(With NaNoWriMo coming up, let me give you a bit of a boost)
So you wrote a book. You self-published it or may self-publish it. It’s just that, down deep, you think it’s kind of crappy. Guess what, I don’t care if it’s crappy – it may indeed be crappy. I want you to know why this is great.
First, let me note that it’s probably not as bad as you think. The ability to see our work as awful is a blessing and a curse to writers, but I oft find writers suffer from low self-esteem over egomania. We just notice the egomaniacs who think their crap is brilliant as they stand out.
So, now that you have this manuscript you’re vaguely disappointed in, perhaps even published, let’s talk about what’s great about it.
What’s Generally Awesome:
- It’s done. You can move on to your next project.
- You managed to actually write a book – kudos. That alone shows a level of strength, talent, commitment, obsession, or lack of self-control that’s commendable. Many people couldn’t do this – you could.
- You learned you care enough to get a book done. If you have that passion that puts you ahead of people who never try.
- You can always publish under a pseudonym. In some cases this is the best idea depending on subject matter.
- At least the book is committed to history. You are a historical snapshot and people may learn from your experiences.
- You learned more about self-publishing in general, and perhaps the publishing industry from your research. You can use that later or in other projects.
- You learned how to better use writing tools like word processors to get this far. That can help you in your next book or other projects.
- You learned how to use formatting options and/or self-publishing tools to get the book ready for publishing. You can use that for other projects or in everyday life.
- You learned how to use publishing services like CreateSpace or Lulu. You can use it again or teach others.
- You learned how to make a cover for your book, or buy one. Sure the cover may be bad, but it’s something.
- You learned a lot about writing. Yes, the book may not be good, but it is at least coherent enough for people to understand. You managed to figure out how to make that happen.
- You developed some kind of writing system and tested it – even if it was randomly flailing. You can build on that (or if your method was bad, discard it).
- You (hopefully) get some feedback. Be it from pre-readers or editors or readers, you’ve got feedback or have the chance to get some. It may not be good, but it’s a chance to grow.
- You learned just how publishing works, from issues of ISBNs to royalty-free photos. That’s knowledge you can use in future books and elsewhere.
- You learned about genres from writing within one, from comparing yourself to others, from researching. This can inform your next book, your sequel, your rewrite, or just provide helpful tips for others.
Personality And Habits
- You developed enough courage to finish and perhaps publish it. It might not be under your name, it may be flawed, but it takes a certain level of character to complete a work. You have it or developed it.
- You learned a lot about your hopes, fears, abilities, and personality doing this. It might not have been pleasant, but you learned it
- You learned how you write as you completed the book; do you write well alone, at a coffee shop, etc. You can use this for your next project.
- You meet people along the way. It may be an editor, a cover artist, a fellow author, someone thank thinks your work is awful. Some of these folks are people you can grow with, who can help you grow – and whom you can help grow.
- You (hopefully) discovered writer communities along the way, or at least hard more about them. Those are people who can help you next time, be supportive, be friends, or point you at interesting work to read.
- It may not be good, but how many of us were inspired by not-good things that had some good stuff? Your work might be a stepping stone for others.
- You can at some point rewrite the book and do it right. What if it’s really a glorified rough draft you can revisit when you’re more talented.
- At some point you can take your book off of your website or out of bookstores or whatever (if self-published). If you’re truly worried, there are options there (and you still enjoy many benefits)
- You can do a sequel to address the flaws of your work and improve as an author. I’m sure we all know series where the first (or second) book was not the best of all of them.
- You could always decide the book should be free and let others build on it.
- Maybe the book would be better as something else – a game, a comic, etc. Now that it’s done perhaps it can be reborn in a better form.
So your book sucks. But you have a book, and that’s awesome!
(Remember I do all sorts of books on creativity to help you out!)