Self-Doubt vs. Evaluation

One of my #Row80 goals for this round is to prepare my WIP for self-publication. Part of that goal was to participate in a manuscript swap before it goes to the editor. The swap (?) mentioned several flaws that I had not noticed before. Structural flaws with the plot and characters. It wasn’t all bad, there were positive points as well. But let’s be real, it’s the negative ones that sends us to the freezer for Blue Bell.




I spent the rest of the day and night, thinking about these flaws and wondering if I should put off publishing. Is it self-doubt or healthy evaluation?


According to the dictionary:

Self-doubt- a lack of confidence

evaluation – assessment, judging the value of something

Hmmmmm. My WIP is the first full length novel I have written. That in itself is probably reason to bury it in the bottom drawer. I would be lying if I said I wasn’t emotionally attached to this book. I am and I know it. I also know there are some great characters and scenes. I’m not blind to the flaws.

The thing about self-publishing is, anyone can publish anything. It’s cheap and easy. You want to publish your manifesto, you can. It doesn’t mean you should. This is true of all writers not just the self-published.

My goal as an indie author is to publish the best work I can.  Edit the crap out of it and have other people critique it and edit again. And again. Repeat as often as necessary. The hard part is knowing when it’s ready. Not everyone will like what we write, that’s OK.

Do I have cold feet about publishing a novel?  Possibly. It’s a huge investment hiring an editor and cover artist. I have to know the book is ready. And after this critique I’m not sure.  I have too many questions of my own. In honesty, that’s not new. I’ve made a lot of changes to that book. The best course of action, at the moment, is to set the book aside and let it rest. All I have done since NaNoWriMo is critique and edit. I’m going to work on writing something new. Something I’ve been wanting to write for a while.  I think a change in activity is what I need.

I’m not putting off self-publishing for long. I have two short stories in the pipeline. I need time to make important decisions about my WIP.

How do you know when it’s ready for publication?


2016 Goals

Christmas break is almost over, school starts tomorrow. Yippee! The kids aren’t quiet as excited about that as I am. I’ve had very little time to dedicate to writing, but I’ve thought about my goals and how I want to attack them.

My overall yearly goals:

1. self-publish my first mystery novel
2. read more
3. get healthy
4. build a newsletter
I love #3. Can’t wait to see how long that one lasts! I’ve taken those four and adjusted them for Row80. Be sure to click here to read other blogs participating in Row80. Leave a word of encouragement.

Row80 Round 1 Goals

-Participate in the weekly Health/Fitness Challenge at church. It runs from Jan. 6- Feb. 28. I regretted signing up for this about 5 minutes after. I must attend each class and exercise. Yuk!
-Read 4 books a month, roughly 1 book a week. I’m doing the Mother-Daughter Reading Challenge with my girls. A book a week isn’t much, but it allows extra time for crazy weeks when nothing gets done.
-Edit book 2 in my mystery series. This is a holdover from December. I have a huge stack of things that need to be edited. Sigh. The only way I can see to do this is to assign days to edit. Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday are edit days.
-Work on self-publishing Book 1. This round that means- participate in a manuscript swap and send MS to editor. I’ve just received the manuscript I need to read. Every time I think of sending mine to the editor I get queasy. I’m not used to spending that kind of money on myself. It’s a bit terrifying. My target date for publication is August 1. Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday are days I work on this.
-Institute Meatless Monday. The slamming door you hear is my oldest threatening to move to grandma’s house. She’s a full carnivore and hates vegetables. I may have to do a mostly meatless. I don’t want her to starve to death.
-Keep up with the local Critique Group. I’ve had online critiques, this is the first “live” critique group I’ve been involved with. I now know why it’s so important. Nothing beats having eight separate pair of eyes. Of course that means I have eight critiques to return.
-At some point I need to write a story I’ve plotted. I have two waiting in the wings and I want to work on them before the fire is gone. May have to see how the above goes and tweak the schedule a bit.

Edit/publish Mystic Brew. This just finished critique group. I hope to have this ready by March 1. It’s a dark short story. Very different from what I have previously published. Full of twists and turns.

Wow. It always feels overwhelming when I write the goals up. I have to remind myself that it just takes a little time each day to accomplish. I have to show up and work every day. I’m easily distracted, so I need to make a list daily and stay focused.



For those of you that were in the last Round of Row80, you may remember we were working on a room for my oldest. I’m happy to say, it’s finished. We moved her in two days after Christmas and she’s been rearranging it daily.


It’s hard to see in the photo, but she has assembled a Lego army of mini-figures to take over the world!

What are your goals for round 1?


Self-Publish…or Not?

(Dream sequence- play lyrical music)

I write an amazing novel.  I query agents.  The top New York agent asks to read it.  They fall in love with it and beg me to allow them to be my agent.  I agree.  I few weeks pass.  My agent calls with great news, she has found a publisher and is mailing the contract.  Shock and surprise, tears of joy.  A few short weeks later I trek to the local book store to see my book on an actual shelf.

(Reality- play 80’s music)

What is the reality?  I write.  I edit.  I submit and collect rejection letters as a hobby.  I just, like 10 minutes ago, read a post by Hugh Howey      on using self-publishing to jump start your writing career.  It was very interesting.  To be honest I haven’t really thought about going the self-published route.  Why?  Because I know nothing about it and it scares me.  There I said.  But there’s more.

Concerns about self-publishing:
(Those with a heart condition or weak stomach turn away.)

  1. I think I’m awesome. I have a healthy dose of self confidence.  Some may say too much.  That’s fine while I’m at home dancing around like it’s Dancing with the Stars.  No one needs to see that.  Trust me.
  2. Am I really ready.  Or rather, is my WIP ready?  After the revising and editing is it really ready.  I know you have to stop at some point and release it into the wild.  Doing so without the backing of a publishing house, saying the book is ready, is scarey.  It’s like walking out of the house naked.
  3. I am awesome, but not perfect. So few of us are truly perfect. I have weaknesses, I admit that.  There are certain aspects of grammar that make my writing life difficult.  I’m sure you have noticed a few just by reading this post.  In my dream my editor waves a magic wand and the errors fade away.  My wand is broken.
  4. Are the times really changing? I am not trying to offend any of the wonderful self-published writer’s out there, I am trying to understand things.  In the past, they were looked down on by traditional publishers/writers.  The self-published book was easy to pick out.   The cover didn’t have a professional look and the writing was not as good. (Much like my last sentence.)  There I said it.  Please send all hate mail to *Y*&&*#$%^&*.   That seems to have changed. A quick look at Amazon and I can’t always pick out the self-published.  I’ve read about break through writer’s who have crossed over.  It seems like writer’s are turning to self-publishing instead of waiting for that big break.  Using their skills to find  readers that, before the internet and social media, would have taken years to cultivate.  Almost like self-publishing is just part of their platform. I’m all for positive exposure.  I don’t want to be the writer that others hold up and say, “There’s a reason that book was self-published.”   Now, I’ve read traditional books and wondered how they ever found a publisher.  There’s bad writer’s in both areas.
  5. Confusion.  I don’t even know where to begin to think about self-publishing.  Clueless.  I know there’s more to it than turning a document into a PDF.  That’s my husband idea on the matter.  I know there is formatting, Beta readers, and I don’t know what else.

Self-publishing is acceptable, maybe even the norm.   Talented writers are willing to take the leap, put their writing on the line and self-publish.  The question is  am I capable of that leap.

What’s your experience or thought of self-publishing?