I had half a post written and then scrapped it. It’s hard to write about being nervous. We do it to our characters all the time, but we don’t want to admit to it personally, except mabe to our closest friends. I think occasionally we ought to, just so others know they’re not alone. Most of the blogs and books I’ve read about self-publishing focus on the changing face of tradpub and why that makes going indie a good choice for many. It worked for me. I finally took in enough positive information that it outweighed the fear.
What fear? The fear that I’d do it wrong, whatever that is. The fear that even with a professionally covered, edited, and formatted book, I’ll still only sell twenty copies to my friends and family. What if, despite the postitive feedback I’ve gotten from multiply published authors and professional editors, the readers don’t like it? What if, despite all evidence to the contrary, my stuff stinks on ice? If I self-publish, everyone will know that I can’t really write.
Irrational? Yes. Fear often is.
I don’t fear that anymore. It could still happen, but I don’t fear it. But it took me a while to get there. What helped? Reading lots. Talking with people who’d already done it, and hadn’t died. Doing it simultaneously with a friend. A supportive and encouraging spouse. Recognizing that I was happy and excited about self-publishing. (Physiologically, anxiety and excitement are pretty much identical — it’s all in how you interpret events.)
What else held me back? Inertia. It’s hard to change trajectory even when the old path isn’t getting you where you want to go. Is it crazy to do the same thing over and over again and expect different results? The funny thing is, sometimes the results are different. After collecting my share of rejections, I sold one of my novels, Veiled Mirror, to a small press. Getting that external validation gave me that extra bit of confidence to go out on my own.
I know that every self-publishing effort isn’t a success story. My sales may be far less than I hope. But not to try is to surely fail.
The funny thing is, now that I’m moving forward, I wish I’d started a year ago.