Don’t be scared to start
So back in 2012 I finally succumbed to my urge to write, which led me to post a few pieces around cyberspace that made me a few pennies whenever somebody read them. This was where my writing ‘career’ started, as I eventually took one of the articles and expanded it into a little self-help guide on quitting smoking. Amazon had recently developed Kindle Direct Publishing as well, which was ideal, as it offered your everyday man or woman off the street a chance to put their own works before Joe Public on the world’s most important retailer. This was perfect for me and I decided to give it a go.
At this stage, I wasn’t planning or hoping to become an uber-successful author or anything, but I did want to start learning the ropes. So I thought, what better way to learn than to just finish off an actual ebook and teach myself the process of self-publishing. This, in turn, led me to Smashwords, as well as the actual processes of finishing a work, revising and editing it, formatting it to specific requirements and then uploading it to different publishing platforms. It was quite a lot to get my head around, but it was fun to create something and then send it out into the big, bad world for consumption. Scary!
The fear should not stop you
Now, I don’t really have a problem with the world looking at what I am doing and then having a good laugh about it, as it’s kind of happened to me throughout my life, so I have skin like crocodile leather when it comes to sniggers and insults. I did, however, remember to keep the following points in mind when I decided that I wanted to become successful at self-publishing my own books one day:
- Self-publishing is an awesome way for a newbie writer to do their apprenticeship in a safe and constructive environment, as at entry level it costs nothing at all, and the wealth of valuable resources available across the web is immense!
- You do not need anybody’s permission to write and publish an ebook and then make it available for sale right across the globe. It is the same as training for a running race – nobody has to approve your actions but yourself. The only gatekeepers in the publishing world exist on the traditional side of things, and that world operates on an antiquated business model. The rules of self-publishing are different and changing every year.
- It doesn’t matter if your work is initially amateurish and naive – you are here to do the business and learn the industry and necessary skills needed to advance. The more work you put it, the better results you will see, but you have to start somewhere – just like everybody else did who ever succeeded at something.
- Friends, family and critics aren’t important when it comes to validating your work – the customers on Amazon, Apple, Barnes and Noble, Createspace, Kobo and Smashwords are. Just because your dad, friends or work colleagues think you have lost the plot with your newfound ‘literary greatness’ it doesn’t mean you are doing anything wrong! The people in life who are far too sensible and cautious to follow their own dreams are the ones wasting their opportunities – not you! And don’t you forget that.
- Most of the world’s ‘great’ achievers were very often at one point in their lives abysmal failures at something or laughed into the ground by their peers. The list is far too long to reel off, but just read up on authors such as JK Rowling or Joanna Penn – look at what they went through to get to where they are today. You may not ever ‘make it’ – but you definitely won’t be anything if you let fear of failure paralyse you.
‘Ridicule is nothing to be scared of!’
– Adam Ant’s Prince Charming, but you knew that
You just never know…
It takes thought, time and effort to write something like a blog post, article or some type of book. All I can offer is to say that I don’t think you should try and work out all the end scenarios until you have actually committed to writing something in the first place. It will only put you off. Just get it written down, whatever it is! There will be a time in the future when you can revise, rewrite and polish up your work until you are happy with it. Then you can get it out there and see what it does. That can be very hard to do when you are first starting out, but just go for it anyway! Don’t be that person who wished that they could have put out some written material for somebody somewhere to read, but never ever did. You just never know where it could take you, or what it could mean to the person who may read it.