Heart Breathings

How To Conquer Your Fear of Self-Publishing

February 3, 2022 by Sarra Cannon

Self-Publishing Tips

As if writing a novel isn’t hard enough. Sometimes, when we finally get to the point of finishing a book, there’s a whole new set of fears that comes up. What will people think of it? Who am I to be publishing? What if no one likes it? What if no one buys it?

If you’ve ever been scared of putting your work into the world, today’s post and video are for you. Let’s talk about the top 3 tools you can use to help conquer fears of self-publishing or putting your work into the world.

Top 3 Ways To Conquer Your Fears

Your Fears Are Valid And Normal

First of all, let me just say that having fear when it comes to putting your work out there is totally normal. We all feel this way to some degree, and even those of us who have found success and have written dozens of novels still feel fear when we launch a new book. It’s okay and normal.

It just means you care about your work and you want it to do well.

Your fears are also valid. It can be scary to open yourself and your art up to criticism. Random strangers on the internet will potentially have negative things to say about your heroine or your plot or your ability to write. People will criticize your choices. People will decide to buy your work, or not. Those things are a bit scary, for sure.

But you can’t put your work out there without opening it up to criticism, so it’s something you need to learn to navigate in order to have a career in writing.

So, what tools can we use to conquer fear?

Tool #1: Keep Working On Your Craft

Every writer on the planet has more to learn about writing and storytelling. Our writing skill is also one of the few things we have control over in our careers, and it’s one of the most impactful parts of our success. The better we become as writers, the more people will want to read our work.

This means investing time in our skill and craft. It means learning reader expectations for our chosen genre, understanding what readers love most about our individual style of writing, and learning how to be more intentional in our writing. It means learning how to tell stories in a way that grips people and doesn’t let them go. It means learning how to write characters that resonate with our readers.

The better you become as a writer, the more your confidence will grow. I guarantee you the more your sales and success will grow, as well.

Leaning into growth is one way to conquer fear, because we’re so busy learning how to be our best selves that we can’t possibly worry about anything else. We don’t have to be afraid, because we know we are doing everything we can to improve and be our best. So, keep learning and watch those fears disappear.

Tool #2: Learn How To Stack The Odds In Your Favor

This is something I discuss at length in my self-publishing course, Publish And Thrive. Stacking the odds in your favor means taking each of the pieces that goes into a successful book or series and tweaking it so that you can set yourself up for your best possible chance for success.

There is a steep learning curve when it comes to self-publishing, which means there are a lot of moving pieces. Everything can make a difference in your success, too. From cover art to your book description, your newsletter, your website, your pen name, your book title, price, launch strategy. All of it comes together to form your strategy, and if you don’t take the time to learn about the business and how each of those pieces makes an impact, you’re basically just throwing spaghetti at the wall.

Then, when things don’t quite go the way you hoped, you have no real idea how to fix it or get better. When you learn the business and how each piece of your strategy plays into your success, you can learn how to take each individual piece and tweak it for success. When you learn to make a lot of small choices that help you find readers and present your book in its best light, you’re stacking the odds in your favor and making it that much more likely that you’ll find success.

In that way, having the knowledge behind you of how the industry works and how to really put your best foot forward will give you the confidence and control you need to move forward without fear.

I’d love to invite you to join me in my 5-week self-publishing course, Publish And Thrive, where you will learn everything you need to know to set yourself up for success. We start Monday, February 7th, and you can sign up or read more about the course here.

However, if a course is not right for you at this time, there are tons of great free resources online, too. Here are some of my favorites:

David Gaughran’s Blog (sign up for his newsletter and grab his books, too!)

Kindlepreneur website run by Dave Chesson

Joanna Penn’s The Creative Penn Podcast

Mark Dawson’s Self-Publishing Formula and Ads Courses

Chris Fox’s Books and YouTube Channel

There are many more out there, so please leave any other suggestions and links in the comments!

Similar to my first tip, this one is all about arming yourself with knowledge. It’s always going to be one of the most powerful ways to conquer fear.

Tool #3: Find An Uplifting Author Community

One of the best tools anyone can have in their publishing toolbox is author friends who lift you up and believe in you. Finding a group of people, no matter if it’s a single best friend or a large group of thousands, who cheer you on and make you feel like anything is possible is truly one of the best things you can have as an author.

If you join Publish And Thrive, you’ll also be joining a group of well over a thousand authors who are there to cheer you on, give feedback on your choices, and lift you up. You can also find a great group of writers in our Heart Breathings Writing Community. Find more on that online writing group here.

The key is to just get involved and pay attention to how people make you feel. Some groups out there share a lot of income and sales wins. For some authors, this is a huge motivator. For others, it’s a huge trigger of comparisonitis. Be honest with yourself and find a group that makes you feel good and gives you the confidence to put yourself out there.

And when you find great writing friends, cherish them and lift them up, too. Win- win.

In the end, putting your work out there can be scary, yes, but what’s the alternative? Not publishing at all? Yes, you need to develop a bit of a thick skin and you will probably face some rough times in this career. Everyone does at some point. But we don’t write for the people who criticize or don’t love our work.

We write for the people who love it. For the people who stay up all night because they can’t put it down. For those who are first in line to buy that next book in the series. Those are the people who matter most to us as writers, and I promise that you’ll have far more of those types of fans in your life than critics.

I’m here cheering you on, because the world needs your stories. Let’s conquer that fear and put them out into the world!


Speaking of community, we have our monthly “Double Down Day” writing event coming up this Saturday on Facebook and YouTube. Find out more here and come back to the blog on Friday for a full list of events and times.

And don’t forget that Publish And Thrive starts Monday. Find out more or sign up here.

Sarra Cannon

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Sarra Cannon

Hi, I'm Sarra!

I have been self-publishing my books since 2010, and in that time, I've sold well over half a million copies of my books. I'm not a superstar or a huge bestseller, but I have built an amazing career that brings me great joy. Here at Heart Breathings, I hope to help you find that same level of success. Let's do this.


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