Thursday, January 13, 2011
Relatively speaking, I’m semi-new in the long scheme of things. My first published book was in 2008. There are many out there who have been publishing a lot longer than I have been, but I’ve also been around in the writing world for many more years than I’ve been published.
In any event, many writers decide they want to write a book themselves because they fell in love with the romance genre while reading one day. I’ve made no secret that my love for M/M romance is deeply rooted to my first picking up Without Reservations by J.L. Langley years ago now. I couldn’t get enough of reading it after this and I’ve never stopped and don’t plan to ever. I read this genre almost exclusively at this point. And I’m certainly not alone in this. So with that in mind, I have advice for some newly starting authors or readers who in the back of their head have thought about maybe one day.
Some Advice For New Writers:
You are going to get some really bad reviews. You will. Face it. No matter how many people luurve your books, you will get readers who will think, “what the hell” when reading your books. I’m not going to sugar-coat it and tell you it doesn’t hurt. It does. And guess what? It really doesn’t get any easier to hear, “this book sucked” from your first book to your twentieth. And here’s where the advice comes in. SUCK IT UP. You have to. Do not engage in a dialogue, even a polite one, regarding a negative review. Save yourself grief. Really. Don’t say a word. None. Don’t even thank a reviewer for reading your book. I know some do, I don’t, and there is absolutely nothing that says you must. I don’t even thank good reviews. As so many review sites like to state, the reviews aren’t for you, they are for potential buyers to use to make up their minds. Many readers don’t even read reviews. When I choose books to read, I rarely do myself. If you must weep and wail over a really nasty review, and you are human, so you probably will, do so with a buddy off the internet and move on. The internet is public and everything lasts forever.
It’s tempting. Sometimes reviewers mention something about your book that isn’t even in that book. “I hated the character of George.” You read this and think, “Wait? What? I don’t have a George.” Yeah, still don’t say anything. Honest. Those that have read the book will know there is no George and those that haven’t will just think, “wow, that author is obnoxious commenting on how dare you mention a George. There is no George.”
And for goodness sakes don’t even do this on a site like Goodreads which is HUGE. Don’t accuse someone who gave your book one star of pirating the book. It’s absurd for one thing and makes you look bad for another. Not liking a book and not paying for a book are two different things. Don’t encourage your readers who enjoy your work to defend you either. You don’t want to gain the reputation that you have “rabid” fans. And do not ever invent fake people on Amazon and Goodreads to defend you. Trust me, it has happened.
Nothing will harm your career more than being a dweeb on the internet. Nothing. Publishers, editors, agents, readers, etc., all know how to use the internet and Google. If they like what they have read of yours and Google you to learn more, and they will, and see posts after posts about what an idiot you are, well, you get the picture.
When you decide to publish your work you are putting your book out there for people to spend their hard earned money on. It’s what you want them to do.
But it also means you have to take that your books are open for discussion. Open for derision even. Yes. And they have every right to say what they think of your writing, whether what they say is fair or not. Full stop, here. They have that right.
And then you will get an email from a reader who will tell you they love your books. They read one, loved it, and went out and bought your entire backlist and loved all of them, too. It’s a wonderful feeling and it does happen, too.
Always be professional. You won’t regret it.