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Removing All Doubt

A few weeks ago, I took part in a rousing e-discussion about independent publishing. In case you are considering joining in one of these, be advised, they are all “rousing.”*

*rousing = violent, bloody.

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I’m not going to rehash it. I’ve seen enough of these that I find them boring now. A lot of people say “drek.” A lot of people say “archaic.” If you are interested in where I stand, it’s with the pragmatic and brilliant Chuck Wendig. There is no debate.

But one of the points made that day by someone on the pro-trad-publishing side rankled me. It rankles me still, all these weeks later, because it touched a nerve. It was posed to indie-authors (taking this step without the approval and say-so of the fatherly publishing world). It was: Aren’t you afraid of looking like a fool?

I mean, well, yes. Yes. My whole life, yes. A resounding Yes.

My whole life, I’ve held my tongue, kept my thoughts to myself, made my laugh quiet and my voice small. I’ve done all that so I wouldn’t look like a fool.

Now I’m edging toward my forty-second birthday, and I think of all the experiences I didn’t have, the love I didn’t confess, the adventures I didn’t take, the life I didn’t live because I was afraid of looking like a fool. You know what my reward was? I feel like a goddamned fool. What a waste of time.

Last year, I started writing in earnest, after dreaming of it for years. Aside from having a family, nothing I have ever done has felt so incredible. When the writing is good, it feels like being high and being in love. If feels zingy and buzzy and breathless. It feels like I’m making up for a lot of missed opportunities. When the writing is bad? Same thing.

Knowing I could publish it myself gave me that. I didn’t want to pour 100,000 words of my soul into something that was going to sit in a drawer until I died. I figured I could write it, and see if people liked it. I’d show it to or sell it to people I like, whose opinions I respect. If they liked it, I would be thrilled. If not, at least I’d know. But knowing I didn’t have to navigate an incomprehensible quagmire of publishing industry gate-keeping gave me the courage to finally use my voice.

Maybe it sucks. Maybe people will laugh at it. Who cares. I’d rather look like a fool than be silenced.

Now, go buy my book: Penguin Spies in Space: A Love Story

Steve and Stella share one last embrace, before they being their mission. IN SPACE

Steve and Stella share one last embrace, before they begin their mission. IN SPACE

(J/K My first book: Bright Aster will be published next month on Amazon. Some people I love and respect have read it and loved it. Hearing that was totally worth the risk.)

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7 thoughts on “Removing All Doubt

  1. Wonderful post! And I say this as one of the writers who’s going for the traditional-publishing route. I will look for Bright Aster on Amazon! But I have to say, I’m kinda disappointed that Penguin Spies in Space: A Love Story is not a thing. 🙂 Best wishes!

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  2. Aww, Thank you! Best Wishes to you in your journey, too! Can I look for your book? You know, I didn’t think the idea could fly, but with your faith, and God as my witness, I will send those penguins to space.

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  3. Pingback: Well, I’ll be – Liebster Award Nomination(s) | smilecries

  4. I love your voice, your humour and your creativity, and thanks for following me and for nominating me. Did I see that right? The lovely hedgehog has nominated me too and so I’ll juggle the questions and try to entertain you. I can’t believe someone else wants a teleporter. I’ve been yearning for one for so long. It must be the next great invention. Oh yes, there was something else you wrote, it has now slipped my mind, where the thought crossed my mind that we are linked into the same zone.

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      • I also have been wanting a teleporter, for as long as I can remember! It would be so cool to be able to pop over to my sister and Mum in the UK for a visit. Then back in time for Dinner! Barbara and Jen, I’ll be over to see you both for a coffee and catch up (start baking those muffins!) 😉 Love from Heddy the Hedgehog x

        Liked by 1 person

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