Friday, May 17, 2013

Self-doubt in Self-publishing

I feel like this subject isn't talked about much.

Everyone talks about the horrible self-published novels out there. People get angry because there's no gatekeeper weeding out the poorly written novels. People want to be the judge and never the judged.

Some people refuse to read self-published novels. Others get angry because they're self-published and feel that these bad novels are giving everyone else a bad name.

What no one talks about is the self-doubt. Even the most hated novels out there had people who were experienced in the writing industry giving their approval. The whole world may hate the book, but at least one publishing company loved it. When you self-publish, the only person giving their approval is you.

You start getting bad reviews. For me, when I receive bad reviews, I usually contemplate the person's words for awhile. I hope that I can take criticism and use it to improve myself in the future.

But then self-doubt creeps into your mind. What if their words are right? What if I'm a terrible writer? What if I am one of the people making self-publishing look bad?

For both of my novels, I had several critique partners and an editor look them over before I self-published them. But is that really enough to make them good? A bunch of other self-published authors did the same thing, but that doesn't mean that they sell well.

And what is good? After all, when you start receiving reviews, you get both the glowing reviews (This was the best book ever!) and the flaming ones (This writer couldn't write her way out of a paper bag!) Who is right? And how does one know?

Going it alone is difficult. You don't have people outside of your family (who is obviously biased) cheering you on and telling you that they believe in you. You have to find that bravery inside of yourself-not only do you make decisions for the marketing of your books alone, but you deal with the consequences of those actions alone.

And I feel admitting to these self-doubts is almost taboo. After all, if you don't believe in yourself and you are the publisher of your book, then why should anyone else?

Self-doubt is normal and without it, none of us could improve. Writers are human and they go through all sets of emotions-be they anger, self-doubt, fear, or others. It's time to admit to the truth.


Tricia ~ Authors to Watch said...

This is a very thought-provoking article. I've read self-published books that (in my opinion) were WAY better written than some books by the big publishers. Reviews are not always an indication of quality. What might be one person's 5-star might be another reader's 1-star.

Mel Chesley said...

I have to say, it doesn't matter what you've published or how you've published it. Even the big name authors out there get the bad, flaming reviews. Some people just feel compelled to give bad reviews. I have to say, I read a lot of self-published stuff. I try to help by doing reviews, critiques, etc. Not all indie authors do go the route of critique partners and editors and THOSE are the ones, (I feel) give the rest of the writing community a bad name. You know you've done all these things and frankly, you don't have to justify yourself to the jerks that just want to hate everything out there. Focus on the positive and consider the negative to motivate you to keep pushing yourself and making your writing better. That's all ANY author can do. :D

Anonymous said...

Thank you~

I think you've finally put into words why I'm afraid to self-publish-- and it really is a fear issue.

It isn't the tremendous work of advertising, it isn't any difference in prestige, it isn't the money (Hell, every source I've found says you're more likely to make it big self-pubbing than otherwise).

But at least when you go traditional, you've got a whole building full of people declaring that they love it and it's ready to go. And I'm one of those people who's going to be second-guessing myself until the end of time, if a third party doesn't step up and pry my work out of my hands.

T.J. said...

Ha! That's me to a "T" when it comes to self pubbing. I keep trying to put it off, find excuses. I'm terrified, wonder if I really have what it takes. I'm okay with not making millions. I doubt I will anyway. It's the wondering if I'm really good enough to self pub.

And you, Missy, are a G R E A T writer. No matter what.

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