So, you’re thinking about self-publishing your book? In fact, this is a lesson for all human beings. Be ready to make mistakes and fail a few times. Each time someone tells you they don’t like something about your writing, your book, your website, your life – it’s a punch in the guts. You can’t help feeling like you want to give up, go settle a self-sustaining farm in the country and never talk to another person again. Ever.
Sometimes the haters are right. Sometimes they’re wrong. Sometimes there’s no way of knowing – and that’s what hurts the most. How do I find out? Why does it matter? And why do I care?
Hell, I’ve probably made mistakes in this post.
The need for social reinforcement is something that’s been ingrained into our DNA since the beginning of time. Just look at what happens to your body when someone smiles at you. You get all warm inside, you smile back and you strive to do better.
So, what’s a healthy way to satisfy that urge for social reinforcement? Tell yourself the mistakes are just ways that didn’t work. Say it together with me: Mistakes are just ways that didn’t work.
Do you know who else says this? Thomas Edison.
“I haven’t failed, I’ve found 10,000 ways that don’t work”
Being a self-publisher means that you are many people at once. You’re not only the author but the marketer, designer, editor, agent and more… that’s no small feat. (Sidebar: High fives to you for having the tenacity to give it a go.) So, don’t be too hard on yourself when things don’t go the right way. It’s called learning.
Do yourself a favour. Next time you put something out there and you didn’t get the reaction you’d hoped for, think less about the need for others to tell you it’s a winner and more about what you need for it to be a winner.
Learn from it.
Strive to do better.
Recognise that you are doing the best you can and there’s always people out there who think it’s not enough but, hey, not everyone likes their work (if they’ve even written a book – it’s a lot harder than what people think). And one day, you’ll be a winner. It will happen. And when it does, be nice to the next person who’s in your old position. Remember what it’s like to fail. Lend a helping hand.