A Veteran Of A Thousand Psychic Wars

I was pleasantly surprised by the content of Anne R. Allen’s post, “3 Questions to Ask Before You Jump on the Indie Publishing Bandwagon.” For one thing, with a title like that and the use of the word “bandwagon,” I really thought this was going to be another post from someone who’s just trying to dismiss self-publishing as an all-around bad idea.

It’s really not, though — she’s not trying to dissuade anyone, she’s just presenting literally that: three questions to ask first.

The main kind of preparedness she’s talking about is something I don’t see a lot of people mentioning: emotional preparedness. Namely, are you sure you’re ready to deal with snarky comments and bad reviews?

“There are some unspoken benefits to the old query-fail-query-fail-submission-fail-editorial meeting-fail, fail, fail system. It not only gives us numerous readers to help hone that book to perfection—it also teaches us to deal with rejection, failure and bad reviews.

If you choose to self-publish because you can’t handle the rejection of the query process, you’re setting yourself up for worse pain later on. If those form rejections in your email sting, think of how you’ll feel when very personal rejection is broadcast all over the blogosphere.

So there’s a lesson here: don’t publish until you’re psychologically prepared to take the heat. Always keep in mind this is a business, and business can be nasty.”

Emphasis above is mine, not hers. That was the sentence that leaped out at me — it’s an excellent point, and very well put.

Me, I’ve got a pretty damn thick skin, earned in the constant flame wars of my youth. (I know the media likes to call this current generation the “Digital Natives,” but I’ve been kicking around on the Internet since 1987. This is home to me, and I’m entirely used to the way people talk to, and about, each other.)