The Emotional Toll of Self-Publishing

Don’t let it catch you off-guard

Diona L. Reeves
4 min readMar 6

Photo by Tengyart on Unsplash

The story is done, your cover is perfect, and the typesetting is complete.

You’ve decided where and how to publish your work.

It’s finally happening! After so much time and effort, the dream you’ve worked so hard to achieve is here.

But what happens next? Are you prepared for the potential upheaval that awaits as you finish your book and release it into the world?

The anxiety over putting your finished product out there to be consumed and judged can be paralyzing when you most need to stay focused.

Knowing What to Expect

Your shoulders are tense. Your head pounds non-stop.

You feel queasy. And you can forget about getting a good night’s sleep.

Here are some additional symptoms you might experience as your publication date nears:

  • Anxiety. Everything puts you on edge. Whether it’s the cover design, how you intend to publish, or the story itself, the constant fear of doing something wrong, coupled with the fear your writing is not good enough, can cripple you.
  • Insecurity. Doubt fills every moment of your day. What will happen? Will people like your book? Will they even know it exists?
  • Panic. What if you have to take part in readings or attend conferences? I don’t know about you, but the thought of being a salesperson — for myself, no less — makes me shudder.
  • Perfectionism. From fretting over every word of your back cover text and bio to the fear you’ve missed something once your book is available for purchase, the need to be perfect nags at your every thought. And it can completely ruin the positive aspects of your launch.
  • Regret. Perhaps you fear you’re making a mistake. That you need to slow things down, maybe revise a few more sections before you publish. Sometimes, this fear is legitimate. Only you know if it’s time to move forward. But your mind can also play tricks on you, and the desire to bow out before it’s too late will only grow stronger as the launch date approaches.
  • Denial. When the stress gets to be too much, you may bury your…

Diona L. Reeves

Author of The Prescott Diaries. Writes articles on productivity, the writing process, and this thing called life.