Tuesday, April 16, 2013
To the Recently-Decided Self-Publishing Author
Dear recently-decided self-publishing author,
Congratulations!!! You've just made a huge decision, and it's a very exciting one.
I know you don't feel like those words fit right now. I know your hands are shaking and your stomach is in knots and your knees have turned to jelly. I know you are trying to hold back tears, or maybe you stopped trying a long time ago and now they're just pouring out. I know that you think I should be saying, "You are an idiot," rather than "Congratulations."
I hope you have a good friend next to you, like I did, to rub your back and let you cry on her shirt, to tell you that she will be there for you every step of the way. I hope that friend is telling you that you are making a good decision - not the only decision, but a really, really good one.
If you don't, read these sentences over and over and over again until you feel them in your bones: You are a hard worker. You believe in your book. You have what it takes to build your own career. You are making a good decision.
You have learned that there is a wrong way and a right way to publish a book, and that self-publishing is in the "wrong way" category. You may be very concerned about that right now - specifically, how people will view you and your book when (if?) you self-publish it. I wish I could say something to make that worry go away, but I can only tell you the truth you already know - that stigma against non-traditional publishing runs so deep that its claws have worked themselves deep into your psyche, and it will take two things to get them out: hard work, and time.
The key to ridding yourself of those claws is to throw yourself headlong into working hard to publish your book. Go through the motions. Walk the walk. Fake it till you make it. At some point - and I don't know if it will be when you make the announcement, when you hold the ARC in your hands, when you get your first review, or when you sign your first copy that someone has bought (!) - but at some point, you will stand up tall, pride will wash over you, and you will realize that you haven't felt those claws, or even thought about them, for a long time.
(If you want to know, I stopped worrying about what everyone would think three months and twelve days after I decided to self publish. It was a couple days after my cover reveal, and it was awesome.)
Every day will get a little better. You and your book will shine. And, most importantly, you'll reach readers and share your story.