Monday, July 28, 2014

The Self-Pub Diaries Part IV: Dealing With Crap

Hello all!

These last two weeks have been good to me! My book has a cover and eARCs have been going out to reviewers…
*cue panic attack*

…but aside from that, I'm happy. It’s finally happening! People are reading my words!
(And let me tell you, having a Very Famous Book Blogger read your ARC is similar to having an editor request your manuscript. You're excited but at the same time you kind of want to die because they can make or break you.)


Even as things seem to be (finally!) looking up, some days I wake up and even though I have every reason to be happy… I’m just… not.

It happens to all of us, regardless of publishing path. But it’s one thing when you have that shiny Big Five contract in your drawer and the approbation (and occasional worship) of friends, family, and random strangers on the Internet. It’s quite another when you’re doing everything by yourself. And oftentimes, it feels like the outcome of the whole thing rests on your fragile writerly shoulders, weak and a little crooked from leaning over the keyboard for too long. One wrong move, and the whole thing comes crashing down.

So I think this post needed to be written sooner or later.

The post on how to deal with crappy feelings--Indie Author Edition.

Crappy feeling #1: This was a huge mistake. I should have queried/subbed/looked for a traditional book deal/gone with a small press.

This was probably not a huge mistake.

When this feeling strikes, may I kindly direct you to this post by the amazing Brenna Aubrey. Brenna is that writer who turned down a six-figure Big Five deal to self-publish. Lots of other indie authors have been offered Big Five deals… and turned them down. Because, like it or not, there are some serious advantages in being indie. (See my “Why I’m Self-Publishing" post and scroll down to the TL;DR.)

When in the dumps, re-read. If still in the dumps, re-read again!

If STILL in the dumps, you’re either really difficult or really pessimistic. Kidding! If that doesn’t help, consider this. What is it you want most: a logo on the spine of your book, or do you want to reach out to thousands and thousands of fans, people who will read your book, adore it, write glowing reviews, and spread the word?

There, the little logo doesn’t sound so significant anymore, does it? The point is, YOU CAN DO THIS WITHOUT EVER NEEDING THE LITTLE LOGO AT ALL. Plenty people have done this already and plenty more will.

But this often leads to…

Crappy Feeling #2: I don’t believe you. It works for other people but not for me, because I have shit luck/I’m not as good as everyone else/indie was a last resort for me. Me, I’ll sell ten copies and everyone will reference me as a statistic for why you still need the Big Five.

Sure, not everyone is destined to be a KDP viral sensation. BUT. If you do everything right, if your presentation is professional, you have an edited book and a nice cover… (and it doesn’t hurt to write in a genre/subgenre that typically does well indie!)… you will do just fine. Even if you don’t top a single bestseller list. I set my goal to cover the expenses of self-publishing, and even if my book doesn’t become a viral hit, I’m confident that I’ll make that goal.

Crappy Feeling #3: Why are people ignoring me? This is high school all over again, I feel like the awkward kid with the headgear sitting alone in the corner.

When you don’t have a platform, yeah, you sometimes feel invisible. Do what you can to get your book out into the hands of reviewers, be it via blogs, GR read-to-review things, or other services. This is where I’d suggest you spare no expense. Once the reviews start rolling in (and if your book is done up professionally, they WILL) people will start to notice you. Because you’re no longer a nobody. You’re the author of [insert super awesome book here].

And it’ll happen! I promise.

Finally, if you’re still not convinced: just yesterday, Cora Carmack (you might have heard of her--she's that hyper-successful NA author who started indie and got picked up by a major publisher) made an announcement. She’s releasing her next series, a paranormal New Adult romance, in the winter. And self-publishing it.

Yes, you understood correctly. A major bestselling author is leaving her traditional publishing house and going back to indie. And her reasons sound suspiciously like everything I (and other indie authors) have been trying to get across for ages: Cora Carmack wanted to branch out into speculative New Adult, but the publishers weren’t open to trying a new thing. So Cora went forward and innovated.

(Now, doesn't that sound like a bad case of deja vu?)

If that doesn’t convince you, I don’t know what will.

With this, I'll see you again in two weeks! And I might have something special for you :)

In the meantime, you can find me on Twitter, Goodreads, and my (NA) author site.

Cheers, and happy publishing!


  1. I know what you're going through. I decided to self-pub my best book and best potential series. I've been kicking myself once in a while for turning down the contracts. Shoulda, woulda, coulda. But the book has only been out for a month. It was a whirlwind decision, partly based on Brenna Aubrey's decision (and the non-compete clause). But I see a contemporary with the label I turned down having a major release with publicity and fanfare, coupled with great sales--makes me green around the gills.

    As Dory would say, "Just keep swimming. Just keep swimming."

    1. Dory tells it how it is! :D

      I never submitted my debut (didn't feel like waiting for six months while editors tweet and paint their nails!) but if I had, I honestly don't know if I would have had the strength to turn down a hardcover-in-bookstores offer. But as someone who wrote for small e-only presses, let me tell you: they really can't offer you anything you can't do yourself (if you have at least a minimal budget for cover and editing, that is--but it's worth it!)
      Sometimes, though, I see authors with trad deals promoted all over the place, quoted in industry publications, etc... and feel a pang. Yeah, it's tough.

  2. Thanks for your honesty in this post! As someone who was lucky enough to be accepted by a traditional publisher (after much rejection), I have to tell you that I STILL deal with doubt. With not feeling like my sales are high enough. It's so easy to feel like you could have done better/been more successful, etc., no matter what situation you're in. The important thing is to push past it and keep writing!