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Don’t Let Self-Doubt Keep You from Publishing

Last week, I did a blog post with my take on the pros and cons of self-publishing. This came from asking writers what their goal was for their writing as well as reading posts and comments in the various Facebook writing groups I belong to.

As I was sifting through them, another topic that was raised many times was how someone could get past the self-doubt and actually publish their work. People had all kinds of responses.

Some said just do it, even if you’re not sure it’s ready. While others ticked down a checklist to be sure you’re ready: beta readers, developmental editing, proofreading.

But the fears and self-doubts that hold someone back from publishing their book aren’t easily remedied by someone else saying “just do it,” or giving them a checklist. Which is why I don’t have a quick or easy response. But I did want to start the conversation to see what others have done to conquer this fear and press publish (or query for an agent for trad publishing).

My Experience Self Publishing

I can offer my own experience, though. I self-published my first book in 2012, it was a nonfiction book to help fitness professionals market their business online and offline. I didn’t hesitate to publish it or to use my real name because it was an area I had knowledge and expertise in.

Over the next few years I published several other nonfiction business books using my real name for the same reason as before.

When I started writing fiction in 2017, however, it was a different story. Publishing nonfiction books which contained facts was one thing. But putting my internal thoughts, emotions, and personal ideas out into the world? Well that was something else entirely. It felt risky and scary. And like I was totally exposed.

But I really wanted to get my stories out there, so I created a pen name for those first novellas and didn’t tell anyone outside of my family what it was. I even had social media accounts and an email address for her.

After exploring women’s fiction and sweet romance with that pen name, I decided I wanted to write a cozy mystery series. But I still wasn’t ready to tell people it was me, so I chose another pen name so as not to upset the Zon’s algorithm.

For some reason, I started to feel comfortable sharing that I was behind the cozy mystery series, although in a very limited way, mentioning it occasionally on social media under my own name and talking about it on podcast interviews. Maybe because the topics and characters weren’t as personal to me as the women’s fiction and romance stories.

Publishing the Right Way for You

Which I guess is a long way to say I do have a response after all :)

The world needs more voices and more stories – including yours! So do whatever you need to do to feel comfortable publishing your work because someone, somewhere may need to hear exactly what you have to say. Don’t deprive them of it.