Journey to being self published and my top 5 motivators

“If there’s a book you want to read that hasn’t been written yet then you must write it.” Toni Morrison


The Journey

The fantasy of being a 'discovered' writer by one of the mega publishing houses was long over. But it took a while to get over the seductive dream. I knew about self-publishing well over 10 years ago but thought it second rate – there was a stigma of self-published authors being considered “lepers of the literary world” as one article I read expressed. The desire to be “discovered” or “accepted” was simple – validation. To have your authorship validated by 'the professionals' meant everything. There is something cringingly narcissistic about having to shout to the world that you are “good” – that you can write. Also, the shouting suggests arrogance and discredits validation since it’s self-articulated. So I wallowed for years in the misery of failure and feeling unworthy.


Reflecting: Photo Ateinda Ausarntu (Ausarntu Dizyns)

I entered short stories and poems to competitions, submitted them to magazines, sent my first novella to publishers but there were always good reasons why they were politely turned down. Sometimes no reasons just no reply! I based my submissions on what I read in the various publications and dared imagine I was good enough. When the competition lists came out declaring the winners and their entries I told myself something unfair had taken place. My heart continued to wallow. I had the feeling that my writing didn’t 'fit' anywhere. I began to believe it was me, I wasn’t good after all.Many of the self-published books I had previously seen looked terrible. I had a feeling mine would look the same. So I shunned the idea. Let me back up a bit. When I say “some of them looked terrible” I mean that their covers were hurriedly and poorly designed; either by the author or a 'friend.' Editing was atrocious, probably because the author did it themselves or got someone who wasn’t so committed or fully up to the task. The selected fonts sometimes seemed difficult to read – as though unnecessary flamboyance was behind the choice to use a weird looking one over a legible or traditionally used one.

How could I overcome my book falling into these traps?