A Time to Rise is HERE: Confessions of a Freaked-Out Author on Release Day

It’s here. It’s today. I have released A Time to Rise into the world. (Okay, so my publisher actually let it loose, but still…) I feel like a parent letting my kid go off to their first day of school and hoping that they find the right friends and avoid the bullies and change the world. 😛

The past month has been filled with countdowns and squeals and photos and excitement — a true portrayal of where I’m at . . . but that wasn’t the story a month ago.atimetodiecov

I used to imagine what authors would feel when their books released. Once I got contracted in 2013, I got to experience that for myself. With A Time to Die I was on a terrified giddy high — terrified the world would hate my debut novel, but giddy because I could finally share Parvin Blackwater with the world. (And she’d finally end up with a slew of close friends. YOU!)

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atimetospeak5With A Time to Speak, I felt nothing but excitement. It was the strongest book I’d ever written (which isn’t saying much since I’d only written three manuscripts by that point–one of which needs to be burned, and the other two were ATtD & ATtS.) I couldn’t wait to let my faithful readers into the sequel that was so filled with adventures. I was so proud of the characters’ growth and where the story was taking them. And, *ahem*, a certain swoon-worthy male character. Okay I did bite my nails a bit about how everyone would react to the major cliffhanger ending. But look, it’s been a year AND YOU SURVIVED! (I know that doesn’t excuse what I’ve done…but I still wouldn’t change it. 😛 )

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atimetorisecovfinalBut A Time to Rise is a different story.

By August of this year, I was so nervous about its release that I would get physically queasy. This book was hard to write, guys. Not because of the content, but because of the deadline. And the fact that I didn’t have it all straight in my head. I had the main points, of course–I wasn’t just making up the conclusion of the story on the spot. (Can you imagine the mess?)

But this book never felt solid.

I rewrote the ending six times from scratch. I unraveled and retied and re-unraveled the character arcs of main characters over and over and over. I finally sent off the book to my publisher, and then thought of a thousand things I wanted to add/change/delete.

I never had the excitement for the world to read A Time to Rise. In fact, I dreaded its release because I was certain you would all be disappointed. I had a long list in my head of the things that you wouldn’t like or would point out as not fitting, or would say didn’t make sense. For weeks I couldn’t even let myself think about the book because I kept thinking, “People are excited, but they don’t realize yet that they won’t like it. They’ll feel incomplete by the end, I just know it.”

But then I realized that all these fears arose from the fact I was seeking validation from readers. I wish I could say that, once I realized this, I hopped back on my steed and charged into battle all, “FOR NARNIA, AND FOR ASLAAAAAAAN!” But no. I was more like, “Yup. I’m seeking reader approval and I’m not sure how to change that. Uh…God?”

After I took Allen Arnold’s class at the ACFW Conference, I returned home and the doubt and fears and sickening dread hit me so hard. So hard, friends. I couldn’t sleep and I even contemplated, “Is it too late to ask my publisher to pull A Time to Rise from the line-up?” The next day I ditched work — I ditched the 200 emails waiting for me, the books I needed to read, the planning and blog writing I needed to do — and went to the coffee shop with my journal.

Guess who was there?

Yup. God. Waiting with an open ear and a perfect chai.

The STory of With - Allen ArnoldAfter two hours of journaling and trying to process the many lessons from The Story of With (such as “God, what do You think of my writing?”), He finally peeled back my skin and bone until my heart lay exposed and vulnerable. And finally, finally, I got it. God cared about me. He cared about my heart. He cared more about relationship than the product.

And I realized it didn’t matter how awful A Time to Rise was. Only He mattered.

A couple weeks later, the advance reader copies for A Time to Rise went out. . . and I felt nothing but peace. A few nerves flittered here and there, but I just realigned my thinking. Then the the positive feedback started coming in. Frankly, I was shocked. And then encouraged. The feedback comforted me but didn’t define me.

I cried. A lot. (happy tears!)

And now it’s release day. You have A Time to Rise and I’m excited. I’m confident. I’m not nervous at all, just ready for you to know the end and to share this finale with you. <3 Thank you for coming with me all this way. There’s a little note to my readers in the back of the book and I hope you know I mean every word.

So with that . . . let’s go celebrate. (In the way bookworms celebrate, which really just means “go read”.)

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Your Turn!

Do you ever find yourself placing your worth in the feedback of others? How do you combat that?







About Nadine Brandes

Nadine Brandes is an adventurer, fusing authentic faith with bold imagination. She never received her Hogwarts letter, but rest assured she’s no Muggle (and would have been in Ravenclaw House, thank you very much.) This Harry Potter super-nerd has been known to eat an entire package of Oreos (family size) by herself, and watches Fiddler on the Roof at least once a year. She writes about brave living, finding purpose, and other worlds soaked in imagination. Her dystopian trilogy (The Out of Time Series) challenged her to pursue shalom, which is now her favorite word (followed closely by bumbershoot.) When Nadine’s not taste-testing a new chai or editing fantasy novels, she and her knight-in-shining armor (nickname: “hubby”) are out pursuing adventures.
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  1. Thank you so much for sharing this. I struggle with that problem too, wondering what people will think about my writing, if they will like it, if it will inspire them… I’ll have some confidence in my own work, but then I want outside approval and praise to confirm that it really is good. It’s something I’ve been working through and I remind myself that I write for the Lord. I pray about my work and I do the best I can do, then it is out of my hands to work as it will.

    • This is exactly the mindset and lesson that God’s been teaching me. All He asks is for is our best–most of all our best efforts in seeking Him and committing all to Him. The outcomes are His job. 🙂 Keep rising up every day to trust in HIS will for your writing! 🙂

  2. Thank you so much for honestly sharing your struggles. I think we ALL wrestle with that at times, wanting others to love our work but knowing it has to be all for Him. Congratulations on the Time to Rise release! So excited for you!

    • Thank you, Karis! It’s in sharing that God shows me I’m NOT alone. 🙂 And that there is an entire community of friends and writers to support me and for me to support. <3

  3. Oh, I can relate. Not that I’ve ever tried to publish much books or anything. But, if I share an excerpt, or I show someone a slideshow/video I’ve made, I long for their approval, even their awe. I tell myself, “What’s the point of investing so much time and creative energy if no one likes it?” 😣 But, when I’ve prayed through a project and seen where God has taken me through it, THAT is my greater comfort. *He* helped me through it and it was a wonderful journey I made with *Him*.
    Thank you for sharing your personal struggle with us. It reminds me that there’s more going on here than just a bunch of very excited fans sitting down to read a book. Much more. : )

    • Yes! It is only through coming to God and getting legit vulnerable with Him that we can make room for his comfort and rid ourselves of that focus on others’ approval. <3 Proud of you, friend. And thank you for sharing yours. 🙂

  4. –Sorry for the typos!

  5. Congrats on the release! I felt EXACTLY like that before Deny released! I felt like everyone liking Dare had to be a fluke, and Deny had been such a struggle to rewrite, and I was sure everyone was going to hate it just as much as I borderline hated it even when it released. It took so much out of me, and I wasn’t sure the readers were going to stick around to get to Defy, which was my darling. Funny thing, after all my worrying, many readers like Deny better than Dare. And, looking back, I can see how revising that book taught me to lean on God through the whole writing process and not just once I was done writing the book. It was too easy to have the perspective that the writing part is my part, and then I give it over to God to do His thing, when, in reality, all of it is His thing.

    • Wait…you mean I’M NOT ALONE?! 😉 But really…I’m surprised and comforted to hear you say this because Deny was so fantastic! I love seeing how God has risen above these fears and shown you what an impact your writing can have. 🙂 And also grown you as an author!

      Thank you for sharing, friend. <3

  6. I find it encouraging that you hadn’t written much else before publishing these. Sometimes I fear that I’ll have to write dozens of books before I get one that works. Maybe I still will.
    I have a tendency to not share my work with those who’s opinion I care about most. A teenage writer friend isn’t too scary, but my family. I’m afraid of beinfmg told I’ve wasted my time. I’m afraid of disapointing them.

    • I hear you, Brie! I never let ANYONE read my writing unless I was pitching at a conference and even that was nerve-wracking! But God grew me–just Him and I–until He told me it was time to give the stories to the world.

      I’m praying for His boldness in you and that you will see His hand through every stage of your writing, no matter how many (or how few) books you write before publication. 🙂

  7. Congratulations sweet daughter! I am so proud of you in completing this wonderful and inspiring series! To God be the glory! I love your openness regarding your thoughts and your trust in God in this whole writing process. It’s been a beautiful thing for me to observe. I used to find my worth in the feedback in others but I think it was because of my insecurities. As I grew closer in my relationship with Jesus, I became more secure in Him and found my value through His eyes. He continues to show me that and as long as I am striving to please Him in all that I do, that’s what ultimately matters most. “Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men” -Colossians 3:23

    • Aww thank you for sharing, sweet Mommy. Yes! It’s all through drawing closer to Him that I find my strength and purpose! <3 Thank you for the scripture. That is a beautiful reminder.

  8. Oh, Nadine! *hugs* I’m so glad you’re feeling better, and you had that chat with God! To Him be the glory! Your books are incredible, and truly shine His light. They’ve blessed me. I’m so glad you wrote them. <3 I believe God is working through you. So yep, keep charging ahead! “For Narnia and for Aslan!” 😀 (I just love that you added that quote in there.)

    Hope your release day was blessed!

  9. Awww!!

    Firstly, CONGRATULATIONS!!! I loved it! (Just finished it about a half hour ago, umm…) And I’m SO JEALOUS of those who have it on their bookshelf! (I’ll just have to wait for Christmas. *sigh* 😉 )

    Secondly, I’m SO GLAD that you’re feeling better! I want to say something like you needn’t have worried (which is true…), but that doesn’t effect much, really. I’ve never published a book before, but I’m SO PROUD OF YOU for going through, even when you were super nervous!! Oreos to you!!! 😀

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  11. Aw, I’m so sorry you had to go through that. You have so much to be proud of, and you should Never feel like a failure on that count!!

  12. Hannah Gaudette

    I just finished reading the Out of Time Series and I absolutely LOVED it! A Time to Rise was definitely my favorite (I admit it, I was squealing a bit at the end, which was fantastic!). I really enjoyed these stories and the characters.

    Thank you for sharing this with us, and for sticking with the book all the way through! Congrats!

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