Two days ago I resumed work on a book proposal I’ve been meaning to write for a while and, to my dismay, something I met when I started the proposal was still there waiting for me: fear.
Some call it Imposter Syndrome. Tom Hanks has felt it. Thom Yorke has felt it. Neil Gaiman has felt it. Hell, even Michelle Obama has felt it. If you dare to do something that will place you in the public eye, like write a book that readers and critics will scrutinise, it makes sense that you’ll doubt yourself. What if they think you’re an idiot? Chances are, given hundreds of thousands of readers, someone somewhere will.
Book publishing, especially in the non-fiction categories, is just as much about the author’s credibility as it is about the book. Notice how many authors are journalists, professors or, at least, ‘experts’ in their fields. It makes sense from a publisher’s perspective because, while a book may be art to its author, to the publisher it’s an investment. I believe I can write this book but I have doubts whether potential publishers or agents will believe that I have enough credibility to sell it. Only one way to find out.