Swoon Author Tiffany Pitcock: Publishing Confessional – Promotion and Anxiety
I’ve wanted to be a writer since I was eight years old. I still remember being in Mrs. Ireland’s third-grade class, writing stories in my notebook instead of learning my multiplication tables. I remember promising my best friend Kasey I’d dedicate my first book to her (which sixteen years later I did). I was prepared. I knew what I was going to do and nothing was going to get in my way.
Then I met my constant best friend and worst enemy: my anxiety disorder. My personality grew around my anxiety like a tree grows around an obstacle. I highly doubt there’s a single part of me that isn’t influenced by it. Actually, I have no idea who I am without it.
But I thought, hey, there’s no way that will impact my dream. Writers are introverted and shy, right? That’s what the movies say!
Boy, was I wrong.
I knew being published came with a lot of things. I knew writing was difficult, that editing was hard. I knew that stories change and scenes I loved would be cut. I was prepared. What wasn't I prepared for? Self-promotion.
No one ever told me that a large part of being an author is self-promotion. Looking back, it seems obvious.
This is where anxiety and the dream clash. I know some people with anxiety disorders find solace online, but that doesn’t work for me. If anything, my anxiety is worse online. These are conversations where I am unseen, unwanted. I feel like my Twitter is just an unwanted presence shouting into the void. That anytime I reply to someone that I am just unwanted and annoying. But I want to be involved. I want to be friends.
It’s the same offline, as well. It’s hard for me to find the line between self-promotion and bragging, so I don’t say anything at all. People ask me what I do, and I don’t tell them. I feel like anything concerning my book is being conceited. It’s deeply rooted and extremely hard for me to break.
Out of everything, actually talking about my book has been the most difficult part of the publishing process for me. I’m battling past seven layers of anxiety every time I even mention it.
I’m slowly getting better. I’m taking baby steps. At first, my anxiety about talking about my book gave me more anxiety, but I’m getting past it. A lot of authors feel this way, not just me. I’m learning that it’s not conceited to be proud of what you’ve done, that it’s not bragging to promote your work.
Publishing has helped me put myself out there, and not just creatively. I’ve made great connections and great friends throughout this process, and I’m steadily starting to feel less anxious about it. I reply to tweets, and I email people first. I ask questions and state my opinion. Slowly but surely, the anxiety monster is surrendering to the dream.
Out of all the changes I expected about
publishing a book, conquering my anxiety wasn’t one of them. It’s just a super