When the Doubt Creeps in

I had totally planned to write about marketing strategies this week, but I am mentally drained. Next week.

For now, I’m just going to unload a bit. A few things coalesced over the last several days that had me in serious doubt about my writing endeavors. As in, I honestly questioned whether I should be in the self-publishing arena, whether I even wanted my stories published at all. That was a first.

Here’s what happened, in the order that I remember it:

  • Writing my short story was extremely slow for me last week, and felt more tedious than anything.
  • I applied to a convention for this autumn, then realized that if I don’t make the cut, it might be difficult for me to get to any conventions this year, which is one of my big goals.
  • In not looking into conventions sooner, not thinking about Awesome Con over the winter, and making unrelated plans that made it too difficult to commit to Awesome Con at this point, I felt like I was already losing out on a big opportunity this year.
  • KDP emailed me saying they found parts of my book published elsewhere online, which is against their terms of service, and they took my book down from their market

That last one still irks me. They claimed to have found places where content in my novel were published online and asked me to provide explanations as to why.

…I have not published a single word of my novel anywhere in any online forum. They asked me to send them links of where they found my book’s content published, as if they were protecting my copyright by not telling me if anyone else was infringing on my copyright.

I sent them four links, two of which were on this site, one on YouTube, and one on Wattpad, and told them that I used my cover image in marketing materials, which is… kind of… what you do when you publish a book.

I then emphatically asked that they identify any other places they had allegedly found my book published online, because I was terrified that someone had stolen my story.

They replied thanking me for my cooperation, confirmed that my book would be made live on their platform again, and gave me no other information!

What the hell?

Am I supposed to assume that the four places I use my cover image online were what flagged their team to potential copyright infringement of my own book?

Maybe. I haven’t even bothered asking for clarification, because I’m 90% certain I won’t get any.

This episode took place over the course of about 18 hours, but that day-and-a-half had me questioning every decision I had made about writing and publishing stories over the previous six years.

The good news is that I’m mostly over it, I think. The first draft for my short story was bothering me, because I know it’s terrible at this point, and I wasn’t sure how to make not terrible.

But I also know that the first draft is always terrible, and that I just need to get the thing written so I can go back, scribble some notes, and rewrite it. I wrote up a small outline to help me figure out how to get from the middle of the story to the end, so that should make the writing process a little smoother.

Except tonight (Tuesday) because I can barely look straight ahead without my eyes drifting.

The moral of the story is this: You will always find a reason to doubt yourself as a writer. Sometimes, the universe gives you several reasons all at once! Take a moment to breathe, and then find a way around it.

I can still publish this short story this year. I can still attend a convention or two. And I can do some quick Google searches to make sure no one has stolen my book, even if it’s just for momentary peace of mind.

Steve D

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