Tag Archives: Self-publishing

About three years ago, I published an unfinished book chapter to a circle of clients on Facebook to help one or two people in the group for whom I hoped the chapter would be helpful. What happened next is that I got a message from an old friend. He offered his feedback on the chapter.

I immediately felt discouraged, thought that everything was wrong and wished I had never put the document out there. I had a full horror scenario in my mind. I was about to hit reply “Thank you but the document was already edited professionally. I did not ask you for feedback.”

I was angry and scared.

Then I read the comment again with which I published the document and noticed that I might have solicited the feedback. Was I even fishing for compliments?

Did I not ask people to tell me if they found the chapter helpful?

I muttered that my friend should not have criticized my work. I did not ask him for a proofread. I did not explicitly ask for his feedback. I did not want to have a Skype conversation with him.

Then I remembered my words from a training I recently gave. Most people give feedback and advice without permission. I advise clients to assume positive intentions. I thanked my friend for the offer and pushed the date for the Skype conversation. I wanted to hear his ideas but only when I feel secure, professional and ready. I almost asked him to send the feedback in writing. Then I remembered that he was not paid for it. I remembered that he is in fact a great logical thinker and proofreader and that I might be able to get a perspective that only he can provide. I took the feedback in. It was hard. I finally concluded that I needed to invest a lot more time into the manuscript and then I did not do anything for about 1.5 years. When I was ready to tackle the book, I almost rebuilt it and then I had to have it proofread by a native speaker. Again, I was shattered by the feedback and critique.

The episode with my friend repeated itself about six months ago. I thought I was finally ready to publish “The Global Career Workbook” when my friend asked me why I had not showed my manuscript to him. I did not say anything but sent him the manuscript asking for a review of the logic, structure and if the flow made sense to him. He reviewed two chapters and sent back a line-by-line review. I almost through my laptop out of the window that Monday morning.

I emailed back, asked him to stop working on it and mentioned the editing and that I had not asked for a line-by-line feedback but a general review of the logic and structure of the book. I almost stopped the publication.

What I noticed is that I will never by like my friend and my products will never be like his (paid) work, because I am another person than him and I have other strengths. My English will also never be as smooth as my editors. No, my English will always sound a bit off and I might make mistakes because I am not a native speaker.

Maybe you would not read my newsletter if my friend wrote it, maybe you would hate my writing if it was smooth like my editor’s and maybe you would not be interrupted in your flow if my English was flawless. Maybe you would think I am robot or copywriter and not the Angie you believe you know.

As a solopreneur, you might have phases where your self-confidence is as low as the batteries on my iphone. I have doubts about my quality when I forget to pull the presentation on the laptop before a training, when the laptop does not want to start before the training or when I take a wrong turn and show up late. So far though no major drama ensued. So far, I always find solutions (even without a big armada of support staff behind me). So far, a few readers really work with my workbook.

You need to belief that only you can deliver your services they way you do. Out there in the world there will be companies, clients and customers for your art. You just have to find them or give them a chance to find you.

When I make mistakes or when my final product is not perfect it annoys me. I learnt over the years though that there is a point where you have to let go, where your additional input does not improve your output. Another rule I have learnt is to work with highly skilled professionals. You can’t always be sure that the person you hire to support you is the best in their field but you can test them for a while and see if they meet your standard. If they don’t then you have to move on. You also need to remember that a perfect product will almost never be paid. So if you already spent a day on developing the content of the presentation but you are only paid for delivery stop being a perfectionist and work with what you have.

Have an inspired and wonderful week.
Angie