Okay, let’s just start with a disclaimer: I’m not being serious. This is a fun, silly post. However, there are grains of truth in it, too. At least, I think so.
Now, today I’m going to tell you of ten things you need to do to survive as an author. Now, in this case, I primarily mean a published author such as myself, but some of the ten things also apply to you who have written a book/are writing a book but haven’t actually published because, unlike me, you’re patient enough to wait for a nice acceptance letter from a prestigious company. 😉
Seriously, though, guys, this is gonna be a fun post. And possibly an informative one. But mostly just a fun one. Because nothing I say here is meant to be taken serious.
At least not very seriously …
(And yes, I realize I haven’t taken my own advice … yet. But I will someday. You’ll see …)
1: Prepare a quick conversational summary of each of your books.
Here’s the reason why: You meet some random person and you say, “I wrote a book.”
YOU KNOW WHAT THEY SAY IN REPLY?!?! Yeah, you do!
“Oh, really? What’s it about?”
And then comes that twisted feeling in your gut. Your eyes open wide, you brace for impact, and there you are … at the post office … staring at the clerk … like a deer in the headlights. I HAVE SEEN DEER IN THE HEADLIGHTS!!! THEY ARE STUPID AND PITIFUL AND TERRIFYING!!! YOU WANT TO HIT THEM AND YET YOU DON’T BECAUSE YOU FEEL SO. DANG. SORRY FOR THEM!!!!!!
And you say, “Oh, it’s … about … a little girl … who lives in London.” WHAT THE WHAT?!?!?! That is NOT what The Dressmaker’s Secret is about, just to clarify.
But now I’m prepared. From now on, when an evil post office clerk asks me what The Dressmaker’s Secret is about, I can tell her about it. Not only that, but I can sell it to her.
That is, as soon as I come up with a conversational summary of TDS. Which I haven’t … yet. But I’m going to at some point. I mean it. 😄
Maybe one of you should come up with a quick conversational summary for me.
Seriously. Do it! If you’ve actually read The Dressmaker’s Secret, that is. Maybe I should make a contest or something … would that be fun? What do y’all want? And keep in mind that I have no money. So I can, um, put on a chicken suit and dance the Macarena for you, basically.
It’ll be great.
2: Don’t freak out when someone marks your book as ‘currently-reading’ (on Goodreads, I mean) and it remains in ‘currently-reading’ status for ten years.
This … has never actually happened to me before. I mean, not for ten years, but for a couple weeks. And I know the reason why, too (a friend of mine was reading it and her Kindle broke), but … still. Don’t freak out, dude.
Because it doesn’t mean he/she hates you book.
Actually, it probably does. Bury your head in the ground like an ostrich.
3: Don’t freak out when someone just rates your book and doesn’t write a review.
This has happened to me quite a bit. It happens to all authors quite a bit, without a single exception. Why do I say this? Well, take a peak at any book on Goodreads. It’ll usually say something like ‘1,000 ratings, 50 reviews.’ Un … bee … leave … able.
I’m as guilty of this as anyone. I have read 437 books (that I marked on Goodreads as ‘read,’ anyway) and only written 156 reviews. And I bet over half of those are just ‘will review later’ or ‘great book’ or ‘rotten book.’
So this is definitely a case of my shoving my log aside to reach for everyone else’s specks, but you know what? What do I care. THERE COULD BE 29 REVIEWS AND THERE ARE ONLY 21!!! *sobs*
I’m sorry. I don’t actually have ten whole things so I had to add random stuff in here and there …
4: Don’t freak out when someone writes a good review of your book.
People are always like, “Yeah, man, everyone gets bad reviews … it’s okay. I’m a-gonna write a whole blog post about how you can cope.”
BUT THAT’S NOT THE PROBLEM, NOW, IS IT??? IT’S THE POSITIVE REVIEWS THAT ARE HARD TO DEAL WITH!!!
After all, the positive reviews mean they liked it … but are they lying? No one lies in negative reviews obviously because who likes to be mean? But positive reviews? That’s a whole different ball game, baby.
Are they trying not to hurt your fragile first-time-author feelings? Is it just because they know you? Or is it because they take a malicious pleasure in building up your hopes, knowing you’re totally gonna get a bunch of bad reviews later?
Yeah, that must be it …
5: Realize that not everyone knows there are literally two zillion other writers out there.
And there are only 6 billion people on earth! Seriously, though. Most people are gonna think you’re something hot if you say in passing, “Oh, yeah, I wrote a book and published it.”
I’m not kidding. I’ve had that “Ohmygoshseriously?” reaction many, many times. And, sometimes, if you’re nice and actually read #1, you might sell a copy right there! I have.
Granted, I’ve only sold one copy that way … but there’s a chance. And it’s always good to get a non-author’s perspective on your book … because it’s getting harder and harder to get reviews from non-professional, non-writer readers.
6: Don’t panic every time you find a major plot hole in your novel.
I mentioned at the end of this post that I’ve found a lot of plot holes in Ivy Introspective that needed correcting, right?
Well, I found another one.
You know that poem, The Highwayman?
It was written in 1906.
Anyway, I kinda started to freak out (because that is an adorable scene and I’d hate to chop it!), but … then I remembered this point here. No freaking out over the plot holes.
The tremendous plot holes.
The gaping plot holes.
The plot holes which threatened to swallow me alive.
7: Know that, with perseverance, you’ll be that good someday.
You can start writing and expect to be Jane Austen. It takes years. All the time, I look around me and go, “What’s the point, even?” I mean, seriously, guys! Every Indie writer in existence is better at writing than me!!!
And formatting … and covers … don’t get me started!
So should I give up?
If I give up, these characters will buzz around my head for eternity. And I’ll go mad.
So don’t give up, fair partially-sane human being. You can do it.
8: Don’t take criticism of your characters personally.
I have a bad tendency to think my characters are me and then defend them as I would myself. Oftentimes I’ll end up defending things I don’t actually care about/believe in because of this. Do I think Mr. Knight is totally justified? Nope. But have I said I do? Yep.
9: DON’T WRITE WHAT YOU KNOW!!!
That’s what imagination’s for. So yeah. Stop telling me that. I’m a historical fiction writer. I KNOW NOTHING!
Seriously, though, do some research if you don’t know … and don’t say “okay,” like, before the 1920s at the very earlier. It’s sooo annoying!
10: THE TRUTH WILL SET YOU FREE!!!
Because I couldn’t think of a tenth point.
And that’s about it.
Before you go, Kellyn and Bailey’s Second Q&A Vlog:
Good bye and good writing,