One great benefit of self-publishing is that it’s a sure thing.
You don’t need to send out query letters or book proposals.
You won’t be rejected by agents or editors.
But that doesn’t mean you won’t feel rejected.
Once your manuscript is complete, you spend several days hammering that square peg of a book into a round hole, trying to reshape it into acceptable formatting.
You might be rejected by Microsoft Word, refusing to number pages, format headers, or keep the layout the way you would like it.
The publishing service might reject your file because it didn’t meet the technical guidelines.
Kindle might show you a preview that doesn’t look anything like your Word file.
Smashwords might not accept your e-book into the premium catalog.
People may point out spelling and grammar mistakes in your writing.
They might suggest that you really need an editor.
You might receive some constructive criticism on your writing, which, even when it has merit, can be hard to swallow.
Even worse, when you seek to hire an editor, the editor can choose to turn down the job.
When you order printed books, there is a chance of receiving defective copies.
A customer can receive a defective copy. No manufacturing service is perfect.
Even an e-book customer can experience technical hiccups while downloading or reading a book.
When one of your few customers encounters a problem that’s beyond your control, it can be frustrating.
You can’t publish anything.
Amazon has content guidelines.
CreateSpace has content guidelines.
Kindle, Nook, and Kobo have content guidelines.
If you probe the limits of your writing freedom, your work could get rejected.
Sometimes there isn’t a clear line between what is or isn’t acceptable, but a murky gray area.
If you quote a line from a song, you could receive legal notice to take your book down.
If your writing infringes upon the rights of others, your book could lead to a lawsuit against you.
Legal action could cause a retailer to stop selling your book, or the publishing service to stop distributing your book.
With the hope of gaining more exposure among your target audience, you may submit an article for publication.
Just like submitting a book proposal, your article may be rejected.
If you enter your book into a contest, you might not win.
You might not even make the first cut.
Critics can leave bad reviews.
They can post one-star reviews right on the product page, where every shopper can see it.
Where your family and friends can see it.
Where you can see it.
Those comments can cut deep.
There is no guarantee that you will sell a single copy of your book.
Many books never sell 100 copies.
Not 100 per month. Not 100 per year. Not ever.
There are books that have been on the market for over a year that have no sales rank.
To not sell any books must hurt worse than receiving thirty rejection letters.
People you know can complain about your book.
Or about how you’re wasting your time pretending to be an author.
While you strive to build positive publicity for yourself, once you enter the public eye’s scrutiny, one false step can lead to negative publicity.
Cyberbullies can target you.
Your own family might not appreciate your writing.
They might wish you did something more “meaningful” with your time.
You could be your own worst critic.
You might regret your prior writing.
You might delete your work and start over before you ever finish.
You might not even find the courage to publish in the first place.
You write, therefore you are an author: See “Intimidation is nine-tenths of the writer’s law,” by Ionia Martin.
You don’t need permission to share your passion. You are approved!
Don’t focus on the worst that can happen. Focus on readers who can benefit from your writing. Those are the people worth writing for.
Writing and publishing a book is a huge accomplishment, no matter how you do it. Give yourself a round of applause. Congratulations!
Grow a thick skin. Find a support system. Don’t let ’em bring you down.
When you feel rejected, turn it around. Use it as a motivator. Let it boost you up.
Offer support to other authors.
Read. When the writing is good, leave positive reviews. Spread the word about good books.
Share your wisdom and experience with authors who seek help from you.
Provide emotional support where it’s needed. Oh, yes, it’s needed.
Applaud authors everywhere for working hard to create wonderful reading experiences.
It’s faint, but listen.
Do you hear it?
Sounds like a clap.
It’s growing louder.
Take a bow. That applause is for you.
I started this blog to provide free help with writing, publishing, and marketing. You can find many free articles on publishing and marketing by clicking one of the following links:
Chris McMullen, Author of A Detailed Guide to Self-Publishing with Amazon and Other Online Booksellers