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SIX stages of panic when BETA readers have your book

Stage 1: CONFIDENCE You hit "send." Hell yeah, feeling good! I think I nailed it.

Stage 2: SELF DOUBT You open the document again. You know you shouldn't but you do. Maybe, no! Most likely, you missed a period, or a comma, misspelled a word like "consummation" which comes out "constipation." You decide to read through the document again.

Terrible idea. Terrible.

Because as you do you find little mistakes.

Your body breaks out in a cold sweat. And your heart feels like it's going to explode.

Stage 3: SELFISHNESS Oh, God. It's 3 o'clock. Surly, by now, I should have received some sort of feedback. Right? I mean, they've had the book for three hours now. It should be the center of their universe (sarcasm intended).

Stage 4: SELF PITY I'm going to see if I can retract the email and scrap the whole thing. Why the heck did I ever decide to write a book anyway? This is stupid.

I suck.

Stage 5: FEAR You can't retract the email. And you can't focus. You know your BETAS hate it and they are trying to think of a nice way to tell you the book is crap.

Your phone dings and your heart leaps out of your chest and runs into oncoming traffic, not literally, of course. But really, you secretly wish it could because that will feel far better than the anguish you feel at this moment.

It's a text from a BETA reader. But you can't open it. You can't. What will it say?

Oh, dear lord.

But you do.

It reads: OH MY GOODNESS! Phenomenal. I cried. How do you do this?? This is going to be huge. HUGE!

Your heart stops (it's a good thing).

STAGE 6: RELIEF You get tears in your eyes.

You moved a reader and you like to hear how you made them cry. Sick, you know.

You give it a minute or two. You let the words settle into your heart.

And then you think, oh, sweet mother of--there are five other readers.

And the whole process starts over....

Lesson for the day: Make fear your bitch. Follow your heart and don't let your head get in the way.

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