Impostor syndrome, writers and self-publishing our fiction

visit http://jewelallen.blogspot.com to learn more about this talented writer and her new book

visit http://jewelallen.blogspot.com to learn more about this talented writer and her new book

Last night my husband and I discussed Impostor Syndrome. I’m afraid I’ve got a case of it. I can never read my published work and not feel like somehow, some way, I could have done better.

Imagine my delight when I came across this paragraph in the blog post of one of my local writing friends, the talented Jewel Allen:

Having taken a leave of absence from the Tooele Transcript Bulletin, I’d missed writing articles. I also felt a little rusty. My confidence was shaky as I started with a blank page. Could I do this again?  But, like other deadline-driven times, I typed in my byline, and threw down the words like clay on a pottery wheel, shaped and molded them, shaped and molded them some more, threw out a chunk, put it back in, threw out more chunks, until I was satisfied. Even after I hit send and the editor complimented me on a “terrific and well-written story,” the perfectionist in me came up with a couple more ways to switch the paragraphs around.

Me! That’s me! I do that all the time!

It’s why I have a hard time promoting my own work. I can hardly stand to look at it once it’s actually published. I think I might be my own worst critic, and I’m working hard to develop a thicker skin where I’m concerned.

Here’s an example: During the free promo of The Night Ones last week, 237 copies were downloaded. My book shot up to the top ten in one Amazon category for free books and to the top 100 in another. Even now (two days after the promo ended), my book is still in the top 100 for its category for paid books, which isn’t something I expected. I’m delighted to see that, but I still wonder–why? Do people really like my book that much?

I’m pleased, but it makes me feel shy. What if, now that they have my book, they decide they don’t like it? Was it really ready to be re-released?

Deep down, I know the only answer is yes.  Whether I really agree with myself or not, I have to cut my teeth sometime, and the sooner I do, the sooner I can start working on all the other projects that spin around so happily in my mind.

Jewel Allen currently has three upcoming booksBlemish, The Spanish Exile, and Ghost Moon Night. Guess what she has to say about this subject as she prepares for the October launch of Ghost Moon Night?

Maybe I have the mentality of a journalist and memoir publisher, but sometimes, your work isn’t the best it can be no matter how much you’ve edited it. I’ve submitted pieces before where I flubbed majorly on details, or left out information, and, guess what? Life still goes on. You will always find something wrong with your story, or have a better way of phrasing.

I’m not saying I shouldn’t get GHOST MOON NIGHT to the best shape it can possibly be. And novels do have a bit more shelf life than a news article. But, there has to be a balance.

It’s a comfort to read words like this–especially now, when I’m writing the sequel to The Night Ones. I’ve discovered I struggle more with myself than I do with the details of writing. Sometime I’ve just got to get over myself and let my books fly or fall on their own.

That means not worrying about whether my writing is good or not while I’m working on the first draft. It also means not concerning myself so much about what other people think of my fiction when I self-publish it or send a query off to a traditional publisher.

Meanwhile, there’s still journalism to fret over–and I’m so glad I’m  not the only one who rethinks her entire articles every time she submits one. Thanks, Jewel Allen, for making me smile today! I’m looking forward to Ghost Moon Night!

Oh! One more thing before I publish this post–this is the last week to e-mail me to let me know you’ve reviewed The Night Ones on Amazon if you want to be entered in the $25 Amazon gift card drawing/contest thing.

 

 

 

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4 Comments to “Impostor syndrome, writers and self-publishing our fiction”

  1. I’m so with you on this. I would imagine we could form a very large club.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I think I’ve just hit a point where I’ve become numb to the fear. I get nervous whenever I do a release, but I go about my business right after. Maybe it comes from taking a lot of shots over the last year and a half. I figure I can’t please everyone and being a perfectionist just gives me a headache.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Everyone I’ve talked to lately says you have to be really tough to be a writer who can market books, too. I think that’s one of your strong points.

    Like

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