The Writer’s Enemy

Authors share a common enemy.

This evil entity can affect every aspect of a book, from the writing to the marketing.

It starts out as just a tiny presence, seemingly innocuous.

Then it grows gradually.

Before the writer realizes it, this enemy becomes ominous.

It creates delays in the writing… hinders investment in cover design and editing… and destroys marketing effectiveness.

What is this evil monster?

It’s doubt.

When you doubt that readers will enjoy the story, it’s really hard to finish it… to put a full effort into it… to edit it well… to invest in a nice cover… to market the book diligently.

When you doubt your ability to market the book, you inhibit your own marketing efforts. Your lack of confidence shows through, creating doubt in the buyer’s mind. If you don’t believe in your book, why should customers?

Believe in your book to keep yourself motivated. Motivated to write, and motivated to market.

Become confident in your ability to write and market. Let your confidence show through. Let your passion for your writing show through in your marketing.

But don’t overdo it. Overconfidence can be a sales killer, and can make it difficult to handle criticism.

A little doubt can serve a useful purpose. But balance it with confidence so it doesn’t grow.

A little doubt can make you research the idea to see if it’s worth pursuing. A little doubt can make you consider an alternative. Make an informed decision and then be confident with it. A little doubt can make you edit yet again. A little doubt can make you compare your cover to those of top sellers. A little doubt can make you research other marketing ideas, just in case there is something better that you might be doing.

If you need to become more confident, you can try to build confidence in steps. A little feedback can help. Start with people who are likely to be supportive, and whose advice is likely to be helpful. Widen your audience, in steps, until you gain the confidence you need. Learn how to deal with criticism. Take a break after you receive it. Consider it another day. If it has merit and is something you are willing to do, implement it; if not, let it go. Be confident with your decision.

Chris McMullen, author of A Detailed Guide to Self-Publishing with Amazon and Other Online Booksellers, Vol. 1 (formatting/publishing) and Vol. 2 (packaging/marketing)

17 comments on “The Writer’s Enemy

  1. Definitely doubt is the greatest enemy. Excellent post. I remember doubt almost kept me from going to my first writing conference. Doubt made me wonder what I was doing there among all of those talented writers. Then I took a step and took the online course they were offering. I doubt no more.

  2. like this post a lot, really touches home, I’m embarrassed to say. but you just made it a little bit easier. Napoleon Hill talks about spending 30 mins. a day focusing on what we want and 10 mins to working on our self-esteem to achieve those goals. I think this very much applies to writing, if not in more so, and of course there’s the marketing side, as you mentioned, because we do actually want other people to read and like our work. You’re post has motivated me today to push myself in the right direction and write with confidence. Thanks.

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