I have decided that self-publishing is something like giving birth. To be more specific, launching your infant book out into the wide world of readers and accepting the fact that you now have to market, blog, facebook, track progress, and (somehow) find time to keep writing, is very similar to transitioning from baby-in-belly to screaming, eating, pooping infant that constantly deprives you of sleep and demands every ounce of your energy.
See the correlation?
I have four children, and with each pregnancy came that moment (usually about a week out from my due date) where I'd say, "Wait a minute. Why am I complaining about being huge and pregnant again? Isn't having Junior safely contained and hooked up to an automatic feeding tube way more convenient than the alternative?
On the other hand, there's this insatiable need to be done with it; a desire to actually examine your grand creation. After all, babies may take a lot of work, but the payoff is kind of amazing. And it's so exciting to think about being able to actually touch the fruits of your labor (no pun intended, I swear).
It's just like self-publishing. I have all these hopes for what my book might be/do/accomplish, yet the thought of being solely responsible for what happens to it once I put it out there is kind of overwhelming. There. Is. So. Much. To. Do. According to everything that everyone says, if you want anyone anywhere to ever actually find your book and read it you have to have an account on every social network, blog bi-weekly, produce novellas and short stories, provide a constant stream of special offers, coupons, and promotions, network with other authors, guest blog, join writing communities, and a million other things.
The risk you take in not doing any/all/enough of these things? Failure. Your book may not be found by anyone. It may never sell beyond the scope of your closest family and friends. All that time spent writing, revising, revising, and revising will be wasted because no one will even know that you—or your book—exists. (By the way, did I forget to mention the all-important website? The must have for any author? The thing that I know nothing about and am totally clueless and incapable of creating on my own? All I can say is that it's a good thing my sister is willing to do the website grunt work for me, or it would simply never happen. )
But it is happening. The website is coming together, the cover art is almost ready, the book is ready for formatting, and in a very short time I will find out if I have what it takes to get my book out there and whether or not readers will do that mysterious and amazing thing that is 'recommend it to their friends' after they've read it. In the meantime, cheers to all the other first-time indie authors out there who are sweating bullets over all the work they've set for themselves. May all your hours in front of the computer pay off, and may you somehow manage to find the time to write the next thing amidst all the hullabaloo of promotion.