One thing that quickly became painfully clear was that writing the book was not half the battle. It wasn't even a quarter of it. It was more like 10% of the battle.
I'm not a loud person. Social gatherings are guaranteed gut aches for me. Job interviews are torture. I'm that girl who just hopes someone tolerates me long enough to see that I'm kinda nice and occasionally inappropriately funny. I am not someone you'll probably hate, but I might be someone you'll forget.
This is not good for self-promotion.
A wonderfully charismatic friend gave me some top-notch suggestions to get my name out there. They involved calling people and introducing myself.
I didn't do any of them.
Instead, I timidly set up my Facebook page, a blog and a separate website for my book. I even bought a bunch of pens with www.emilysseams.com printed on them and didn't give them out...I think they're in my hallway closet. I was very passive about the whole thing. I mean, after all, I'd written a book, wasn't that enough?
Of my family and friends who read it, I got ego-saving compliments and helpful criticisms. From one friend though, who had only read the short excerpt online, I got the most scathing review: It was amateur, full of grammar errors and I should do something else.
I think I could've taken a smack across the face with a tuna easier than that.
What I've learned is that if you have the creativity and dedication to spew out a novel then do it. I guarantee you that some people won't like it or will offer their "suggestions" on how to pretty much rewrite the whole thing. Now don't get me wrong, I know some stuff I write is pure crap and I'm grateful when someone politely shakes their head and says "mmm, no good." But I always have to remember that I'm not writing what or how they would write, but that doesn't mean my work is crap.
So you need to be clear on why you're doing any creative writing: for you and you alone. If you think it is good, then it's good. It'll be good in the way that tomatoes are good. Some people love them, other people will throw hissy fits if they turn up in their burgers. I'm my own worst critic and I still like the book...and tomatoes.
The bottom line is I did it. I fucking did it. And I am all kinds of proud of it. For now, that's enough of a return on my investment.