Three reasons why I almost gave up publishing

Three Reasons Why I Almost Gave Up Publishing by Terra Kelly

In just a few short weeks, it will be nine years since I published my first book. It’s fun to reflect on where the journey started and all the loving books I’ve written. There’s also a part of me that feels sad because I did take a bit of a hiatus from the publishing world.

Creating recipes and writing romance books brings me so much joy. 

The harsh reality, though. Publishing and marketing is hard. 

No, I’m not talking about putting the books on different sites or sharing them with the world; I’m talking about how it’s mentally hard.

In 2020, the same year the world shut down, I was doubting everything about my books and trying to discover if I should do something else. There was doubt with every book I released; it felt like pushing boulders up a hill and never seeing a win in return.

Through my eyes, the authors around me looked extremely successful, yet I just continued to feel the same as I did in 2014 when I first published.

Do you want to know the truth?

I am successful. I did have changes and gained new readers with every release. Plus, most importantly, I wrote the books and published the books. There are many people out there who will talk about publishing a book but never actually do it.

Here are the three reasons why I almost gave up publishing:

  • Imposter syndrome 
  • Anxiety
  • Fear of failure

Imposter Syndrome:

Since I can remember, I’ve struggled with feeling less than someone else. I’ll see the person thriving and doing everything I’ve thought about doing and think, maybe I’m not cut out to do it. Maybe people don’t like what I have to offer.

I’ve learned that those very same people I’m jealous of had to start somewhere. Their journey to the top wasn’t always easy. It felt like pushing boulders up a hill for them, too. 

Plus, what you see in everyday life or on social isn’t always accurate. People like their lives to look pretty and free of the mess. 

What I’m saying is it’s silly to compare yourself to anyone else but yourself.

You’re the only one you’re competing with everything you do. (That’s something I have to remind myself almost daily.)


This one interests me because I don’t remember having anxiety growing up or even in my twenties and thirties. My anxiety started probably in the last several years. In 2023, I finally discovered I was experiencing anxiety from menopause. I’m in my midlife, and mental health has become a big part of my life.

It doesn’t matter if mental health is because of menopause or anything else; it can be debilitating.

Everything you love to do can be adjusted in a flash. What you usually love to do could now make you anxious or uncomfortable.

My husband has helped me to be more patient and encourages me to look at the big picture. Is it my anxiety talking, or do I really want to do that?

Fear of Failure:

Fear is a big one for me (and for most people). I’m unsure when this one started because I can always remember feeling the effects of failure. It didn’t matter what I did; if someone else succeeded or did the thing better than me, I immediately doubted myself.

My husband has the perfect question: whenever I feel scared to fail, he will say, “What’s the worst thing that could happen?”

You know what? Nothing bad will happen. That’s the truth.

Plus, I’ve learned that if I don’t do something that makes me happy, I’m robbing someone of enjoying everything I have to offer.

Someone said something powerful the other day that has repeatedly played in my mind. Instead of being afraid of failure, make it your friend and work alongside it. 

Ultimately, I’ve learned so much and grown from my failures.

Three Reasons Why I Almost Gave Up Publishing blog by Author Terra Kelly

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Do what makes you happy:

A lot has happened since 2020, and I’m not talking about the pandemic. I’m talking about my mental health and how I’ve learned so much about what makes me happy or what I want to do with my books and recipes.

In the book world, there’s this feeling that we all need to publish this way or create covers that look a specific way. It’s unspoken words and more of looking at what people in your genre are doing and then trying to recreate it for your readers.

The problem is, I’m then trying to do what others did that made them happy. It may not make me happy, though. Plus, what if it didn’t make my readers happy?

It’s been a journey to learn about my mental health, what brings me joy, and what makes me anxious.

For example, being on social media makes me anxious; writing blogs and sending emails makes me happy.

Creating books with tons of food love and creating new recipes made by the characters makes me super happy.

Do you stop doing what makes you happy because the people around you influence you?

Going forward:

From 2020 to 2023, I contemplated leaving the publishing world and trying something new. I explored several things but somehow always came back to romance and recipes.

Before 2020, I had released about three books a year and loved every second of writing all those stories.

Since 2020, I’ve released three books in total. That’s it.

Can I tell you a secret?

It’s lovely to be back doing what makes me happy. I have so many stories to share (like a serious backlog of story ideas). And, even better, I’ll finally finish that cookbook my husband has been asking me to write.

Here’s the truth–Don’t worry about if life pauses for a bit or something shifts; there’s always a reason why it happens. Instead, just enjoy the ride.

If you’re curious about the first book I wrote, you can enjoy Hard To Resist here (or read the first three chapters here). Or, if you’re curious about the last book I published, you can check out Bitter Bartender here.

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