One of my inspirations to self-publish is Joe Konrath. If it wasn't for his blog, the thought probably would've never come to me. Joe's most recent blog post is titled "Why You Won't Succeed". I need to keep these points in mind in the years ahead, which is how long I hope my new writing "career" will last. I think I am already addressing #2 ("You expect instant success") and #10 ("You haven't written enough").
Since publishing my collection of short stories, Numbers Plus Four, in February, the number of copies I've sold is in the double digits. I've read of new authors who've sold ten times or a hundred times that in their first three months. Am I disappointed? Sure, I would love to have sold more copies. Am I disillusioned and giving up? Heck no! I've just started! I'm still working on my first novel. This is still the top of the first inning.
Back to Joe's blog post. The points that I'm most worried about are #4 ("Your book sucks") and #8 ("Your cover sucks"). Joe suggests reading your reviews as an indication of what sucks about your books. My problem right now is that I don't have enough sales and reviews to tell me what's wrong with my writing, if any. Everything about my books will be done by myself and my friends (who are naturally biased), which also leads to point #8. Joe suggests hiring a professional artist to design your cover and edit your book. Right now, I don't have the cash to pay for those services. Maybe that's a bad approach because I should invest for the future. Maybe this will be my downfall. But I've also read that authors who paid for professionals also don't wind up selling many copies. I'm willing to wait and see how my homegrown approach does before paying for a professional book cover and editing. I can always change covers in the future.
It's still the beginning for me. There's plenty of time to make mistakes and learn from them.