The Opposite of Popular

The online home of alleged author Victoria Leybourne

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One week to go!! Or, the art of self-deception.


(Don’t worry, the book contains much more punctuation and much less screaming than that.)

Here’s the cover and the link to the website again, you know, in case you lost them.


Here are a couple more reminders:

As for new news… there isn’t very much to tell. After a busy month or so, I’ve been at a bit of a loose end this week. My to-do list for this book has dwindled to nearly nothing, but I’m much too focused on it to really get anything else done – like writing the sequel, for instance.

For anyone hoping to learn from my self-publishing fails, I can confirm that organising my own blog tour (which I mentioned that I was going to try in my Self Publishing To Do List) has been… not an unqualified success. I contacted around twenty blogs, which I hand-picked myself on the basis that it looked like they reviewed books like mine, didn’t say that self-published books were libris non grata and so on. One invited me to guest post, which I’m super-excited about (look out for the link next week)! And I’ve had a couple of polite “no”s. Otherwise, it’s been radio silence. This is totally understandable, because I know review blogs get an overwhelming number of requests, and I’m not at all surprised, individually, that each blog didn’t get back to me. But of course I hoped that some of them would be interested, so I’m definitely disappointed.

Still, I’m sure there’s something to learn here for next time – which is a large part of what this first release is going to be about! It might be that I just picked the wrong blogs, but I’m sure I could improve something about my approach, too. E.g., I actually spent quite a long time exploring each blog to get a feel for their style and content but, since I was trying to be concise, that maybe didn’t come across in my emails – they might have looked a little impersonal.

And an update on the above-mentioned giveaway: it’s now at 681 entries, which means that 681 people have heard of the book! Yaaaaaay! Although the frequency with which I have been checking that number does not bode well for my self-control about checking my sales figures after the publication date.

And finally…

I am suuuuuuper stressed about the publication date being so close – something which will not surprise any of you who’ve seen me get suuuuuuuuper stressed about incredibly minor, everyday crap. But I’ve been able to turn it to my advantage! (Sort of.)

One of the many things I am irrationally anxious about is going to the dentist. I had perfectly respectable teeth as a small child but, when my adult teeth came in, they were large, free-spirited things that grew in some rather whimsical directions. So I’ve had quite a lot of scary, painful and expensive work done to them and am now afraid of dentists. Like, openly-weeping-in-the-waiting-room afraid. So, when I got a reminder to say I was due for a checkup, my first thought was that there was no way I was dealing with that until after the release. But then I realised that I was already pretty close to a maximum stress level, so what the heck – and I went today. It worked! (Sort of.) I mean, I still freaked out, but only for a few hours before, not, like, a week – because I was too busy worrying about the book. If I’d done it after the release, I’d have had ample time to worry about both.

Self-trickery: almost as good as being able to respond to challenges like a functional adult!

Right, that’s enough excitement for me for one day. See you all soon! ❤

a very scary squirrel saying discouraging things


3 Things I’ve Learned In A Year And A Half Of “Trying To Be A Writer”

I’ve been trying for ages to finish whatever it was I thought I was starting in this post but screw it. I’m just going to do this Buzzfeed-style. Except Buzzfeed is all about brevity and GIFs and I’m all about rambling and also sometimes GIFs. Whatever, let’s do this.

3 Things I’ve Learned In A Year And A Half Of “Trying To Be A Writer”

1. I kind of hate writing

I mean, I love it. But I haaaaaate it.

I always sort of knew this might happen. I mean, it took me ages to start enjoying reading again after I did my Literature degree. I liked interior design a lot more before I moved into a flat that needed to be completely redecorated. Nothing is as much fun when you have to do it. But I don’t think I ever suspected how painful writing would be if I forced myself to do it.

I’ve been writing the same story on and off this entire time. I’ve written a handful of other things as well, including Bloody Zombies, but basically I’m working on Faustina. Last year, I wrote about two-thirds of it, one of the biggest chunks of writing I’ve ever done, then I rewrote it from third-person past to first-person present, then I threw it all out. That hurt. Now I’m at about the same point on my current draft. I don’t think I want to throw this one out but that last 20,000 words is coming an awful lot more slowly than the first 20,000. I’ve written most of the really fun bits. Also, I’m working in Scrivener (which I thoroughly recommend, by the way), which allows you to write scenes separately and juggle them around, so at the moment what I have is a collection of isolated scenes that aren’t joined together, so many of those missing words are just going to be transitions. Which are not that much fun.

When I’m in the mood to write, you can’t stop me. When I’m not, I will do pretty much anything to avoid it. “Hmm, I should really get some writing done to— What’s this? A mundane and unimportant task that could definitely wait until later? This looks like a job for WRITING AVOIDANCE GIRL!”

2. Nobody cares what I do (as long as I’m safe and happy)

When I decided to take a part-time job and spend the free time working on my writing, I felt excited for maybe a week. Then the squirrels of Anxiety started yelling in my head. (I don’t know where the line between being “a worrier” and medical Anxiety is exactly but I think I dance pretty close to it a lot of the time. And by “dance” I mean “curl up in a ball and cry”.) And the squirrels of Anxiety are mean.

a very scary squirrel saying discouraging things

I realise this looks kind of crappy here on the internets but I’m pretty sure now that I’ve drawn it it will haunt me forever so, before you say anything, please consider that I have been punished enough.

For a long time I was afraid to tell more than a handful of people what I was doing, because I thought they’d agree with the squirrels and try to stop me. I’m a pretty stubborn person and usually, if anything, being told not to do something makes me want to do it more. But this was something I felt really insecure about already, so I was afraid that if anyone challenged me I wouldn’t be able to defend it.

Of course, when I finally did start telling people about it, reactions ranged from “Oh, okay” to “Wow, that’s awesome!” and not one person expressed overwhelming concern that I would starve to death in a ditch somewhere before my thirtieth birthday. It’s not that my friends and family don’t care about me. It’s that no one will ever be as consumed with worry about the minute details of my life as I am – because, frankly, none of it actually matters. And that’s something I really needed to know.

3. I’m insecure

After all that stuff about squirrels you’re probably going to be thinking “Well, duh” but I generally don’t think I’m insecure. I don’t (usually) worry about my weight or my appearance and I don’t (usually) care what other people think about me and basically I think I’m pretty cool, if you like that sort of thing.

But I am all kinds of insecure about my writing. I guess I do think I’m pretty good at writing, but I never feel particularly proud of any of it. If I read some back and it seems kind of “meh” it’s because it’s terrible and I’m terrible and everything’s terrible. And if I read some and it seems pretty good, actually, then I just think that because it’s mine and anyone else would just be embarrassed for me. And if someone else reads it and says it’s good, even if they’re someone I’ve never met and have no reason to worry about hurting my feelings, then they’re just being nice.

In fact, I honestly can’t think what would break me out of the conviction that I suck. Publishing a bestseller? I’d be terrified that that was my peak and I’d never write something that successful again. Reaching JK Rowling levels of success? I don’t know, I think I’d just feel like I’d been lucky. Although I’d like to think that all the mansions and jetskis and magical wish-granting unicorns I could buy would distract me from the misery of existence.

A change like that has to come from within, really. I haven’t figured it out yet. I think I will, one day, I just hope it doesn’t take me too long.

unikitty from the lego movie: "I must stay.."