Why Do Authors Get the Book Baby Blues After Finally Completing a Manuscript?

Charmd Baker
Dec 17, 2019 · 5 min read

The real writer’s life that authors don’t always like to talk about.

Photo by Claudia Wolff on Unsplash

On a day that I’m supposed to be celebrating the first day of the pre-sale of my novella, instead, I find myself starting to feel really down in my spirit.

I recognize the feeling all too well. It’s a kind of depression that I refer to as the book baby blues. I know other authors can relate, that’s why I decided to share my thoughts about it here.

If other writers happen to be experiencing the same thing, or something similar, hopefully this will help them know they’re not alone. This especially applies to those who finished a manuscript during the 2019 National Novel Writing Month.

The Writer’s Life

At some point and time, if your plan is to be a self-published author, your writer’s life will eventually consist of more than just working on a manuscript and trying to get it finished.

Before your work is thoroughly edited and revised, you should already be thinking about what comes next with your manuscript.

If you’re anything like me, you won’t be all that excited about doing book promotion and marketing stuff to help announce your book. So the last thing you feel like being bothered with is trying to set up some kind of pre-sale before the book is released.

Other Knowledgeable Authors

In spite of my reluctance, I recognize the significance of a pre-sale period, just like other knowledgeable authors. For instance, author Steven Spatz made some really good points in one of his Medium stories.

I enjoyed reading You Need To Have A Pre-Sale Period For Your Book. Here’s Why. Even before I read it, I had already planned a short pre-sale period for my upcoming release date of December 31,2019.

But then, I came across another related article by author D. S. Murphy, a new fiction author. He’d written a very detailed and well documented post about all his pre-launch activities.

He did an awful lot of pre-promotion for the pending release of his Shearwater novel. In all honesty, I found his post to be really depressing. Here’s why.

Book Promotion Overload

In Mr. Murphy’s article, I read all about all the stuff he kept meticulous logs about, so he could monitor his activities and results. Just looking at what all was on the horizon, I began to get book promotion overload.

By the time I was through reading what all he had done, I was exhausted myself. I can only imagine how he must have felt, actually performing all those tasks.

Just looking at what all was on the horizon, I began to get book promotion overload.

Rather than be encouraged (which I’m not sure if that was even the aim of the article), I felt intimidated at the whole damn process!

I knew this author had clearly put in a heck of a lot of work, promoting and marketing his novel, which, I coincidentally found out later, is about mermaids, just like my own title.

When I looked over my own upcoming pre-sale schedule and agenda, some of the very same activities and book promotion services were on my list of planed things to do.

Suddenly, the whole thing seemed pointless, and once again, I started dreading the thought of going through the entire book promotion, book launch, and perpetual book marketing process.

Doubting Your Manuscript

It didn’t take long for me to go from feeling overwhelmed about the future marketing and promotion activities, to starting to doubt my manuscript entirely.

Some really self-defeating thoughts began popping into my mind about my upcoming release. It was all I could do to fight off a serious bout of depression. The nagging doubts bombarded me.

  • What was I thinking?
  • Is this story really any good or just crap?
  • Maybe it’s not exciting enough. Oh no, the characters suck!
  • Does the plot even make sense!

Unless you’ve ever written and finished a complete manuscript, you probably can’t begin to relate to belittling your work like this.

But take it from me, a two-time novelist, with one Amazon short read, and another soon-to-be published novella, it happens.

Common to Writers

It’s crazy, but no matter how much I realize my feelings of inadequacy are common to all writers, I can’t shake the blues with that knowledge alone. But at least reading about how other writers cope, can help a little.

It also helps to know yourself, and monitor your moods. My book baby blues really kick in when I start badgering myself about whether what I’ve written is good enough. That usually happens if I start comparing my work to others.

It’s amazing how excited you can be, all while you’re writing your manuscript and watching how great the story is developing. But, for no good reason, when the book is finally completed, you start doubting what you wrote.

A good lesson here is to use caution when reading and listening to other writers and authors. Don’t try and compare your work or your related activities to someone else. Only consider the stuff that really uplifts you.

Overcoming Book Blues

In truth, the only way I know how to overcome the book baby blues, is to let the process play out. It takes time, just like anything else. But in the meantime, you still have to keep going and working toward your objective.

My goal is to self-publish, so I have to continue implementing the activities that are necessary for self-publishing. However, I’ve come to a conclusion about future writing projects. I finally figured out what kind of author I don’t want to be.


  • I don’t want to promote and market,
  • I don’t want to do blog tours and podcasts,
  • I don’t even want to traipse around town trying to sell my books to customers and vendors

I just freaking want to write!

Traditional Publishing Option

Clearly, with the attitude I’ve developed, when it comes to book promoting, my future efforts should go towards trying to land a traditional publisher. I’m ready for someone else to do all the leg work, or at least most of it.

I realize that even with traditional publishing, a certain element of self-marketing is necessary; it simply goes with the territory.

But if the thought of unending book marketing and promotional activities are a turn off, then self-publishing is probably not the right option for me or authors who feel like I feel.

Whatever you decide, just remember that the book baby blues is not a long term situation. You can and will feel good again about your manuscript again, so don’t bug completely out and think about trashing it.

Continue your publishing plans, and actually turn that manuscript into a published book. Then think how really proud you’ll feel when the book is released, and you know that you’re the one who gave birth to it!

Click here to learn more Tell Us the Mermaid Story, a novella by debut fantasy author Beka R. March.

If you have a book baby blues experience to share, please leave a few comments below and tell us about it.

Thanks for reading and don’t forget to follow Charm whens she’s not medium writing.

The Startup

Medium's largest active publication, followed by +608K people. Follow to join our community.

Charmd Baker

Written by

Hello — I’m an L.A. based writer and self-published author [novels and ebooks]. I love it here! The more I read, the more I write! Follow me and do the same.

The Startup

Medium's largest active publication, followed by +608K people. Follow to join our community.

More From Medium

More from The Startup

More from The Startup

Welcome to a place where words matter. On Medium, smart voices and original ideas take center stage - with no ads in sight. Watch
Follow all the topics you care about, and we’ll deliver the best stories for you to your homepage and inbox. Explore
Get unlimited access to the best stories on Medium — and support writers while you’re at it. Just $5/month. Upgrade