Today I stumbled across this wonderful video by Susan Kaye Quinn about facing fears in the indie publishing industry.
I couldn’t even get all the way through it before recognizing my biggest fear as an author, which is the fact that my books are about religion.
Religion in fiction has become taboo in our society, especially in the LDS (Latter-day Saint) community. I live in Utah, and like me, many of my author friends are LDS. I’ve had well-meaning authors and publicists tell me that I would find much more success if I kept religion out of my stories.
My series is all about religion. If I took the religion out, there would be no conflict. But it’s the story that came to me. I feel very strongly that this story needs to be told. I literally can’t write anything else until this story and these characters are out of my head.
I tried writing something else. It didn’t work.
My story is very unique. It’s not like other books out there, let alone religious ones. Most religious fiction is specifically written to convert the reader. My books aren’t like that. The religion is both the conflict and the solution. The overarching message of my story is that we need to conquer intolerance, not that I want to cram my religion down your throat. That’s what makes so many readers uncomfortable.
I’m not doing that.
But here’s where my self-doubt comes into play. I’m taking the negativity that is created from the cram-it-down-your-throat religious books and I’m applying it to myself. I’m doing that because I am letting the opinions of people who don’t understand my book influence my view of my work. These are people who haven’t read my books and have made quick judgments about it based on very little information. They see a flash of the word Mormon and they say, “Gee, that must be one of those preachy, religious books. I’d better skip that one.”
I know there are people who will say that. It’s an obstacle that I will probably always face.
But here’s what else I know:
My story is powerful.
I’ve read the reviews written by both religious and nonreligious people who have read my books. They were pleasantly surprised and had many good things to say about my series.
But even though reviewers are saying things like:
“Religion is a touchy subject for everyone, and the most common protocol is to simply keep your mouth shut about it, so to read a YA that is highly focused on religion is a refreshing change.” –Shadow Kisses Book Reviews
I still doubt myself.
And that doubt needs to go away. There is an amazing opportunity out there to reach readers who are waiting to read a powerful story of facing intolerance and falling in love. All I have to do is overcome my fear and go out there and find those people. Because when they do read this story, their support is unwavering.
And that’s the part I need to focus on.
Too often we allow self-doubt and fear to block us from finding our greatest potential. I’m ready to remove my roadblock of fear and move forward.
Are you with me?