Why You Need a Support System When Publishing
Nov 11, 2013
I’m afraid of heights. As a child, the thought of climbing the scary metal ladder-looking thing in the school gymnasium paralyzed me. In fact, thinking about it today I can taste the fear again and remember the feeling of holding the cold metal bars in my sweaty hands.
My poor gym teacher was determined. They even gave me separate time away from class to try to get me to climb to the top. I got so annoyed with myself that twice I tried climbing the igloo-shaped one in the playground. Needless to say, those attempts were the least successful of all, and left me clinging for life while a classmate went to get the teacher supervising recess!
What finally helped me climb up and then over? I had a team of cheerleaders encouraging me. With a patient gym teacher (sorry to say I don’t remember his name), and classmates who encouraged instead of laughed, I finally was able to make it.
When you’re writing and self-publishing a book, it can sometimes feel like you’re trying and failing at overcoming a big childhood fear. It’s essential that you have a support system, your own “cheerleaders,” who not only believe in you, but can be relied on when you need an opinion or advice.
Why have cheerleaders?
For moral support! When you’re working long hours at your day job, and spending your free nights and weekends writing a book, it’s nice to know there’s someone who believes in you and is looking forward to seeing your success. When you’re nervous and worried about whether or not your book will be successful, they will be there to help you see the positive. If you get overwhelmed or frustrated and really need to vent, your cheerleaders will be there to let you release some steam. A close, trusted friend or a family member will usually be a great person to have on your “squad.” When you reach a milestone that makes you want to celebrate, they’ll share in your joy and even help spread the word!
For advice! You may know some other authors who have written a book, and maybe even some who have self-published their book. They can make a great sounding board when you need some opinions or advice on the decisions you’re making during the writing and publishing process, whether it comes to reading them a portion of the book, or getting their opinion on potential cover designs, etc. This person could be a fellow author, a mentor, or a colleague. Colleagues can give very constructive feedback, especially if you’re writing a non-fiction book that falls under your shared area of expertise.
For a different point of view! Your support system can offer you a variety of opinions to you on your writing, the book, your promotional efforts, and more. Try to choose a variety of people with different backgrounds who will bring different opinions and experiences to the table. Ask them to be honest with you, even if their opinions will differ from your own. While you want people to be in your court and make you feel good about your writing and publishing efforts, it’s important for you to get honest feedback so that you can use it constructively.
If you’re working with a publishing support provider, the team working with you on your book can provide all of the above!
Don’t get down if some of your cheerleaders sometimes disagree with you or give an opinion that you’re not happy with. Remember that you’ve asked for their support but also for their honesty. Sometimes the people who are closest to you may ask you the toughest questions—and that’s because they care about you and have your best interests in mind. Your family especially may have all kinds of responses and questions when you decide to publish your first book: support, praise, excitement… Be prepared for the 5 “w” questions, but also for some doubt, complaints about how much time you’re dedicating to the project, etc. But when they see the results, I know they’ll be proud of you and excited for you, and will want to tell everyone they know that you’ve published your first book.
So get up on those monkey bars and climb! We’re here to cheer you on. But I’ll stay down here on the ground, cheering you on. (Once was enough for me, thanks!)