn, you are so very good for the ego! And I'm waiting impatiently for you to get back on that horse and ride hellbent for leather! GO for it!

Natalie Aguirre said...

Thanks for sharing how you took your leap. It is scary. Glad you had people encouraging you on.

Kat Sheridan said...

Natalie, folks always think of writing as a solitary business, and it is in many ways, but it is always better if you have a support group to help, encourage, read, listen, commiserate, celebrate, and share. I've been very lucky that way!

~Sia McKye~ said...

Kat--I'm so damn proud of you! I hear you on the fears and worries and I'm right there, too. And having done this has given you the confidence to pursue the next book.

And thank you so much for helping me with the blog today. I'm off to the hospital and this morning to to check my shoulder after falling on the ice--shoulder first--and then will be helping the family with the final arrangements for my brother.

Kat Sheridan said...

Oh, Sia, not a fall! Just what you didn't need on top of everything else. I'm so sorry about your brother. My thoughts will be with you and your family today.

And one of these fine days, I want you to make the same leap and publish something.

Sending you hugs and hoping your nephew made it home in time.

Elsie Amata said...

Oh my gosh, I bet it was super exciting to get your first royalty check. I dream of the day! Go You!!

Hugs to you and your family for your loss. I hope your shoulder heals soon.

AJ's wHooligan in the A-Z Challenge
co-host IWSG

Kat Sheridan said...

Elsie, it didn't matter how tiny it was, it was that somebody was willing to pay for my writing. What a feeling! Is there something holding you back? Hoping all your dreams come true!

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Sometimes it takes someone else shoving us to that goal.
While I'm not giddy with excitement, somehow I keep doing it again.
Congratulations on your first book, Kat!

Kat Sheridan said...

Thank you, Alex. And yes, whether it's a challenge, a dare, or an outright shove, sometimes it's just exactly what a writer needs.

Liza said...

Hooray for you! This is a wonderful story about friendship...and the joys of "taking the leap." Congratulations!

Kat Sheridan said...

Hi, Liza! I definitely couldn't have done it without friends. Most writers I know are kind and generous and supportive of one another, always willing to help out and cheer one on!