December 22, 2012

So you want to write a book PART 2

This has become necessary for me to write with some things i've noticed happening online and on facebook lately.

This is MY OPINION only- I do not speak for the masses, but I can't keep my mouth shut about things that don't sit right with me, or I feel need to be addressed.  With that being said, here goes...

Since EVERYONE and their freaking dog can self publish a book these days, there seems to be a few common courtesy's that people are forgetting once they actually do.
The minute you hit publish on the book that you've written, you need to remember...

YOU are now a BUSINESS.
YOU are your BRAND.
YOU are your IDENTITY.

I don't care if you still work for someone else and write at night, write on the weekends, or don't consider yourself a writer at all.
Did you hit publish?
Is your book for sale?
Can people buy it?
DO YOU WANT PEOPLE TO READ IT AND LIKE IT?
Then you're a business. 

YOU ARE YOUR BUSINESS, YOUR BRAND, YOUR ENTITY, YOUR IDENTITY, ETC.

So you need to behave in a "professional" manner, especially when it's really fucking hard to do so. (the professional jennster says fuck a lot)

People WILL write crappy reviews about your book.  And it will hurt, it will sting, it will make you angry, crush your ego a little, etc. There's really no way around that. But through all your personal, egotistical knee-jerk responses (because that's what it is- your ego is offended), you have to take a step back. 

You need to be able to look at reviews objectively. Sometimes, the harshest critics have the best advice. I've said it hundreds of times that I got my ass handed to me when I released my debut novel, In Dreams. I cried. I crumbled. I felt HORRIBLE on the inside. And at the time, I couldn't see exactly what was "so wrong" with it. But as I grew as a writer and as I differentiated between people's tastes in books versus their constructive criticism, I found that some reviews really had a lot to tell me. And it's the things they said that helped me address issues I never realized I had in the first place. Those critical reviews helped me grow.

IN ORDER TO BE SUCCESSFUL, YOU MUST BE WILLING TO BE UNCOMFORTABLE.

It doesn't serve you well as an author to personally attack reviewers.  It doesn't serve you well to sick your "minions" on someone who posted mean things about your book. Keep in mind, these people are not posting mean things about YOU, the writer (Unless they are. I've had people say i'm an idiot. I write like a 12 year old. I must think my readers are brainless, etc.  Which fuck yeah, that shit pisses me off cause it's offensive and how dare someone insult my readers and act like they are stupid, or act like I would EVER consider them to be stupid...) But most reviewers are talking about your book- which you have to keep in mind that while it's personal to you- it is NOT personal to them. They are merely expressing an opinion about your words, the way you've written them, your characters, your plot, your story.

I know that your brain knows that it's impossible to please everyone. But our ego's and hearts hurt when we read the reviews that rip our stories apart. The only way to get thicker skin is to go through the pain. It's hard to see the validity in things sometimes when our hearts are too busy breaking to be reasonable.

Which sort of brings me to another topic that is driving me up the freaking wall lately.

It does not behoove ANY debut author to have a group of people blowing smoke up their ass about their debut novel. It does a disservice to you as a writer- because it gives you a false sense of your writing skill and then when someone DOES say they didn't like your book, your immediate gut reaction is to think that person's the one with the problem.

Having less than honest reviewers and reviews on your book sucks for you- and sucks for other potential readers. People will start to question the validity of reviews entirely (if they haven't already) if this trend continues. Potential future readers will stop trusting the reviews they read on Amazon because they won't know if they came from a valid place, or not.

And having your debut novel soar up the Amazon Top 100 charts when it possibly shouldn't be there also gives you a false sense of entitlement. Unless your debut novel is something in the likes of Slammed, or The Sea of Tranquility- most likely you still have stuff to learn and reaching the Top 100 should be a legitimate goal that you work and strive for.

I am not trying to be mean. Please, please, please know that I am not trying to be mean to you. I love you. I'm simply trying to point out the fact that if you think you struck gold with your first book - then most likely you won't take the necessary steps to grow. You won't work as hard to improve yourself because you won't REALISTICALLY know what you need to improve.  When you surround yourself with people who are less than honest because they want to help you succeed- there's a fine line there. We all want to be successful writers. We all to be best sellers. But the truth is that most of us don't get there overnight... and certainly not with our debut novels.

I have more to say, but honestly... i've just completely forgotten the rest.  HA. 

15 comments:

  1. Found this via Cassie Mae's FB share. Excellent advice.

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  2. Well said and I could not agree with you more.

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  3. We have been seeing a trend emerging over the past few months where authors seem to be getting a hoard of "beta" readers and friends to read and critique their books who appear to have not been completely honest with the author about the content of their book. Beta has been put in inverted comma's there for a reason.

    A good Beta reader (or friend) is wholly invested in an author and their book and will critique with honesty and passion with the sole purpose of assisting that author to ensure their book is the best it can possibly be. It's not an easy job and it's not for everyone. Going back and telling someone you admire and respect that something isn't quite right with their work is by no means easy but it is your job and your responsibility to always give honest, constructive feedback if you are entrusted with the task of critiquing an authors book.
    Some readers are putting themselves forward to authors as beta readers as a means of merely being the first to read the book before anyone else. They don't get invested in the book or the author.
    They are not giving honest feedback as they think saying anything negative will have an impact on them not getting future books or that the author won't be happy to hear it. This is so not the case. The author picks Beta's for the purpose of working with them, being honest with them and helping them make their book the best it can possibly be. Instead they tell the author what they think the author wants to hear. This is unhelpful to the author and eventually the reader who purchases their book.

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  4. CONTINUED FROM ABOVE

    These beta's/friends then go and give false ratings of 5 stars on Goodreads and Amazon. I say false because I know of at least two beta's who gave books 5 stars and the feedback to me was that the book was terrible but they didn't want to upset the author or they wouldn't be asked to beta read again and thought giving the book 5 stars was expected.

    This is just cruel because it is actually throwing the author to the wolves. Better to hear from one beta that your book needs work than to hear it from 1,000 people on Goodreads or Amazon.

    When the honest reviews start coming in and they don't reflect the feedback from the beta's/friends etc of course the author is going to be upset. They have placed trust in these people to be honest with them and give them honest feedback.
    Yes, a negative review of your book is going to hurt. Of course it will. You've invested so much in it. You've had time taken away from your family, friends and you've given your heart and soul to that project.

    But read the negative reviews. If they are constructive and insightful they can actually be beneficial. If you get a negative review, come back with all guns blazing. Make sure your next book is absolutely fantastic and show the reviewers you mean business.

    Yes, some reviews are just plain mean, ignore those as J Sterling has pointed out. If they attack you personally that is totally unacceptable. If they just say your book was awful but give no reason why, ignore it. If they are commenting on the book and the issues they found, listen to them. They may not always be right but they could be helpful

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  5. LAST PART- LOL

    Trust your book to people who are beta reading with the intent of doing what is right by you and your book and have your best interests at heart. This is not telling you everything is wonderful and then giving you a false 5 star rating. You want your book to be receive 5 genuine stars from these people.

    This is a two way street. If you select honest beta's be prepared to take their critique with good grace. They are there to help you as best they can. They may not always be right and you may not always agree, but listen to what they have to say.

    Another thing we are seeing is a high incidence of grammatical errors and typo's in books. Readers are slowly but surely getting sick and tired of reading poorly edited books. Don't trust spell/grammar check. The books released for sale should be properly edited. Some books have been so bad readers have told us they have not been able to finish and returned them. It's so sad because some of these books have fantastic stories but the poor editing ruins it for the reader.

    Hoping the trend of inflated rankings stops because readers are noticing it and they are beginning to be very wary of books that suddenly receive twenty 5 star ratings just before release.

    Some are justified and some are not.

    As a reader/reviewer there is nothing better than immersing ourselves in a book and loving it. That's what we want. We want to love every book.
    Sometimes we will, sometimes we won't, but we will always be honest in our opinion because that is what our fellow readers want. They want honesty in reviewing.

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  6. Great stuff, good to know! Thank you.
    Your newest follower,
    Reyna
    @glamourglory
    www.GlamourGlory.com

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