Tuesday, June 7, 2016

You SUCK! Why....Thank You.

One of the questions I'm often asked about is reviews and how I handle getting bad ones in particular. You can't live in a bubble. You can't please everyone. You have to know what your strengths and your weaknesses are as a writer and compose around them.
Someone pointing out your mistakes in a novel feels like an entire class room pointing at your nose zit. It's okay to feel like that, but you have to shake it off. How? Change how you think about your audience and what it means to please them. Widen what it means to be successful. Remind yourself that not every successful writer is a good writer. Sometimes, one successful element in your book can carry your career. Look at some of the top selling books of our time right now. (You know what book I'm mostly talking about...doncha??)
"But people are mean to me." Yeah, but they can be wonderful too. "People are catty." Yeah... but mostly forgiving. Mostly. :) And those who aren't...well...reviews are an easy outlet for the angry, and for many, it is wielded like a weapon. But bad and even mediocre reviews prove that you've made it! You've reached out with your book and you gave someone feelings. Strong feelings. How cool is that?
Me? I look at those types of reviews and I love them! (Saying this usually gets me more ugly reviews, as if I'm challenging the mob. LOL ) I know that sounds fake, but I am telling you, I do! It's mostly because they drive me to better myself and my writing, but there's another side to it. I love them, because I use them. How many heroines and heroes in a story have an easy time of it? None. That would be boring!! It's the fight that rocks! It's the fact that someone is attacking you, trying to destroy you and all you have built. You are under siege, my friend...how will you react?
Will you curl up into a corner and cry about how no one likes you? Or will you pick up your pen again and say "If you think that was bad...wait until you see this!?" Then you keep writing, and writing for the fans who love you because it's what you were born to do. And the fans who love you, grow. And despite the people who can't wait to knock you down and rip on what you've created...you become successful. Whether it's because your writing improved, or because people are buying your book to see the train-wreck, laugh your ass to the bank.
The negativity failed, and you have won. What better encouragement can you get than one that drives you to fight for success?

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

What If?

There's a sense of fear that grasps you when you are days away from your official release date.

It's hard to explain to anyone who hasn't gone through it, but suffice it to say--the book publishing industry gives me panic attacks.

Why? The what-ifs.

What if everyone hates my book? What if I don't have enough of a presence online? What if there is some brand-spankin' app I don't have that I would need to have in order to capture the attention of my demographic? What if I miss a deadline for a contest that could earn me more readers? What if I don't belong to the right groups? What if my guest blogs blow? Hard.

Already, before this book has hit the shelves, I've run into a few moments, standing by myself, where the sheer weight of success feels heavy on my shoulders.

I'm reminded of that song "Lose Yourself" by Eminem. "If you had...one shot...or one opportunity, to seize everything you ever wanted, would you capture it? Or let it slip?"

As cheezy as that is (yes with a Z), that's how you feel when you see your book and think...if I could just get people to read this...great things could happen. :) So how do I get them to read it? Do I spam the shit out of them until every time a tweep or FBF person blinks they see my cover? Probably not. I hate when I friend someone and the first interaction we have is them trying to get me to buy their book, join their page, sing them a song. ...okay that last one just slipped in there.

I want to promote without being obnoxious. Is that even possible these days? All I can do is hand out little cards with my name on them and my book cover to people I meet who seem kinda cool.

The problem is, I'm not always slick. I'm good with words on paper, but when I open my mouth to speak them, I'm often awkward. I sound more deranged than I do articulate. Last night I actually handed a funny woman one of my disk-shaped cards and said "Hey if you're a reader, try my book wouldja?"

I swear, those words actually came out of my mouth. The best part is the "wouldja". I laughed at myself all the way to my car thinking...it's a good thing I'm not a lonely guy looking for a date. I'd be doomed to spank it into eternity.

But that's another what if! What if my saleswoman skills suck? I was once told that I failed the shoe sales test. I went in for a job, thought I answered all the questions correctly...only to be told I didn't have what it takes to sell shoes and couldn't be hired. As an aside, I now wonder if that was really a thing or if the manager just didn't like how bubbly I was or something. She did seem a little bitchy.

I digress.

After obsessing for the last week or so over all my what-ifs, I've brought myself back down to a calmer reality. Truth is, there isn't much an author can do to stand out. We can visit with our readers, try to give back to the writers who haven't received their publication yet, and most importantly...we can keep writing! I'm going to keep writing while doing promotions here and there because really...I think what will really take me to success mountain, is word of mouth. If people like my book, they are going to talk about it. I just have to make sure the biggest mouths in YA are talking about me. :)

Thanks for stopping by today!