Changing My Mind: Admitting I Messed Up

No one wants to be wrong. Right?

No one purposely sets out on a path of action in life thinking, “I hope this isn’t the way I’m supposed to go.” But if we change our mind about the direction is that the same as admitting we made a mistake?

I really don’t like making mistakes. In fact, I’m likely to do more research and investigation on the front end of something to ensure I don’t make one.

This is why a conversation during a recent session with my coach stopped me cold.

I had written posts about this decision. I’d told many fellow writers and my family and friends that I was adamant about not going down a certain path.
So I couldn’t change my mind about that now. Could I?

What Happens if I Do?

Here’s the question I was asked: “Why do you have to be traditionally published? Why can’t you be indie published?”

To be clear, that’s two questions. And they don’t have the same answer. I have been traditionally published. I also have seven indie published titles available for sale on Amazon.

But I have vehemently stated, “I don’t want to be indie published.”

It’s too much work. And too much responsibility. Furthermore, it costs hundreds of dollars that I’ve never recouped.

It feels like writing is a hobby when I indie publish. Real writers get contracts with a publishing house. Even if it’s a small house like the three I’ve had contracts with in the past.

So, am I saying I don’t think the indie authors I know aren’t “real” writers?

Uh, no. I didn’t mean to say that. I meant to say, I won’t be a real author without the validation of a traditional publishing contract.

Suddenly, the light is glaring on a different problem.

It isn’t about the publishing path for me. It’s about what I believe that path says about what I’ve written.

The only thing that truly happens if I change my mind about going the indie route is that I have to own up about making a snap judgment in a low time of my author career. When I’d worked hard to release a trilogy and did my best to successfully launch it, and yet it bombed.

What Happens if I Don’t?

Here’s the rub, friends. If I don’t admit that I may have made a hasty decision by claiming, “I don’t want to be indie published,” I could keep my stories from reaching readers.

Getting a traditional contract might be easier these days since there’s a huge array of small houses to choose from. A writer doesn’t need an agent to submit to these publishers so that removes one of the biggest and most challenging hurdles to getting a traditional contract.

However, I might write a story that doesn’t fit clearly into a single genre. A publisher could like the story but still reject it because they weren’t sure how to market it. In fact, this happened to me with a novel I wrote on spec for a small house I’d published a short story with.

If I believe in that story, why shouldn’t I publish it on my own?

So maybe the truth here is that I don’t believe in that story. At least not MORE than I believe the publisher knows more about publishing than I do. If they don’t believe it will be successful, who am I to argue?

And we circle back to the reason I write. I want to reach my readers with entertaining stories that leave them feel encouraged to face the quest of their own life.

Should I really let an agent or publisher decide whether or not my story can do that?

Is My Pride Really Worth It?

The bottom line is I don’t want to eat my words.

Oh, part of me still believes that I’m more suited to a traditional publishing path. The stress of organizing everything needed to put a quality book on the market stymies my creative soul.

But I can do it. I have done it.

And if I found the right team to help me do it again and again, I might even be excited about the prospect. Although I wouldn’t be thrilled about the monetary outlay.

Shouldn’t an author make money writing books?

And the IRS considers my writing a hobby if I don’t make a profit on it after three years.

Do you hear how I’m letting all these other voices carry more weight than my own?

Don’t be like Sharon. Listen to the voice that gets your story out into the world so it can be read.

Because that’s what authors do.

Have you ever made a decision and later changed your mind about it? Was it hard or easy to turn back and take the right path?

2 thoughts on “Changing My Mind: Admitting I Messed Up”

  1. There are so many roads: traditional, indie (small publisher), or self-publishing (sometimes also called indie, to increase the confusion), and vanity publishing (which tries to look a lot like the first two). The beauty of it is that you can walk down more than one road at a time. On the other hand, there’s a lot demanded from an author besides the writing of books, regardless of which road you go down. No easy road, no easy answers. Sadly.

    I sometimes wonder if my books would be accepted by a traditional publisher, but I don’t want to give up on being able to choose things for myself: timings, aesthetics, licenses – whatever it is! Sometimes I think it would be a good idea to try it as an experiment, but I don’t really write fast enough to be willing to gamble on an experiment.

    1. Deborah-
      I don’t think there is a wrong choice. Every author has to decide what they want and which path will get them there. I have two friends who are going with a vanity press because they want to get the book out there but don’t want to have to deal with finding a good publishing team.
      And, yes, I always thought indie publishing meant going with a small house, but I was told that was also considered traditional publishing. Ugh. I think there should be a standardized dictionary for these terms somewhere. Also, many vanity presses are calling their services “hybrid” publishing, but authors who are traditionally published and also self publish some books call themselves “hybrid authors.” So very confusing. The better to snag the unsuspecting author who truly wants to be published.
      Thanks for commenting.

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