Post Revisited- Paranoia in Self-Publishing?

This is a big one that went live on February 8th, 2014.  I think I’ve figured some of it out, but don’t hold me to that.  Though re-reading it, I do seem some of my youthful naivete in there at a few points.

I had a thought yesterday that birthed a panic attack that my dear friend Ionia had to smack me out of.  I think she rather enjoyed it a bit too much and I’m still looking for my missing contact lens, which is weird since I wear glasses.  There’s also been a phone ringing for the last 24 hours.

Seriously though, take a look at what an Indie Author has to face:

  • Negative Reviews
  • Abusive Reviews
  • Abusive e-mails, FB comments, & Tweets
  • Pressure of writing another book
  • Writer’s Block
  • Marketing failures
  • Finding marketing sites
  • Bad sales days
  • No sales days
  • Amazon rankings
  • People reacting to your rankings falling as if it’s time to pack in the dreams and head for the nearest cubicle.
  • Finding time to write
  • Editing
  • Hate sites if you get that far
  • Haters if you make a wrong move
  • Illegal downloads of your book
  • Returns of your book
  • Formatting issues
  • Friends not talking to you about your book
  • Authors who that think this is a competition and work to sabotage
  • People requesting your book for review and never getting back to you, which costs you a book.

That’s just off the top of my head, but that is a long and nasty list of obstacles.  A traditionally published author might be shielded from a lot of this by a publishing company or an agent.  I don’t believe they see the daily sales and haters are easily deflected by someone else.  There’s a sense of having more shielding from such hardships when you have this benefit.  Of course, you also make less for every sale and have less control over things, so that’s the trade-off.

Sadly, Indie Authors have the fun of being naked to all of these things.  Sure, you can ignore the sales and rankings, but curiosity gets most of us.  Many of us are working other jobs and/or have families, so constant marketing and writing the next book becomes a challenge.  It feels like one obstacle after another and a truly horrific week can do a number on an Indie Author’s confidence and sanity.  That was me last week when I kept wondering what else could possibly go wrong.  By Friday, I was about ready to crawl into a corner and cry because I simply couldn’t figure out what was going wrong.  That’s another issue for many Indie Authors.  Many of us don’t know the high and low times of the book market, so it takes time to figure out if it’s slow across the board or we screwed up somewhere.  This creates a paranoia and you’ll find yourself doing some odd things:

  • Going for every expensive marketing thing you can find.
  • Swearing you’re going to quit.
  • Deleting your book then putting it back up.
  • Fighting with a negative reviewer.
  • Search the Internet for the site that ‘must be’ spreading bad words about you.
  • Voodoo dolls.
  • Taking care of the last of the Super Bowl beer.
  • Spending time with family whether they like it or not.

So, what can an Indie Author do about this?  I’m still figuring that out, but I have ideas.  Focus entirely on the next project is one idea.  Vent in private or to a friend who is willing to listen then beat you with a chair for being an idiot.  Hunt for silver linings or just watch the movie.  It really depends on your personality and stress levels.  I used to play violent video games to get my aggression out, but that’s no longer an option since my son caught me playing God of War.  A final idea that might work is to pick a small, simple project and do it.  Get yourself a victory to overshadow the obstacles and stresses, which will also remind you that you can succeed.

So, any Indie Authors get into this paranoia state?  What did you do to get out of it or avoid it completely?

About Charles Yallowitz

Charles E. Yallowitz was born, raised, and educated in New York. Then he spent a few years in Florida, realized his fear of alligators, and moved back to the Empire State. When he isn't working hard on his epic fantasy stories, Charles can be found cooking or going on whatever adventure his son has planned for the day. 'Legends of Windemere' is his first series, but it certainly won't be his last.
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27 Responses to Post Revisited- Paranoia in Self-Publishing?

  1. Although I’m not an author, as a blogger, book cover & book promo trailer maker, I can relate to many of the things you’ve listed (yep, I’ve got haters too).
    My method of dealing with them is to check if any of them offer good advice that will help me improve, ignore the more vitriolic comments and remind myself that I’m not doing any of those things in order to become rich or famous – I’m doing them for my own personal enjoyment and sense of achievement 😃

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  2. Good post, and I think most of us have all of those thoughts, including Superbowl beer. I remind myself that any chance of overnight success fled several years ago. I’m here for the long haul, and will build my readers one at a time.

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  3. noelleg44 says:

    Charles, you’ve hit the nails on their heads with this post. By the end of your list, I was feeling the paranoia. Maybe it’s because I’m old(er), but I find a lot of this just slides off me, probably because I’m having such a grand time writing and love it when someone tells me they like my books. It outweighs the negatives.

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    • Good point on experience being a factor here. Younger authors and people in general haven’t developed a resistance toward this kind of stuff. Retaining the joy and love of writing is a big tool to overcoming it.

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  4. L. Marie says:

    This post is a reality for indie and traditionally published authors too. An agent can’t shield you from bad reviews. You can see those on the internet for yourself. (Trust me, I’ve seen them.) I just read a post by an author whose blog exposes fraudulent publishers. In her post, she mentioned that someone at another publishing company went to Goodreads and gave one-star reviews to all of her books simply because she called them out about a contest.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’ve heard of that tactic from all corners of the industry. I’m guessing it’s a PR person who does the shielding. 🙂

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      • L. Marie says:

        While publicists or editors might send only the good reviews to an author, an author can’t help seeing the bad ones, especially if he or she goes to Amazon or Goodreads. I’ve seen many award-winning books blasted by people who simply want to be vindictive. Though in the long run they wind up hurting their credibility.

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      • I’d like to think at some point an author stops looking. I’ve seen that too with people on review sites. They’ll get angry about one thing the author does in their private life or hate one book and then the entire library gets shredded. Still that’s the downside to an open system. The alternative would be to police it strictly and that would lead to intense censorship.

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  5. Good one. I wasn’t feeling paranoid, but I sure am now 😀

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  6. You have certainly captured all of my feeling around self-pub. The way I deal with it is to write every day as if my mental health depends on it. (Excuse me. You, looking at me?) I don’t know of any other way. This is a lonely world, and the only defense is a self-satisfying offense. (arggg Master Copperfield I’m just a humble writer)

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  7. Even traditionally published authors go through many of the same things, except we have to worry about editors and agents instead of release dates.

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  8. Thanks for reposting this Charles. It is an eye opener. Shame that writers have to put up with all the negativity.If I don’t particularly like one author’s work, I keep it to myself and move on. No reason to sabotage a book or writer. Don’t ever let any troll put out your creative flame.

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