The 5 stages of self-publishing

This book is going to happen. I’ve approved the final proof, and more importantly, I’ve entered the last psychological stage of self-publishing.

Some might claim self-publishing is nothing but grief. I wouldn’t go that far, though it does bring its fair share of grief with it. Looking back over the years it’s taken me to produce A Housefly in Autumn, I realize I’ve gone through at least five stages self-publishing. If you are familiar with self-publishing, you may recognize some of these emotions.


This thing will never come together. You’ve rewritten it over and over, and it’s still not right. You don’t know why you spend so much time on this project. If you ever get a decent book out of it, it won’t be worth all this aggravation. Maybe you should just start something else. But what? You’ll just work on this until you come up with an idea for something totally kickass that writes itself.


Why do you have to have this compulsion to write? Why couldn’t you have been a painter? Then, you’d just paint a picture and be done with it. Now, you’ve got to locate beta readers, editors, a cover artist, and God knows who else. Too bad writing doesn’t involve more writing and less coordinating. If you wanted to run a business, you’d open a coffee shop.


Okay, you may not agree with all the beta readers’ criticisms, but you have to address them. They are representative readers and you can’t afford to ignore their suggestions. You’ll address their concerns, but only to the point that it doesn’t turn the story into something you don’t mean it to be. It should appeal the greatest possible number of readers, but it still has to be the story you want to tell.

Depression (mostly simple anxiety)

This is getting to the point of no return. It’s a new genre for you. You wonder if you did it right. Does it even fit into a genre? Have you come up between genres? Is the tone right? Are the characters likeable enough? Are they too likeable? Do they need a harder edge? Is the writing style universal enough? Is there enough emotion? Is the emotion over the top? Too many commas?


It’s done. Some will like it; some won’t. You could toil over it for 20 more years and it would still be the same: some will like it; some won’t. There’s no point in worrying anymore. You wanted to be a writer didn’t you? This will give you a good chance to see how that whole thing is working out for you. If you want to be a success, you’ve got to take the risk and put yourself out there. If worst comes to worst, with all your self-publishing experience, you could probably open a coffee shop.


Author anxiety

“Don’t worry about it, James. You put lots of unnecessary words into the novel, didn’t you? Then I’m sure people will love The Back Woods Guy who Couldn’t Resist Giving Long-winded Speeches to the Last of the Mohicans.”

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