The road to self-publication is many things, and “frightening” can certainly register as one of those things, especially when you throw the word “lonely” into the mix. Maybe it’s because we’re human beings and we’re hardwired to crave the affirmation and support that community brings, but there are few expressions in the English language that hold as much potential to inspire fear as “striking out on my own” or its close cousin, “in uncharted territory.” And while it’s true that there are many other people out there self-publishing these days, there’s no exact way to translate that “head knowledge” into “heart knowledge” if it hasn’t been made real to us in personal experience––which is one of the reasons, I think, why digital communities hold so much potential for the self-publishing author.
Chances are that you or I will run across few others who will choose to self-publish over the course of our lifetimes, so where else are we going to turn for feedback or even for some basic know-how than the internet? Blogs like Self Publishing Advisor and hybrid self-publishing companies like Outskirts Press provide important bridges to a successful and meaningful self-publishing experience for those of us who find ourselves stymied or at a loss, or even just lonely.
In this, my first post here, I’d first like to clear the air: it’s completely alright to be scared to self-publish. Your feelings, whatever they happen to be, are one hundred percent valid. My job, both as a contributor to this blog and––separately––as Manager of Author Services for Outskirts Press, is to be your ally, cheer squad, sounding board, and advocate all at the same moment. Everyone faces discouragement at some point when bringing a big project through from its beginning stages to its final execution and delivery, and self-publishing is no different. But the challenges you’ll face or are already facing must be addressed as the specific things that they are, peculiar to your own individual experience.
There is no such thing as a cookie-cutter self-publishing experience. But there are such things as insecurity, and fear, and trepidation. These feelings are real, no matter what the reality of the situation is and whether they are built upon a factually accurate perception of what’s going on with your book. And I can’t change what you feel simply by telling you “things are otherwise than how you see them in this moment.” I’m lucky enough to have the (hopefully unbiased and wholly objective) perspective of someone whose work hinges upon being able to honestly and earnestly remind authors they’re not alone, and to simply be there, time and time again, when the authors I work with need someone in their corner.
It doesn’t hurt that I work for a company I really believe in. As an employee at Outskirts Press, I don’t have to fudge on the details to make a sales pitch: we really are there to help authors before, during, and after publication. Authors really do get to keep their profits, they’re really not stuck waiting for agents to like their books enough to publish them, and they really, truly, are not alone … even when it comes to the marketing process, which can often feel like the most isolating part of the whole experience, as the post-publication phase requires self-publishing authors to take responsibility for the course of their own careers in ways that more traditional avenues don’t.
Outskirts Press aside, self-publishing is now more common than traditional publishing––even though, sometimes, it certainly doesn’t feel like it. (And there are a whole host of reasons why perception doesn’t line up with reality on this one, many of which can be traced back to the traditional publishing industry and its stranglehold on media outlets and therefore the larger public conversation.) Self-publishing authors have a collective voice that resonates much more clearly now than it used to, maybe, but we still face an uphill battle when it comes to dealing with those fears and insecurities I mentioned earlier. I’m here for you, though, and every week here on SPA I will keep on affirming your decision to self-publish and backing up those affirmations with a veritable onslaught of
cold hard inspiring and encouraging facts, data, anecdotes, and proofs that I’ve amassed over a lifetime of experience in the self-publishing industry. I hope you’ll check in every Thursday, and use the comments section, below, to ask questions and respond with your own insights.
You’re not alone. ♣︎
|ABOUT ELIZABETH JAVOR: With over 18 years of experience in sales and management, Elizabeth Javor works as the Manager of Author Services for Outskirts Press. The Author Services Department is composed of knowledgeable publishing consultants, pre-production specialists, customer service reps and book marketing specialists; together, they all focus on educating authors on the self-publishing process to help them publish the book of their dreams. Whether you are a professional looking to take your career to the next level with platform-driven non-fiction or a novelist seeking fame, fortune, and/or personal fulfillment, Elizabeth Javor can put you on the right path.|