You won’t make it. And no, I’m not saying that I have made it. It’s just that, well, if you have paper thin skin just stop right now. Do not pass go and do not collection $200.
I have a lot to work on as an Author but the only reason I know this is because of what others have told me, what I have learned about this field, and what I have accepted as flaws that must be pruned and tuned to become strengths. I noticed, while reading an article about negative reviews, that there is not enough attention paid to the dark side of self-publishing. That is, the negative feedback (and reviews) you get from those who (wait for it) thought your book sucked.
You are entering a world that is a lot different from other businesses. You can’t pick up a book and drink it or rub it into your skin. It’s not a collection of diamonds or a tasty meal that will satisfy your flesh. No, the book business is a lot different than selling soap. Books require more than money, but people must be willing to invest their time into a read and that’s only if they actually enjoy reading. Even if they enjoy reading, books require lots of attention. It’s not a disgusting vegetable drink you can gulp down quickly and complain about later. No, if a book is tasteless it will be promptly put down, rejected, and possibly never tended to again. There’s just way too much to do in a day.
As a Self-Publisher, you must prepare yourself for this rejection. It will hurt initially because let’s face it, your a genius. But, not everyone will see it this way and usually when you think something is brilliant chances are it’s not so in the eyes of others. It’s an interesting thing, the work I don’t think much about is what gets the most attention. The poems I write just because I felt like writing, where I was nonchalant in the process for lack of a better word, are the poems people love the most. It may have something to do with humility: the humble will be exalted and the exalted humbled. (As a rule of thumb, the greater you become, the more humility you should have) Work we think the world of may not be as we intended. I didn’t intend on writing a book when I wrote the first chapter to Stella, nor did I intend for Book #2 to do better than Book #1! That’s just the business. It surprises you like that. And you know what? I love it.
Add onto this the stigma (though significantly fading, so much so that I feel funny writing this) of Self-Publishing and Indie Authors in general. I’ve read some Traditionally Published books that sucked but the reality is that as a Self-Published Author you have to have a much thicker coating of skin. If you can’t take constructive criticism in your everyday life and you have plans to publish a book, you may want to get started on that. Taking criticism that is. I know I have talent as a writer but I am not naive. I know that not everyone is going to enjoy my work or see the message and I don’t expect them too. Truth is, I’m not trying to save the world and neither should you. I’m just trying to reach the remnant of the world that wants to be saved. For this reason, I expect some people to dislike my work. (The bible also says something about when everyone thinks well of you, careful, for so they did the false prophets. You don’t have to believe in the bible to consider the message in that).
I also know that not every review will be a positive one. This is actually not a bad thing, it’s a good thing. Its a good thing because without knowledge of your flaws you can’t improve. For instance: A reviewer once told me to watch my POV (point of view) when I’m writing. In my mind, I write as if a camera is floating the room. I see the book playing out in my mind like a movie and I move wherever the camera takes me. If I feel like speaking from the perspective of the roof that I’ll do. It didn’t occur to me that this surveillance comes across as very confusing to the reader. When I received this tip, I became more cautious of this and began to write so that it is clear to both myself and my readers. What I would do without that tip! Now, I make sure to keep the “camera” nice and steady. No more moving from the first person to the third person because it looks good in my head.
If you plan to Self-Publish a book you must first examine your heart. If there’s thin skin there you may want to trade it in for some course material. If you desire to become an author you have to have a certain endurance for negative attention, it comes along with the territory. I have people speak badly about me all the time and I’m not even talking about my writing! People are generally not very fond of me because while I strive to be gentle and display the same respect to all persons, I’m not going to give you deception. I have to tell you the truth or I would not be the person I am today. I would be a liar.
Be thick skinned about whatever criticism that takes place in your life whether that’s in regard to your books or whatever. Understand that everything you encounter in life is to mold and shape you into the individual you were meant to be from the very foundations of the world. It hurts, yes, but its all for the greater good. I am thankful, personally, for growing up the way I did. For knowing struggle and pain and deception and humiliation because what it has done for me is to allow me to bear the burden of whatever negative vibes come my way. Don’t like me? Great, stand in line with the rest of the people waiting for me to care. That’s not being arrogant that’s just being real. In the book publishing industry, pinch your skin first and make sure its thick enough.
(There’s a lyric to Maxwell’s song “Lifetime” I think is very interesting. As the song opens he says, “I was reborn when I was broken”. You gotta be broken down to be built up. Something to think about.)