When I decided to self-publish I felt the excitement of holding that very first book in my hand. It was real, and really happening. It was much like giving birth when you’re amazed something you’ve known to happen to others could actually happen to you. It wasn’t just a dream anymore.
The awe-struck feeling didn’t last long enough before another feeling slowly crept in. It was the awareness that others would now know who you are and what you had done. That set in a little fear of others judging you based on the work you did. What if no one liked it? What if it was really bad and only you thought it was good? The nagging inner voice of doubt has struck.
I begged for others whom I trusted to read my work and assure me I hadn’t failed in my attempt. It’s taken two years and more unresponsive or noncommittal friends and family than genuinely responsive, then a few very good reviews before the slow process of believing in myself began. Even though I now accept I can write well and many will like it, the occasional nagging inner voice of doubt lingers. I wonder if its good enough? I think it will be a continuous up and down battle to close off that voice with each new publication.
As more and more strangers report good things it gets easier, but it’s not like the eleven books, with a total of seventeen publications (some just ebooks), in two years brought in a flood of fans. At least not ones who actually buy the books. Few Indie authors experience that. It’s the gifts and free giveaways that you hope will feed your doubts with good reviews, but never materialize that really disappoint. We are such a vulnerable lot, and very egocentric when it comes to these feelings.
We support each other with likes and votes and sharing posts, with occasional purchases, and sometimes reviews, but it’s still a difficult road to travel down. We’re mostly alone. It’s the nature of our craft. Continuing to immerse ourselves in imaginary places with imaginary people doing imaginary things keeps us busy. If we stay busy maybe the fear won’t come, maybe the doubt will stay away and maybe even a few books will sell. Of those maybe a few reviews will materialize to help erase any remaining doubt.
All of us go through this to some degree. HERE is another blog with steps to follow to overcome some of these feelings of vulnerability and help you keep on keeping on so no one is shattered by disappointing comments or downright meanness. Become strong because the naysayers are out there and when things begin to look good they could strike you down. Be prepared. Become strong. Then it won’t matter if others don’t approve. Enough will.