I’ve suffered from panic anxiety for over 40 years. That means two-thirds of my life has been consumed with fearing things that might never happen. Feeling that like death was right at my door, I got good at staying inside my comfort zone and preparing for any What If? that came up.
While I have found the courage to pursue many things, self-publishing was always that one big daunting thing. Countless What Ifs? overran my mind:
What if there were mistakes that made it past editing?
What if the cover wasn’t right for the genre?
What if the blurb wasn’t right for the story? And so on…
Those were just some of the tangible fears. I’m not even going to list the intangible ones that woke me in the middle of the night.
But, they say your dreams are just outside your comfort zone.
So, with the help of beta readers and YouTube, and a lot of supportive friends I hit "publish" on my first book on May 31, 2019. The eBook was published a few days later.
All seemed well. Books were being bought. Comments were positive. Then…
A close family member called and said, while she enjoyed the book, she found eight errors.
My heart sunk. EIGHT errors? My number one fear had come true.
Then, comments came in that while the cover was great, it didn’t fit the genre. And the blurb was more of a summary, not a true blurb. Sigh. Fears number two and three were realized.
After running from my What Ifs? for most of my life, everything I feared was now visible to the universe via the Internet.
But this time, instead of running, I realized these mistakes didn’t kill me. They might have stung a bit, but I was still alive and able to make things right.
First, I fixed the errors and uploaded new manuscripts for the print and eBook versions. That wasn’t so bad.
Next, I took my first month’s royalty payment and hired a cover designer who created a genre-specific cover.
Then, I posted my blurb on a Facebook group that gives feedback on covers and blurbs and listened to all of their suggestions. After revising it for what seemed hundreds of times, I finally came up with a genre-specific blurb and a hook, that satisfied everyone.
Two weeks ago, I uploaded a revised manuscript crediting the new cover designer. I uploaded the new covers and then waited… and waited… and waited for everything to sync up on Amazon. (Patience is needed at this point because it takes about a week for the interior and the exterior to match what I uploaded.)
In the meantime, I reformatted my manuscript into other mobile device formats to upload on different sites. Of course, my fear of What If? came back to visit.
And, a few days later, one BIG What If? happened—one I’d never even thought of:
The manuscript I uploaded had the print book ISBN number (can’t do that with an eBook, as it has a different number). I realized it AFTER the manuscripts had been uploaded to several booksellers. (Cue the panic)
But, I stayed calm and learned how to delete the manuscript and upload the correct one—it only took five minutes! All was well in my publishing world again.
Looking back over the last four months since I launched my first book, I’ve made pretty much all the mistakes (and then some) that a newbie indie-publisher could make. But, in retrospect, every one of them was fixable. They didn’t kill me. They actually strengthened me.
And when it comes time to publish my next book, I’ll be prepared. Most likely, mistakes will happen.
And, they will be fixed.
And it will be okay.
Check out my new cover and blub here.