Also, as a self-publisher / indie publisher, we have to be ready for the fact that there will always be a lot of people who think you are not really an author or writer because you self-published. And you need to be okay with that if you want to stay long in this business. You have to learn not to seek validation from other people - actually, you need to learn how not to need validation from anyone in the first place.
If like me you started off trying to get traditionally published, eliminating the need for validation will be hard. I totally get that. Been there, done that. We wrote to please critique partners and beta readers, agents, editors, and publishers - we wrote to please so many people that sometimes, we ended up forgetting to please ourselves. It happened to me. I was so carried away by the praise I received from some Tier A agents that I deluded myself into thinking what they wanted from me was what I wanted for myself.
But it wasn't - and self-publishing opened my eyes to that. When I started self-publishing, I found the freedom to write the kind of books I wanted to write. It was the kind that I'm sure a lot of critics would pan and find cliched and trite. I'm totally okay with that because almost every day, I receive the most amazing letters from readers, all of them taking the time to let me know how my books have made them laugh and cry and fall in love. They told me how my books entertained them so much that they forgot how bad it is, being in the hospital everyday...
If I have to seek validation, I'd be looking at the readers' direction definitely since, bottom line, it's their opinions that matter. Without readers, writers won't be able to write for a living and every writer must remember that.
Thanks to my readers, I was able to develop self-confidence and find pride in my work. Bad reviews and other people's condescending manners don't get to me now. When I encounter such things, I just remember what super smart and super successful H.M. Ward said - bad reviews only mean your book got into the wrong hands. Is all, really, and I won't tire of repeating that because more writers have to understand that. (P.S. Just to be clear, I'm talking about reviews written by readers who dislike WHAT you wrote and not how you wrote it. Reviews that point out a book's poor editing and other technical flaws - well, that's a whole different thing.)
Since I started self-publishing last October (the books written before 10/2013 are owned by a local e-publisher), I've written over a dozen novellas. It took about half of those, however, before I realized something important. Books that are traditionally published are usually works which publishers think have the most commercial appeal, which means they enjoy the highest chances of recouping their investment in it and making bank. Because of this line of thinking, however, they end up ignoring the demands of the minorities.
As a reader, I'm one of those minorities. I like a very specific kind of romance, something that the trad pub market no longer publishes. And because I couldn't find the kind of book I like, I ended up writing them myself. Oh and yes, it took writing several books for me to realize that. :D It's also why I enjoy reading my own books and yes, I laugh and cry when reading them, too. In a way, I'm a very selfish author because I wrote my books to please myself. That there are readers exactly like me are a huge bonus.
My point is - it's okay to write to please yourself and your readers. Thanks to self-publishing, you can more than make a living doing just that. And if that means only 1% of the world loves your books and 99% hates it? So what? That one percent really loves your books. They're your most passionate fans - don't abandon them just because you want to enjoy the mediocre level of interest of the remaining 99%. Just keep writing - if you're doing it right, you'll keep improving with each book and there's no telling when your next book can win another 1% and so on.
Next time someone tries or even succeeds in making you feel down, just remember this---
Will writing to please that person truly make you a better writer?
Will it make you a happier writer - especially when you consider the fact that you might end up writing the kind of books you don't love?
If your answer is NO to both questions, then why care?