I published Nudes on May 22, 2017.
I wrote it the previous fall in two weeks. It literally poured out of me. That book has been, to this day, one of my favorites to write. But at the time, when I started talking about it online and teasing the release…I was told no.
An author called me up on my cell phone and told me not to publish it.
Yes, a fellow author. A peer. A colleague who knows the ropes and how difficult it is to pour your heart onto the page.
She told me not to publish the book. She told me there would be backlash. It was too taboo. It was too blurring of the lines with consent (or so she assumed). Hint: It’s not. She saw a teaser online. She made an assumption about what the book was about. She decided to play God and deemed that my book should not be published. She called me and told me not to publish it.
Honestly, I didn’t react well. I was horrified and angry and hurt and I recoiled like a puppy who’d been kicked by someone who’d just been petting her only minutes ago. I showed my teeth and bit and snarled and demanded she keep her opinions to herself.
No one was going to tell me what I could and couldn’t write.
Almost two years later, that book is my best selling novel of all that I’ve written with tens of thousands of copies sold. It’s sold in other languages, in print, in audio, and into a video game. That book put me on the map and bared my soul to the world and not publishing it would have been the biggest mistake for my career and for myself.
Publishing is a complicated industry. Everyone will have an opinion. Everyone will tell you what to do and when you’re wrong. You can only listen to your gut. That’s the only thing that will guide you to really make the right choices for yourself and your career.
You’re going to make mistakes. You’re going to fuck up. You’re going to miss opportunities you wish you’d taken. You’re going to ruin chances you wish you could redo. That’s all part of the process. But in the end, it’s your process.
No one else can take this journey for you.
So listen to your gut. Publish that book.
And when they tell you no, show your teeth.