Feeling imposter syndrome when talking to traditionally published authors

Today I’m going to make a bit of a departure from my usual videos. I’m not going to tell you about how to use a specific platform or the pros and cons of a specific strategy. I’m going to tell you what I’ve struggled with since day 1 of this journey. And that is this horrible feeling of imposter syndrome when I talk with traditionally published authors.

I mentioned back in my earlier video that when I went to an event at my local library about a year before I published my first book a traditionally published author was giving a talk. I went, full of excitement, and was shut down completely. And since then I have had this fear of being near or talking to traditionally published authors. I’m afraid they are going to publicly shut me down. And say that I’m not “really an author” or that I’m less than because I have elected to self-publish. And when I posted my mini-rant video on the topic, y’all really seemed to respond. It was nice to know that I wasn’t alone.

But that initial interaction still rattles me. When I approach bookstores and libraries or even when I’m just out and tell people that I’m an author and they say, “oh, so you’re published?” my response is, yes. My books are published. They were published by me. But I know what they mean. They want to know if “the authorities”, the traditional publishers have put my book out.

And even though I’ve had positive interactions with traditionally published and self-published authors, this anxiety remains. Even in the past year I’ve spoken with traditionally published authors who have applauded the effort that goes into self-publishing and have expressed their own interest in self-publishing a future book.

But the imposter syndrome remains. Even within self-publishing, every win that I get, I still feel like I’m not doing enough if I don’t have an orange sticker next to my title. Or some fancy high sales “figure.” Even when my clients are successful and I can share in that excitement, it still doesn’t feel like I’ve done enough to earn my place as an author and as a publisher.

I talked earlier about how I’m scaling back my goals. I’m a type A person and I had to knowingly look at my goals and say that they wouldn’t make me happy. I would be chasing vanity metrics. And being enlightened enough to acknowledge that it won’t make me any happier, I still have this feeling.

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