One of my favorite songs is Change Your Mind, by Witch Hazel. Those familiar with the tune know how amazing the lyrics are:
“If you wanna be somebody else; if you’re tired of fighting battles with yourself; if you wanna be somebody else … change your mind.”
Sounds so easy and yet, is SO HARD.
My mindset is one of the biggest reasons why I haven’t been following through with my writing goals and why I haven’t jumped into self-publishing. Fear, doubt, procrastination, years of undiagnosed ADHD, resistance, and other mental demons have played a huge role, but my mindset is the biggest.
I just don’t see myself as a successful indie author.
Shit. I have a hard enough time seeing myself as a writer.
For so long, writing has felt like a hobby, a task that’s constantly put aside due to my ongoing quest to complete to-do lists. Plus, self-publishing seems SO overwhelming, between the writing and editing and cover design and formatting and uploading and promoting.
It just seems so tiring.
Every decision will fall on my shoulders. Whether or not to go wide, whether to use a pseudonym. Do I create an LLC? How much should I charge for each novel? Which editing service should I use? Who will do my cover art? Should I enroll in Kindle Unlimited? The list goes on and on and on.
This is one reason why I did enjoy being traditionally published with my novels, Beauty Shop for Rent and Just Flirt. I had an agent who decided whether or not a manuscript was good enough to submit and they handled contract negotiations. I had an editor and a copyeditor to help my polish my novels. I didn’t have to deal with ISBN’s or formatting, and there was a team of professional graphic artists to design my cover, making it so much easier for them to make all of the decisions, to let them handle the tough choices.
Do I really want to self-publish and be responsible for ALL of my own choices? Or should I pursue traditional publishing instead?
My immediate answer to traditional publishing is … God, no, the thought of going through years of submitting to editors and waiting months only to gather rejections makes me even more exhausted than cover design, but this brings on yet another worry:
Is my writing good enough?
As frustrating as the traditional publishing process can be, having gatekeepers did help me accomplish one thing:
They made me a better writer.
The mountain of rejections I had received for older manuscripts taught me the hard lesson of when a story simply isn’t good enough for the market, however painful. It also taught me that the discarded novel wasn’t a waste of time … it was a valuable steppingstone that led me to writing stronger manuscripts that were worthy of publication.
So how will I know if my current manuscript is good without the dreaded gatekeepers?
Because God knows I have very lack of faith in deciding that for myself. Those who have already self-published know the answer: Hire your own damn editor. Use beta readers. Have critique partners. All of which seems impossible because …
I have a worker bee mindset.
My resistance to decision-making and lack of faith is something I need to … no, I MUST change if I’m serious about a career as a self-published author. This was made crystal clear to me by Sarra Cannon in the first lesson of her Publish & Thrive course, Module 1. (Affiliate link.)
“Worker bees are scared to take risks; they’re waiting for someone else to come and make that decision for them. But as the boss of your career, you are the one who has to make that decision.” ~ Sarra Cannon
Yep, that’s me, faithful worker bee who’s envious of all the other self-publishing queen bees out there! I need to start trusting my skill as a writer. I mean, after all, I was published by two major publishing houses. And yeah, sure, that was years ago, but it still means something!
And how can I believe the process will be too hard if I’ve never tried it?
I haven’t even finished the entire Publish & Thrive course, for God’s sake, or the Self Publishing Formula 101 course that I bought way back in 2018. How can I knock the process if I don’t know what it is?
Okay, so how do I change my mindset?
How do I become a Queen Bee?
(And by that, I mean the nice, kickass, self-publishing machine kind of queen bee, now the snobby, cruel, Queen Bee of the Wannabes type.)
I need to remember my vision.
My goal isn’t to have a hardback novel on a bookshelf at Barnes & Noble with a best-seller sticker on the front … although I won’t exactly turn down the chance. I want to write sweet novels about charismatic characters in charming settings who are changing their life for the better. [Queue the writer, reinvention theme.] I want to go to my Amazon account and see a row of endearing covers for the two series I’m planning, (three if I count one that will be under a pseudonym.)
They will not be Pulitzer worthy, but they will be lovely.
And I will do my best to make sure they are well-written and edited by professionals, however scary that process seems right now.
I need to realize I will make mistakes.
Lots and lots of mistakes. More mistakes than I can count.
That is inevitable and beyond my control. Who’s to say that my past traditional publishers didn’t make mistakes of their own? And here’s the beauty of self-publishing: I can change things. If a cover doesn’t perform well, I can have a different one made. If Kindle Unlimited isn’t working, I can unenroll. If a book flops, well, it flops.
Lord knows my second trad-published novel didn’t set the world on fire.
And here’s the thing about indecision: It’s exhausting.
“Nothing is so exhausting as indecision, and nothing is so futile.” ~ Bertrand Russell
I need to just JUMP.
Fail or succeed, I am ready to take the plunge once more.
Now. What about you, are you at the beginning of your self-publishing, author reinvention journey as well? Awesome, tell me about yourself in the comments below, subscribe for my newsletter, and LET’S DO THIS!
Thanks for reading, take care, and happy writing!