Part One - Atychiphobia
During my publisher's latest promotion, I began to realize that I was clenching my teeth, picking at my nails and pulling my hair even as I cheerfully followed instructions re the fabulous marketing ideas. I suddenly acknowledged that I was not having fun. That I had a deep-seated aversion to bragging about myself to the world.
Although I love my own books, am proud as a peacock that I wrote them, adore my publisher - I wasn't enjoying the promos. Why not?
I decided to look up inspirational talks about success and discovered not one, but two, syndromes from which I may be suffering. I just have to decide which one. As they say, acceptance is the first step to recovery.
First, I investigate the most popular ailment. Perhaps I have acquired Atychiphobia, commonly known as the fear of failure. According to Mind Tools, there are four main signs of atychiphobia.
1. "A reluctance to try new things or get involved in challenging projects." I don't think I have this symptom. I'm usually very excited about new marketing ideas. It's the actual work of the project that gets me nervous. As I'm tweeting and facebooking, I am convinced no one is really listening. I am talking to myself. Despite the lovely retweets, follows, Likes, purchases, and direct messages, I still feel completely alone. Probably because I am. Alone, that is, here is my office, unable to see the audience or hear any applause.
Strike symptom 1.
Scratch symptom 2.
3. "Low self-esteem or self-confidence – Commonly using negative statements such as 'I'll never be good enough to get that promotion,' or 'I'm not smart enough to get on that team'." I might have to cop to this one. I do tend to suffer from shyness and a lack of confidence. But as anyone will tell you, most people don't notice. They would probably argue with me. They don't see my shaking knees or the ache of my jaw. I plunge into everything despite the lack of confidence. Although it's always with me, I employ techniques for appearing comfortable and confident: big smile, firm handshake, deep breaths, written speeches.
Symptom 3 - only half.
4. "Perfectionism – A willingness to try only those things that you know you'll finish perfectly and successfully." Oh, I have to admit to this one. I rarely tackle anything unless I'm pretty sure I'll be a huge success at the skill or task. Maybe this explains the post-promo depression (I'm coining it as PPD). Afterward, the results are never what I think I should have accomplished! I berate myself for not being number one. For not surpassing Sara Paretsky or Louise Penny. Aha! I have this symptom for sure!
However, since I only have one and a half of the symptoms of a fear of failure, do I really have atychiphobia? Perhaps not. Perhaps I have Jonah Complex. On to the next set of research!
BTW: ImajinBook's Summer Sizzle promotion, sale and contest can be found right here, until July 20: http://www.imajinbooks.com/contests-events
PS Some promoters I admire who seem to thoroughly enjoy doing it (so much so, they make it their profession). Check them out when you get a chance, especially if you are an author with atychiphobia - they'll take over for you.
Rebecca Dahlke runs Dirt Cheap Mystery Reads: allmysteryenewsletter.com
Michael Gallagher runs Kindle Books and Tips: http://www.fkbooksandtips.com/