All aspiring authors look forward to publishing their book…until it actually goes to press. Then all these fears start showing up. What if no one likes the book? What if I never sell a copy? What if it comes from the printer riddled with errors? Tears, depression, horror—these are common reactions to such a profound moment in life, and even experienced authors feel queasy on publication day.

I’ve seen many of my clients in this situation, and all I can say is that it’s completely normal to question everything you’ve done when you’re on the verge of something so big. But you’ve worked really hard for this, and there’s no reason to let your fears stop you now.

Here are my best suggestions for dealing with some of the most common what-ifs new authors experience.

What if no one buys my book?

Of all the fears an author can have, this is the most unfounded. Why? Because books don’t sell themselves. You have to take action to get the word out about your book and make sales happen. Although you may lie awake at night thinking that your garage will stay packed with boxes of books for eternity, there are ways to move those copies into the hands of readers.

Make sure you have a solid marketing plan in place, with a few different ways to reach potential readers. And make sure you market your book consistently and regularly. Blog two or three times a week; send out your e-zine; book those speaking engagements. Do your best to get in front of as many readers as possible, and your books will sell.

What if I get a negative review?

Whether it’s a critic in Publishers Weekly or some anonymous reader on Amazon, negative reviews sting. But they happen to everyone, and you shouldn’t let them get to you. Think about it this way: negative reviews mean people are reading your book, and they care enough to voice their opinions. And not everyone bases their book buying decisions on reviews.

When a review upsets you, consider the reviewer. Are they the kind of critic who hates everything they read? What have they written about other books? And keep in mind that maybe the reader was just having a bad day and decided to take it out on you. See if you can solicit a few positive reviews from readers you trust (this works best on sites like Amazon where anyone and everyone can post). And if you’re sensitive, then just try to avoid reading reviews altogether.

What if I find a typo?

This is a tough one—we all want our books to be perfect. Unfortunately, mistakes and typos sometimes slip through, in both self-published and traditionally published books. I’ve found misspellings and typos in books that were undoubtedly read by four or five different professionals. It’s just one of those things that happens every once in a while.

All you can do is your best. Hire an editor and a proofreader. Read through the manuscript (before and after it’s been laid out by the interior designer). Ask anyone who owes you a favor to read it too. And if you’re really worried, consider printing a short run of the first edition, or publishing your book by print-on-demand at first, so you can catch any errors that may have slipped through the proofreading stage before investing in thousands of copies.

Managing the What-Ifs

Publishing a book is scary! It’s like sending your baby out into the world, and it always feels premature. But every big step toward success involves some risk. And as painful as it will feel at first, you just have to learn how to put the what-ifs aside. Onward and upward!

Author's Bio: 

Melinda Copp helps aspiring self-help, business, and nonfiction authors write and publish books that establish expertise, attract clients and opportunities, and share their message in a compelling way. Visit for a free copy of her Jumpstart Your Book E-course.