Have you ever gone to a party and happily socialized the night away, only to discover later in the restroom that unbeknownst to you, you had a huge chunk of parsley stuck between your front teeth, impossible to ignore, but no one felt compelled to mention it? Kind of makes you feel silly, doesn’t it? Or maybe you’re one of those really confident people that can take control of the room and not feel the least bit self-conscience about your appearance? Maybe you just pick the food out of your teeth and move on? I wish I had that kind of confidence.
I guess today I’m sort of equating self-publishing to food stuck in my teeth. Remember a week or two back and I was sort of hanging in the balance of ‘to-publish’ or ‘not-to-publish’. I had been all set to self-publish my second book this fall and then I panicked and got cold feet, or at least I thought it was cold feet. I tried to brush it off and plunge ahead, determined to finish my final edits and get this thing ready for the world to read.
Problem is, no matter how hard I try to embrace this idea, I am still left with this nagging voice inside me that is saying, “Wait a second, Steph. Are you really sure you want to do that?” I thought I was sure. And then it hit me, it’s not about fulfilling some vain fantasy of being a traditionally published author versus giving Indie my all. It’s about worrying that my writing isn’t quite “good enough” and not having the right tools in place (i.e. a team of experienced publishers and editors to fix my wrongs) to know better. What if my writing sucks but everyone is just too afraid to tell me? I love my story and I am sure I could find one or two others that may love it too (besides you, Mom) but is it worth the bitter sting of poor reviews and lack of sales? I’m a sensitive soul. I’m not sure I can handle it.
I published The Between World almost exactly one year ago to the day. (Happy Publishing Anniversary to me!) I don’t regret it but I do wonder if maybe I pushed the button a bit too soon. That story could have been better. To a certain extent, I’ll probably always feel that way about anything I write when I’m looking in hindsight. Experience and practice helps us to refine our craft and (hopefully), the future me will be a better writer than the earlier starts. I wish I could judge by reviews but the reality is that only one review on Amazon came from a source that I don’t know. Whoever she is, she made my day with four stars and I wish I could thank her! But there have been two others on Goodreads that came from unknown sources that were clearly not impressed with my work. The ‘unknowns’ who rate my book carry more weight (to me) than the others because they don’t really have any reason to care if they point out I have something stuck in my teeth – See what I’m getting at here?
I guess what it all boils down to is that I take writing very seriously and I want to regard myself as a professional. I have great respect for those who self-publish and I’ve had the privilege to read quite a few that I would definitely recommend to reader friends. Because I take my craft seriously, I don’t want to be the self-published writer that gives all others a bad name by publishing poor quality work. I wish I could afford to hire a professional editor and other book services but I don’t have that option, at least not at this point in time. I’ll never give up writing and I’ll never stop reading books and striving to make my own work better so it’s not like I’m giving up or calling it quits. I just won’t be self-publishing book number two. This time it is definite. If my only reason to push forward is because I want it NOW rather than wait until it’s really ready, well, that’s just not a good enough reason.
Thank you to everyone that entered the Goodreads Giveaway and added the book to your ‘to-read’ shelf. I really do appreciate it. One wonderful thing about authors is that they are the most kind and supportive bunch you can find on the internet! I’ve canceled the giveaway and I’m in the process of trying to have the book removed from the Goodreads library.
In the meantime, I’m wrapping up final edits this week and will jump right into writing a query and synopsis and get that baby out into the hands of professionals who can help make it sparkle and shine. I’ll keep you posted on this and other projects.