This post was originally published at Novelicious.com and is now at WritingTipsOasis.com. WritingTipsOasis.com acquired Novelicious.com in June 2022.
When I told my husband the title of this column, he assumed it was called ‘the ugly’ based on what I looked like whilst conducting my rewrites and editing. Apparently harem pants, over-sized sweatshirt and hair swept back under ski headband is not a good look for me (although I’m very comfortable when writing). Infact, the ugly refers much more to the ugly side of my personality that seems to have been drawn out from self publishing: the side of self loathing and severe lack of confidence.
The only way to describe self publishing to a none-writer would be that it is like sticking up a naked picture of yourself on the internet and getting people to rate you. It feels like you’re that exposed. For the first couple of months, every time I checked my sales figures I would focus more on potential bad reviews rather than the fact that my sales were increasing.
Even now, months later, when I click on my book’s page to see the sales ranking and where it is in the charts, I hold my breath as the number of reviews loads. If I see one has been added I have this awful feeling of wanting desperately to read it, but at the same time not wanting to read for fear of what it could contain.
It goes without saying that not everyone will like my book. There are many, many books that I have hated and everyone else has loved and vice versa. We are all different, and we are all entitled to our own opinions -but that still doesn’t make it any easier when your reading reviews of your own work.
When I got my first bad review I was melancholy; that is the only way to describe it. I felt low and miserable, and I questioned what I was doing with the writing. It shook my confidence and it took me a week or two to bounce back. I stopped telling people I had a book on Amazon because I was embarrassed that they'd see the bad review.
Even good reviews can send me a little crazy! One of my reviews said that the ending was abrupt, and for the rest of the evening I panicked that everyone hated my book and thought the ending was awful. It’s like a single word can resonate with an insecurity of the book that I had and then my mind blows it all out of proportion.
In the wake of bad reviews I’ve wanted to take the book down, crawl under a giant rock and never write another word again. I am learning to tame my ugly side and learning to toughen up and retain my confidence. After all, for every negative comment, I’ve had more lots more positive ones.
Since self-publishing my novel, I’ve gone through every imaginable emotion, and having learnt about the good, the bad and the ugly side of self publishing, I’m so glad I took the plunge and did it. I’m going to do it again; only this time, I’ll be prepared.