Wow, what a great book it is!
It encapsulates everything a good indie book should have, even to the very last letter: personal experience, authentic voice, an author’s transparency, integrity and genuineness; sound advice and some questionable issues. You don’t feel like it’s a book written by you where you agree with everything. A profound position.
I can’t imagine a better candidate for discussing writer’s doubt. I could relate well to Bryan because I have experienced similar struggles… however not on the scale he did. When I decided to write, I had no writing experience (Bryan at least attended some writing classes), no authority, and I started publishing outside of my native language. But once I set myself on a writer’s path, doubt did not have a chance with me.
Bryan had it much worse than that… and he overcame everything: naysayers, critics, and the internal, ultimate doubt itself! Wow, he is a hero!
One critical remark
I liked everything about this book. Stop! Not everything. In “Writer’s Doubt,” I found one recommendation I don’t agree with, and that’s fine, because we are all different. Namely, it’s the suggestion that everyone should try traditional publishing. I see no reason why. To bleed my nose on the wall? To build up my character by experiencing rejection after rejection? Well, I prefer different ways to develop my character. If I want to improve the quality of my book, I can hire professionals to edit it. I don’t need to sell my rights for pennies and alms (read: a meager share in royalties).
However, I only wanted to dispute just a fragment of the book―the rest seemed to be written straight from my heart (but much better).
For example, I’d like to mention the idea about positive lessons coming from rejection. Bryan is totally right. When I started writing, I decided to write fiction in my own language. I posted my first short story on the biggest Polish Science Fiction forum and was (rightfully) criticized. My doubt had a feeding frenzy. I realized I lacked a lot in the area of craft. At the same time, I was looking for additional income sources. I knew I have to leave my 9 to 5 in order to live a fulfilled life. So, with a little encouragement from a friend, I switched to publishing non-fiction on Amazon. I sold about 10k copies of my books within 20 months. February is the first month when royalties will exceed my salary. If not for that critique, I wouldn’t have been in this place. And I found this kind of writing very fulfilling.
I loved the tone of encouragement prevailing throughout the book. It was so refreshing. Bryan is really a kind soul.
Every time I found some list with tips―whether how to self publish, how to “slay the beast,” or how to develop writing rituals―I found myself nodding. The author of “Writer’s Doubt” has really been there and has done that. Instantly, I felt that the advice came from a practitioner, not a theoretician.
I confirm that writing everyday helps immensely. My doubt has almost starved since I began my writing log in September 2013. Since then, I haven’t missed a day and the beast has almost disappeared.
Bryan’s advice about book marketing was among the best I’ve ever heard. No hype, hard work, and pure grit―this is what gets you results.
I myself have written a book about writing. It is not published yet, but I found so many common causes with this book that it’s almost unbelievable: connection and authentic relationships, writing something dangerous, refusing to blend in and conform… I’m convinced that it was exactly those qualities that made the publishing revolution possible, that this is the unfair indies’ advantage over publishing houses.
For writers… and for others
I wholeheartedly recommend this book to anyone who wants to start writing or has already started, but doesn’t consider himself a writer yet. You cannot get a better book at the beginning of your writing career.
But even a “seasoned” writer like me (1st book published on May 2013, 7 titles under my belt) can get something out of this book. I learned I’m a professional writer. It was a relief because as I said, I wrote a book about writing and The Beast was trying to say something doubtful about my right to do so. Thanks Bryan!
Oh, one more thing. I don’t think The Doubt Beast is a thing reserved for writers only. I think it is applicable to any venture which extends beyond your comfort zone. Whatever your internal voice is trying to talk you out of―starting a new business, a marriage, and so on―the journey Bryan shared will help you. Many of his tips are applicable only for writing, but most of his techniques are universal and will help you cope with every doubt.
And the story for the end:
In November 2012, I created my personal mission statement and wrote
I’m becoming a writer
in it. At that time, I had no blog and had never published a single word. At that time, saying “I’m a writer” was too bold for me. It took me 15 months and about 180k words till I changed this entry in my mission statement to:
I’m a writer.
I needed external validation and I introduced this change after my 5th book became bestseller.
But I was a writer long before that, I just didn’t know. “Writer’s Doubt” showed me why.
Read it and you will discover why you are a writer, possibly a professional writer at that.