I did something I always wanted to do. It’s a great feeling. But there seems to always be someone who wants to step on your dream. Someone who, for whatever reason, wants to take the smile from your face and bring you down a peg. It’s great to have friends who will keep you grounded and make sure you’re based in reality and to give you genuine feedback, but what you don’t need is people who are motivated by something other than wanting you to achieve your best.
Being a self-publisher isn’t easy. I know, because I’ve done it. You have to wear a lot of hats and keep looking up to see which one you’re wearing. For me it meant being the author, the editor, the visual artist who designed the cover, the legal expert to locate the IBSN and business numbers and look into tax requirements, and to be the publisher, and then the marketer. And maybe being all of these things means that you don’t do them all as good as one person doing each one would, but at least you can say you tried. At least you can experience these things and give it a shot and definitely learn something along the way. At least you can say you did something you wanted to do.
Before my book was even on the shelf I saw it. I saw the people ready to pounce and to tell me I couldn’t do it. The people ready to say ‘you’re (sic) writing sucks’, ‘your book is rubbish’, ‘don’t give up your day job’, ‘what a stupid idea for a story’, ‘I don’t want to read that’, ‘who is it supposed to be like?’. And then when it was out there, a friend was willing to say they recommended it, even without reading it, but almost the minute their Facebook post was out there, I heard it ‘it’s just like all the other trashy novels on the internet’. Without even reading it, without even knowing what it was about, they put it down. Then the post disappeared and my friend was embarrassed to support me.
Maybe you think you will never find someone who will support you one hundred per cent, or believe in you, or support you, but there should always be one person. You. No matter what they say, no matter what their motivation is for saying it, you need to believe in yourself. When you put yourself out there you’re exposing a piece of yourself. Not everyone is going like it, it’s never going to be everyone’s flavour, but it is a piece of you; your art, your heart and something you need to believe in.
There’s a big problem with independent book stores being pushed out of the market by the big chains. Why is that a different fight to someone being independent of a big label? Someone who is just trying to get their work out there and share their story. Maybe some self-publishers want to just do it all themselves and would never consider a big publisher. Maybe some tried and tried to get picked up by a BIG company and failed. Maybe some decided that in this technological age it was possible; it was possible to be independent, it was possible to be the little guy and succeed.
I hear the criticism that self-publishers are forcing readers to wade through a pile of ‘rubbish’ to get to the ‘gold’ and that there are now too many ebooks available. You don’t have to read them, but writers have to write them. Maybe you dream of reading a good book or you dream of writing one. You don’t have to like everything out there but you don’t have to put it down either. You have dreams, everyone does. Believe in yours, and let other people believe in theirs.
Don’t crush and don’t be crushed.