I really want to talk about fear when you’re writing a book. It is such a monumental subject that it clouds almost everything we do in our lives. I know you’ve heard me discuss the stigma of paid reviews and the fallacy of back-scratching before through my guest blog posts on Review-Worm.com (http://review-worm.com/blog/), but I was trying desperately to come up with a reason why these biases are ingrained in our psyche as authors and writers. I’d like to think I’ve discovered it. We’re afraid.

The indie author community is mad and angry. We were rejected by a (or all) Big 6 Publishing house but we say, “To hell with them.”

We’ve got something to say and the world needs to read about it. So we self-publish and/or vanity publish our work. We know we don’t have the financing and capital of an author with the Big 6 so indie authors are competing among themselves. We are rivals, though we smile and join our “indie author communities” and try to support each other. At the end of the day, statistically, we won’t sell near as much as James Patterson. We fight for every e-book sale we get.

This is why indie authors hate paid review services. Because they think that another indie author will pay for a lot of positive reviews and get more sales than they do. It’s not really about ethics or morals. It’s about ego and money.

This brings me to the root of it. Fear. Authors are artists just like musicians or actors. We put our heart and soul into the performance of our work. We put it out into the public for their praise and criticism, for their love and their hate. And it’s soul crushing to get negative reviews.

Our whole world is seen through the eyes of fear and weakness. From our earliest ages, we are told not to touch the hot stove, we are told you can’t fly, we are told you can’t go to college or graduate school, we are told you can’t write a book or be an actor, we are told you can’t follow your passions and your dreams. This is all fear and it makes you weak if you believe it. You are not wrong to want to write, play, sing, dance, or whatever your passion is. You are not wrong to want to live your dreams. For every person who has told you no, tell yourself yes.

Life is truly very simple. Someone asked me how I wrote a book. I told her the steps.

Step 1: Turn on your computer.

Step 2: Open up your word processing software.

Step 3: Type and do not stop.

So then she said, “Yes, obviously but how do I keep doing that?”

I looked at her and said: “Step 4: Repeat steps 1 through 3 every day.”

Then she launched into a diatribe of excuses: busy schedule, work, laundry, kids, soccer practice, husband, family obligations, blah blah blah. It’s all an excuse. It’s all fear. If she wanted to write should write. No “ifs,” “ands,” or “buts.” End of story.

I told her the steps to do so but she has come from such a background of people saying “no” to her that she can’t see that most things in life are far simpler than we’re lead to believe.

Fear puts us in a position of weakness. It takes away our power. It says we are in the wrong. Nothing could be further from the truth. Do not let fear stop you from writing a book. You are not wrong to want to live your dream and explore your passion. In fact, it could be the first thing you’ve done “right” your whole life.

About Joshua G. Silverman