With the increased exposure of self-publishing and small presses, many authors increasingly see "dropping out of the system" as an instant cure-all for the headaches and heart-breaks of publishing. Veteran independent authors like Zoe Winters can attest, however, that no path to publication is stress-free.
Two of the major struggles I've faced as an indie (and which I think are probably common in a lot of indies) is becoming burnt out from constant social interaction on the Internet, as well as comparing myself to other authors. We all know how important marketing is, but sometimes getting your name out there can be such an energy drain. Plus, the more opinionated you are, the more someone, somewhere hates you and feels the need to either tell you, or all their friends about it. With the burn-out issue, I started to back off some and take more frequent Internet breaks.
Whenever I feel the big bag of crazy coming on, I sometimes back off from the Internet for a few weeks at a time and dive into the work instead. I've become a lot more "Zen" about publishing as a result. The other issue, comparing myself... I put so much pressure on myself sometimes to achieve and succeed. And, while I know many consider me a success, there is always someone doing better. So it's easy to get frustrated and discouraged by that. To help myself through that, I started to look at some of the reasons why some people were doing a lot better than me. When I started to understand some of the issues: frequent release dates and large backlist, I calmed down about it some. We're all on our own unique publishing journey. And it was about 18 months before I started making more than a couple hundred bucks a month. This stuff takes time. Since my last release, I've decided not to spaz out over my numbers but to focus on engaging with the readers I have and building my fan base one reader at a time.
Zoe Winters is a top-selling author of paranormal romances. Her most recent release is Save My Soul. She has also written the popular three-novella work Blood Lust and the highly-influential guide to indie success, Smart Self Publishing: Becoming an Indie Author.