The Joe-sized elephant in the room (yet another)

Okay, I have to just face the discomfort and push through it, much like ripping a band-aid off of my hairy arms after gouging myself from working on my car:

I haven't written on MI in a while.

That's uncomfortable to say, not because it's true (well, it's uncomfortable in a much different way for that), but because this is the 2nd time this year I've had to say it since posting that long ass new year's resolution thing talking about how I wasn't going to let that happen. I can just see your eyes rolling and your lungs breathing a heavy sigh of apathy as you read this, and that slays me.

I don't like not keeping my word.

The truth is, in a LOT of other ways, I've kept my resolutions. I've been hitting the gym regularly, no less than 4 days a week since January 1. I've quit getting distracted by outside news and events. I've done pretty well in those regards. I've also taken my tiny little business - which started simply as a way to adhere to the rules of Lightning Source and Bowker so I could publish my silly little book - and inadvertently turned it into something actually resembling a business, with employees and clients and whatnot. It's kinda crazy.

I've also written in my paper journal every day, and posted here almost every day (missing only 4 days this year that I could count). I've also taken a story I started when I was about 15 years old and revamped it (yet again) into what might be a comic book script (which is just plain crazy for me, since all I wanted to do from age 12 to 22 was draw and write comic books - in fact, writing stories and novels is kinda my way of "almost making it in comics" in my weird little head).

The one place I keep slacking? Mentally Incontinent.

The one place I have had success in creativity and writing, where I have dedicated fans (which I admit I do not deserve)? Mentally Incontinent.

The one thing I've got a book contract with Penguin for which will result in a production run and visibility potential at least 5x the first print run of the first MI book? Mentally Incontinent.

And therein lies the rub.

So I might as well admit it - I'm scared of Penguin.

I'm scared of finishing this book. I'm scared of submitting it, and having editors go through it. I'm scared of legal reviews. Even more, I'm scared it's going to make it through all of that, because when it does, it'll be sold at book shows to vendors - which it might not sell. It might totally flop, and I'll be a failure before I even hit a shelf.

And even more than that? I'm scared that it WILL do well at shows, and have a high print run, and not sell any copies to the general public.

When it was just me and my low expectations, it was easy - every single sale after, say, the first 20 copies was a success beyond my wildest dreams. To actually watch the first run (limited edition hardcover) climb into the 4,000 copy print run range? That was unfathomable... I couldn't believe it (and now, there's actually 4,001 copies of the hardcover, because I owed someone a huge apology). Then, to watch the paperback sell as well as it did... I mean, it just floored me.

So now, I've got my own expectations to live up to - but more than that, I've got to satisfy the publisher. Because as I stated in my series on "Why self-publishing?", if you don't show well in your first print run, there isn't a 2nd. That's it. Your book goes bye-bye.

So yeah, there it is, yet another elephant in the room I avoided talking about. I haven't written in a while (the first), because I'm scared of failing to meet some pretty high expectations (the second).

So, what to do about this...