Publishing is a daunting task for anyone, whether you’re going the traditional route, looking at independent presses, or you’re steering towards self-publishing. Each of these routes have their own set of pros and cons, but I’d like to focus on self-publishing.
Many people don’t know this, but I’ve self-published two books before removing them from the public. I wrote a Cinderella retelling and a cozy mystery with the intent on serializing it. Imposter Syndrome dug her claws into my back and whispered in my ear that despite decent sales, I just wasn’t good enough yet.
That’s the first question you need to ask yourself: Once my book is available, will I be able to push all negative thoughts from my mind?
No writer is a stranger to self-doubt, but are you willing to let that grow into self-sabotage by not promoting it like it’s your prized possession? Are you going to remove it from the shelves of the public if you don’t make at least 100 sales a month?
Are you writing books for the purpose of sales?
So many writers want to create a career out of writing, and that’s a perfectly acceptable goal. No matter how old or how experienced/inexperienced you are, wanting to be a best-seller is not something to be ashamed of. But are you going to compromise the quality and integrity of your work for the purpose of making sales?
I’m not saying it’s not a good idea to follow trends in the literary market, as long as you remain passionate about what it is you’re doing and the art you want the world to see.
Who are you writing for?
When you write your book, ultimately it starts with an idea that you can’t get out of your head, but as you finish it and begin the editing and formatting, one thing to keep in mind is your audience. Knowing your audience is key to marketing your book. Who is going to pick up your book and fall in love with the characters?
Are you willing to put in the work?
Writing the book is only one part of the process. A big step is putting aside your pride and networking for alpha readers, beta readers, editors. If you don’t know how to format, you can easily Google it but you might even need to find someone to format your book for you. You need an eye-catching cover design. You need a blurb, a tagline, and you need to market the hell out of your book. Word of mouth isn’t going to cut it when it comes to pushing your book into the public eye.
Are you ready for criticism?
I’ve seen some of the most seemingly well put-together individuals rage over bad reviews and sulk. I’ve seen people spiral over one singular bad review despite having many good reviews.
The thing you need to accept before you even think of letting anyone read your words, is that not everyone will like it. Some people will downright hate it. That’s just part of putting yourself out there. Dita Von Teese once said, “you can be the ripest, juiciest peach in the world and there’s still going to be somebody who hates peaches.”
Taking every review personally can both inflate your ego and puncture it. Set aside your ego before you publish and allow yourself to be proud that you created something amazing!
What other questions do you think writers should ask themselves before publishing?