Big Changes to E. L. Strife

I’ve temporarily pulled all of my books down. They are no longer available for purchase. Why?

Because I can, must… for my readers. All six of you.
I want to improve the quality of my work, utilizing new knowledge and experience.
Self-publishing isn’t easy.

I’ve learned so much in the last few years that when I look back at my old writing, I can’t help but cringe. It’s hard to know if people are honest when they say it’s good and when they’re just trying not to hurt your feelings. This is a violent contrast to those who hate your material (and there will always be some).

So where is the middle ground? Beta readers and Critique Partners.
I highly recommend them, but make sure you start early. Often, life gets in the way and feedback becomes limited or they drop out and you end up having to ask someone else. So prepare for a few months at least of just this.

The worst is when you get absolutely no feedback at all… No response. They just drop you on your you-know-what. The crickets are really loud in Texas. But thankfully, the Writers’ League of Texas has some great programs, so I’ve been working on improving my literary skills with their online classes while I wait for the winter to silence those sleep-stealing monsters. (…the crickets)

Self-publishing can be a rather messy process. Many think it’s a simple one: write a book, query an agent. There are so many steps to the character creation, plot twists, scene setting and then the editing of word choice, line structure, grammar and punctuation that the time and effort it takes when you’re on your own is astounding. Not everyone will get an agent. I didn’t know the market or what others would think, so I put myself out there via self-publishing and got my answer. It’s a tug-of-war in the heart but…

I love every minute.

The truth is, when it comes to being realistic about the quality and content of your work, it’s hard to judge it yourself if you haven’t had much experience. Art is unbelievably subjective, in perception and creation. And frustrating. As authors we’re told to have conviction, to be determined to defend our works as pieces of self-expression. But there’s also a quality level we need to achieve to be publicly accepted, let alone trendy.

When my reviews started coming back with: “great content, language gets in the way” I knew I had a problem. Mind you, I’m used to research papers and not creative fiction, which is primarily emotion-based. I had no idea until a few months ago the purpose of fiction was the emotion, not the cool action and unique settings, etc..

My entire life I’ve shoved emotion under the surface. What I’ve wanted, loved, preferred… my reactions… everything was regulated by military bearing or some manner of being surrounded by the wrong people where self-expression was violently incorrect.

Since I opened myself to the emotional aspects of writing, really delving deep within myself to try to create more connective content for my six fans out there (if you’re still reading, you’re one of them), I opened the flood gates for myself. And when reviews started coming back… unusable because they’re less than desirable to post publicly, I felt beyond ashamed for my work and, like a child, tugged it all from the zeros and ones of the digital landscape.

And I cried…

a lot.

Years of work… worthless. (well this is me being emotional) If you’ve never experienced this tamping down of emotions for decades and then tried to pull them to the surface again… it is one steep rollercoaster. A public façade is one thing. When you live your life knowing most of what you think and feel is wrong and useless, you pack it away so tight that it very nearly destroys you the minute you pull out a piece. But no matter how much your tower crumbles (whether over reviews, or self-doubt, or something else entirely) That tower is going to crumble into a pile. The pieces are still there, collected together; they just need reassembly. But this time, you know how not to build the tower.

Remember where your weaknesses were and focus on strengthening them. Don’t give up. If you’re like me, you’ve come too far to throw away all that work.

Pull the work.
Clean and repair it.
Get someone to look it over (someone not your usual set of eyes).
Then give it another go and move on.

Your life’s purpose and fulfillment is not based on that single book.

Trust me, I know the disappointment clashing with the flickers of hope that make you do stupid things like buy an ad  for a discount you’re running on a whim and then get absolutely no sales from it.

Self-publishing is hard. (Yes, I’m saying this again)

The four P’s of Perfection:

I cannot express the importance of planning enough. In marketing especially.

Be good to yourself and don’t get discouraged. Just be realistic with your expectations and self-assessment.

My reality: the works are just in need of some gun powder and gasoline. This is what I’m focusing on now: cleaning my content, repackaging it, preparing my marketing plan…

And starting all the #%*! over.


But seriously… who wouldn’t take a second chance? This is a main advantage of self-publishing. I just hope I get it right this time.

Thanks for reading.

All the best to you in your adventures,


2 thoughts on “Big Changes to E. L. Strife

  1. I paint … I write … I set it aside ….. And I do it all over again. I win Best In Show two years in a row but not the third year … I put away my paints. Sighhhhh artist ego is fragile.

    1. Amy, Dad and I are so proud of you for your hard work and perseverance. You have a multitude of talents, and we know you can rise above the challenges and obstacles that come your way. Your grandfather always advised, “do whatever it takes, pull out all the plugs, do the right thing, and never give up!” We love you!

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