Was it murder--or something serious?
Philip Marlow in Murder, My Sweet

Friday, October 24, 2014

That Thing You Do -- But Really Shouldn’t

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Two things authors should not do. Ever.

Or at least in public.

1 - Bitch about reviews

Frankly, you shouldn’t even read them -- certainly not after the first couple of years of your publishing career -- but if you are going to read them, you sure as hell shouldn’t complain about them. And since that’s nearly impossible for most humans who feel unfairly treated and badly used, I reiterate: you should not read your reviews.

2 - Bitch about not selling many books

Part of why you should not do this is…so much of success is about perception: the more successful you appear, the more successful you will be.

Well, okay. Not always. But certainly whimpering about poor sales adds nothing to your author cachet.

And anyway, it goes without saying. We are all anxious about our book sales. From the newbie author who just self-published her first book and is busily spamming her Facebook friends, to whoever is atop the NYT Bestseller list this week. We all worry that we’re not selling enough (and seeing that most authors aren’t selling enough to support themselves writing, fair enough) or that our sales are dwindling or that there’s too much competition.

I am appalled at the number of authors who post about their terrible sales or a mean review and then ask their Facebook friends whether they should keep writing.

What. On. Earth?

I’m not saying these aren’t valid concerns. I’m saying they are a given. Crying in public may gain you a little sympathy -- or pity -- but it doesn’t gain you respect and it doesn’t sell books.

Quite the opposite.

And if you need other people to tell you whether you should keep writing or not, let me help you out. No, you should not keep writing. Find something else to do. 

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