Selling the stories. To the public. Those people out there: the ones with money.
Following a set of physical steps to go from A to B is easy. It's the mental work that's difficult. Every other time I've sold fiction, I've done so in an anthology or magazine market. That means that someone in a position of authority decided my work was good enough to pay me money. The fiction had been deemed good enough to send out into the world with their brand on it. Plugging that work was easy. I mean, it was still weird--asking people to buy what you're selling always is, and likely always will be--but those stories had a patina of respectability.
Asking people to pay for something you've decided on your own is some level of "good enough" is embarrassing, to put it bluntly. I'm not only asking people to trust my writing, I'm asking them to trust me. This is difficult in the writing world, especially in the SFF world, and especially if you're a woman in this world.
Last night the Nebulas were handed out, and the awards were almost all given to women, some of them women of color (the one man who won, George Miller, did so for Mad Max: Fury Road, not exactly a total dude movie, eh?). The fact that women writers swept the awards has been on my news feed all morning. I'm sure it is driving many of the RPs and SPs a bit daffy (which is a GOOD thing). But it's the fact that it's news that women swept the awards that is important; too often SFF is still seen as a white guy's game, regardless of evidence to the contrary. People are often surprised when I mention what I write, especially in some academic circles. Add in the attitude toward self-publishing, and you can see how doing my own PR for my own work that no one else gave me permission to sell can be difficult. Is difficult.
At this point, I'm not 100% sure what to do about it, other than possibly re-read Amanda Palmer's The Art of Asking, and remind myself of the question I used to ask myself five or six years ago when I doubted and wondered why me: why NOT me?
If I wait around for someone else to give me permission to try to be awesome, I will wait forever.