Writing – Self-Publishing and Self-Doubt

I suffer from writing self-doubt.  In fact, I just googled, ‘self-doubt’ to make sure I spelled it right, was using the right word and confirm that it is hyphenated.

At the moment, I’m not so sure that is post I should be writing or if anyone will like it. 

But, bravely on!

I started this blog in April 2011 and soon will have been at this blogging thing for eight years.  The original concept was to write a series of essays about Jesus’ actions during Easter week.  I was going to write one a day and gave this blog the name, “Andrew’s View of the Week.”  I didn’t finish those essays and never bothered to rename this blog.  At one point I thought of doing a kind of weekly wrap up of my reactions to the news of the week.

But that felt a bit too whiny so I never did it.

Then there was this whole cancer thing that happened to me and my transformation into poet rather than a prose writer.  I think I write the personal essay just fine, but have connected more with poetry than I ever thought possible.  Part of me thinks that something in the radiation treatment rewired my brain – closed a few circuits and opened others.

Weird.

During treatment I used this blog to write about what I was going through and then decided that the discipline of writing every week was good for my creativity and my goal of “being a writer.”  I’m still not exactly sure what that means, and these days I’m more likely to introduce myself as a poet than a writer.

It does bother my boss when I go to a meeting at work and introduce myself as a poet instead of an engineer.  The expectations of some people…

The first time I noticed a tendency towards poetry was when I thought it would be a good idea to write a book about my prostate cancer.  I tried writing as prose – as personal, poignant essays, but instead of my normally good essay it all came out as poetry.

Actually some of it is good – note the near lack of self-doubt in that statement.

As I wrote about me, memories of my mother’s pancreatic cancer surfaced and my poems started including her.  In the end I wrote a collection of poems about both experiences.  It was a lot of work and consumed my writing for a time.

I had thought about publishing it, but – well that whole self-doubt thing: Is it good enough, will people like it, would anyone buy it?

Well, I did decide to push on and self-publish the book for family, friends and the few blog followers who might want to read it.  My wife, Heather agreed to helped with it. She’s an accomplished visual artist (oils, water colors, fabric) and a retired graphic designer.  Her career was in printing and production art. She agreed to do some work for my book, doing a few illustrations, the cover, laying out the book, and preparing the files needed for production.

At first I thought I’d just format the whole thing for publication through Amazon.  You can learn how to do that, but it takes time and can be confusing on what to do.  Between work and not wanted to give up time to write new stuff, I never made much progress with that.

Instead going direct to Amazon, I’ve decided to hire out part of the process.  There is a local company who does self-publishing for authors (still working on contracts with them so I won’t name them at the moment).  They started years ago when they did everything including the printing.  Today they’ve adapted to the digital world and help authors with details of self-publishing.

They’ll take my book, Heather’s files, and do the work of setting up for printing, uploading, managing my Amazon account, and all the little things I just don’t have time or interest in.  What I’ll end up with is a physical book I can sell, a listing in their catalog and, of course, an Amazon URL I can send to everyone who wants to buy.

I have to do my own marketing and worrying about if this is a good idea or not.

Perhaps the hardest part of the process today is just keeping moving on a project that could fail and one that, at times, I feel could be improved.  I reread the poems and alternate between liking them and wanting to rewrite them.  Part of my inner critic wants to polish more and doesn’t think this is good enough.

But, it’s time.

The book is titled, There was a Time – poems, musings, and thoughts of experiencing cancer, Illustrations by Heather and all writing mistakes by me.  It is the poetic reflections of my cancer treatment and my reactions to watching my mother die.  It’s an emotional journey.

And it’s time for it to leave my desk and find whatever readers it can.

I’ll post the cover in a few weeks and hopefully it will be for sale by the end of April.

Until then, I’ll be bravely hiding under my desk wonder why I am doing this.

Andrew

About Andrew Reynolds

Born in California Did the school thing studying electronics, computers, release engineering and literary criticism. I work in the high tech world doing software release engineering Then I got prostate cancer Now I am a blogger and work in my wood shop doing scroll saw work and marquetry.
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77 Responses to Writing – Self-Publishing and Self-Doubt

  1. I often would like to hide under my bed so can therefore relate to this! Well done a hundred times over. Katie

    Liked by 1 person

  2. dalenflynn says:

    I don’t think this process is easy for any writer, more so debut self-publishers. Always take the plunge, even the worst-case scenario doesn’t pan out too badly

    Liked by 2 people

  3. I resonate with this so much. I found myself agreeing with almost every point you made. Wonderful! Good luck to you.

    Liked by 3 people

  4. my852life says:

    Congratulations on going through the publishings process!

    Liked by 3 people

  5. CJ Hartwell says:

    I’m seriously excited for you! Well done, and you can come out from under the desk now. You’re among friends. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  6. G. J. Jolly says:

    This is exciting, Andrew! Let me know how much your book is. I’ll start saving up. [Money is a little tight because of health issues right now.]

    I’m a self-doubter too. You are definitely not alone there. I have a severe case of it and there’s not much I can do about it except keep pushing the boulders out of the way.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Congratulations. This is no easy road. I wish you every success. Blessings always.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Debra says:

    I honestly don’t know who lives without self-doubt. Well, I can name a few people, and they aren’t people I enjoy. I am very eager to read your poetry, Andrew. I wonder if poetry takes on new meaning as we get older. I certainly have a new appreciation and I’m very interested. I hope you’ll just continue to write! I think you share from a deep place, and I find what you have to say meaningful. Even your Friday Wisdom! LOL! Good news about a publication date!

    Liked by 2 people

  9. Flo jo says:

    This sounds fascinating, Andrew. I would buy several copies. Whose family has not been touched by cancer?
    If you haven’t already, become good friends with your local librarian. She can buy a book for the library and host an author’s night for you. Sneak some onto the oncology wing of the local hospital. Have a selling period where a percentage of sales goes to the local cancer unit. Read a book on marketing ideas. Looking forward to the book!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Yes, it seems to touch everyone. I don’t expect to sell a lot of these. My marketing plan so far is through this blog and with personal appearances. There is a poetry group at the local library who might let me read for them, and number of other places I hope I can talk into letting me do a presentation and have copies for sale. I do have a few places and people I plan to give the book to as part of marketing.

      Like

  10. I’m sure it will find an audience. The ‘C’ word is such a dark demon and it lurks, I am sure, in a corner of everyone’s thoughts. So many things to so many people, I’m sure your book will do well. Best of luck!

    Liked by 3 people

  11. Sending you good thoughts for launching your book into the world of receptive readers.

    Liked by 2 people

  12. Nancy Ruegg says:

    Self-doubt must plague most of us–even seasoned writers like Anne Lamott. (If you haven’t read Bird by Bird, give it a try. You’ll be nodding your head in agreement with her–a lot.) Kudos to you, Andrew, for pressing on, and getting your book out there! I, too, am working toward self-publishing with outside help, and still find the process daunting. Must keep reminding myself: The paths God puts us on always have purpose; he will see us through.

    Liked by 3 people

  13. Love this! Good for you getting those poems published. I also lost my mother to cancer, as well as my father and one of my sisters. I look forward to reading your book.

    I can so relate to your story. I started my blog in Sept. 2009 with mostly essays. Never thought of myself as a poet. Now, 75% or more of my posts are poems. I’ve self-published two books of poetry. The first is titled “Light in My Darkness: Poems of Hope for the Brokenhearted” and is about my journey through depression. The other is a book of holiday poetry. You can read more about both on my blog if you are interested.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Lucia says:

    To write your own book is a roller coaster of emotions. And as you say, you cannot know for sure where it will ends, I believe that your book will be inspiring and beautiful.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Andrew, I love the honesty in this – especially the opening. Yes, it is sometimes hard even to get past the title! The title page of my blog has a typo in it that I was in a panic to fix when someone finally pointed it out, but now I’m putting it off until I can post my thoughts about the ways God humbles us. (That typo will be “Exibit A.”)
    Keep being honest. It connects you to your readers like no level of skill can, although you do have that way with words, too. Blessings! – Annie

    Liked by 1 person

  16. schoen55 says:

    I just published my book Surviving Medical Mayhem – Laughing When It Hurts and I share so many of the feelings your expressed in this post. Thank you for you made me realized I am not alone. The marketing end can be overwhelming, but you have a great “way with words” so rest assured God has led you to this place for His purpose. Press on. I can’t wait till it comes out. I would like to read it. Blessings.

    Liked by 1 person

  17. I pray the Lord blesses every step of the way! I published my first ever book (One Man’s Very Strange Supernatural Life) on Amazon in March 2018. It is my testimony of the supernatural way I came to know Jesus and the supernatural events that happened after I accepted Christ. Amazon is a great way to do it! I know the Lord will use your book for His glory and it will be a blessing to all who read it! God bless!

    Liked by 1 person

  18. mitchteemley says:

    Reblogged this on Mitch Teemley and commented:
    My Featured Blogger this week is Andrew Reynolds, who blogs under the title (and sometimes above it) of Andrew’s View of the Week. Andrew, whose stated goal is to become an “unsuccessful blogger,” writes bluntly, insightfully, and often wittily, about hard stuff (woodworking, his experience with cancer); about faith; about issues that concern him; about whimsical things (his quips are hilarious); and about hope (his poetry is frequently quite profound).

    So get over to Andrew’s View of Week and destroy his fast-failing goal of becoming an unsuccessful blogger.

    Liked by 1 person

  19. I can commiserate with you. For years now, I’ve been wanting to publish a devotional book with excerpts taken from some of my blog posts but….time to do it has eluded me. And not just that, that self-doubt thing looms large. In my corner of doubt, I ask myself why anyone would actually want to PURCHASE my writing. Alas, I think it’s a trait a lot of we writers have. I admire your guts and bravery to put yourself out there, Andrew.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Time is the biggest problem. I’ve lost track of the number of hours I spent writing, editing, getting feedback, working with Heather on illustrations, etc. One thing I found was that effort itself was worth time. I learned so much through that process that even if I don’t sell a single copy it will have been worth it.

      Liked by 1 person

  20. I look forward to placing my order! I love your style and insights.

    Liked by 1 person

  21. Think self-doubt is part of having a creative soul, we’re our own worst critics. 🙂 A big Congratulations! to you on all you’ve done, it is an amazing accomplishment to create a book!!

    Liked by 1 person

  22. kritsayvonne says:

    Well done for getting this far. I’m sure your book will be an inspiration to people facing similar life changing events. X

    Liked by 1 person

  23. dorannrule says:

    Along with your grand sense of humor Andrew,there is a poetic soul. I somehow know your book will succeed by connecting with those who need.

    Liked by 1 person

  24. Congratulations on moving forward with your project! “Forward” is always scarier than the status quo, and publishing that first book is both exhilarating and terrifying; but you’ll be glad you did it.
    (When it’s done. Meanwhile, it’s nice and safe under your desk.) Thanks for my chuckle of the day at “bravely hiding under my desk wondering why I am doing this”!

    Liked by 1 person

  25. We can’t control the ending to our life’s story, but we can start the beginning at any time. Good luck with your book and your physical recovery.
    Ω

    Liked by 1 person

  26. Margy says:

    Congrats on, well, everything!
    After many years of blogging, I’ve learned these lessons: 1.Perfection is impossible and not even advisable. 2. When you write for an audience of one – yourself – then self-doubt disappears. 3. Failure isn’t possible if you love what you do.

    Liked by 1 person

  27. Andrew, your journey is so like many other writers. We start, worry, self-doubt, stop, give up and start over. I nodded my way through your post (except for the cancer–so glad that seems to be in remission). I’m looking forward to seeing–and reading–your book.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m one of the lucky ones on the cancer front – so many others had it worse than me. I’ve followed your publishing journey and it’s inspired me to keep pushing on. I’m not sure on the timing of publication. We still have some back and forth on the layout, back cover copy, and a few other details. I’m hoping to be up on Amazon and have copies in hand by the end of March. Scary …

      Like

  28. Without doubt, there is no faith. I’m sure that’s as helpful to you as it is to me. Grrr…

    Press on, Andrew!

    Liked by 1 person

  29. jfwknifton says:

    I’ve self published three books through http://www.lulu.com and I’m really glad I did it. I write about local things so no national publishing company will ever show any interest in me. But lots of local people have enjoyed reading about their city and the school they went to. I was helped hugely by my daughter who had time on her hands while she applied for jobs. One final point, as far as I can tell, is that lulu were willing to give me much bigger royalties than amazon.
    Overall though, I would tell you to give it a go. Don’t worry about whether something is good enough or not, because that process can last for ever. Good luck!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I didn’t mention royalties, or selling, but one of the reasons I picked this local company is that they do the printing and I have a lot more control over price. This also means that I can order copies of the book at cost that I can sell directly to readers. Poet books like this are often sold at poetry reading, so this lets me have 20 or so copies on hand that I can sell directly to readers.

      Like

  30. Annika Perry says:

    Andrew, many of us can identify with hiding under a desk … at times it feels like a bit crazy but something within one compels to write and publish! It takes guts and determination. Good idea about having it professionally formatted, such an important aspect and even harder with illustrations! I love how you and Heather are combining your skills for this project. Best of luck and look forward to reading more about it in the coming months … as you appear from your desk! 😀😀

    Liked by 1 person

    • I suspect that there are a lot of us under the desk. We poets can be particular about how the poems are formatted and I’m enough of a visual artist to appreciate a good layout. I didn’t feel that I could achieve what I wanted by a total DIY job so I’m asking for help and spending a few dollars to get the look I want.

      Liked by 1 person

  31. pommepal says:

    I admire your perseverance. A huge achievement to finally have it in print. Well done

    Liked by 1 person

  32. floridaborne says:

    It’s a journey and there are a lot of mistakes along the way. Whether you sell no books or are on the best seller list, write because you have to write, publish so that what you write will not die on your computer or be thrown away when your family is tired of going through your things. That’s how you get through it.

    Liked by 3 people

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