Self-publishing is for quitters.
That’s why I’m glad I’m doing it. I’m a big quitty quitter.
It’s true. Any time the going gets tough, all I want to do is curl up under the covers and stay there until everyone, myself included, forgets that I ever wanted anything to do with writing, that I ever wrote a single book, that I ever cared. At all.
It’s pathetic, too. The fact that my default reaction to writing disappointment – whether it’s query rejection, manuscript drawering, contest loss, submission passes, what have you – is to quit? Gross.
I’m lucky that my friends put up with me. Honestly, the only reason I didn’t follow through with quitting out of shame for saying I was going to quit? Is because my right-hand critique partner and bestie Jamie was so freaking patient with me. “Quit if you want to,” she said. “It’s okay to be upset.”
Translation: This is just a temper tantrum, we all know you’re not actually going to quit, but I’m nice enough to still be your friend when you’re done crying and throwing things.
But no one’s friends put up with that nonsense more than a few times. To be honest, I was getting sick of myself whining.
When I decided to self-publish, I cried. Jamie was there with me in person that night, as well as Andrea, Megan, and Erica. I found out that selling 20 copies the first month was actually considered a success, and I cried for all the expectations of reaching a lot of readers that were going down the drain.
Jamie rubbed my back and let me snot on her shirt and she and all my friends told me they would be there to encourage me as 20 copies grew to 100 the next month, and then 400, and she’d even be there to say “I told you so” when I made my money back, and maybe even came out with a profit.
So I decided to go for it. Through the tears, through the temper tantrum, because even though I’m a quitter, I couldn’t let that promise, that love, go to waste.
In January, after the last of the passes from big editors, I bit the bullet – hard. I contacted my amazing cover designer and reserved a spot for ONE on her schedule. The booking required a 50% down payment – a pretty big chunk of change. I paid it, and I was officially in. No way I could quit now.
The moments were there, after that – moments where people talked trash about self-publishing, moments where I second-guessed that there was anything read-able or lovable about my book, moments where I was so exhausted that I had no idea how I was going to do it all.
But as those moments accumulated, so, too, did the investments – both mine and those of my friends. I commissioned original art. I booked a copyeditor. Jamie started on line edits. I picked up an incredible assistant, and people joined my street team. My friends volunteered their blogs and their original skills and promo space in the backs of their books. I hired a publicist. I sent out ARCs, which a friend spent hours formatting for free.
As I write this post, almost one hundred people have spent significant time and energy helping my book become what it will be – either in development, promotion, or reading for review.
Do I ever think about quitting? Yep. Every single day.
I worry that I’m not up to par, that my book sucks, that this whole operation is the biggest con anyone’s bothered to pull off on any number of people. That voice that tells me there’s a reason ONE didn’t get picked up for traditional publication hisses in my ear, telling me that I’m a POSER.
Telling me to quit.
But you know what crowds it out? Every single dollar I’ve put in, of course, but most of all every single person who has given time and energy that they probably don’t really have to this project, for one reason, and one reason only – they believe it can succeed.
And if they do, well, I’m just going to have to do my best to believe it too.