author life Oct 01, 2020

We are working on a new book, and one of the three authors became rather demanding in regards to everyone else accommodating his schedule. He saw the world through his lens—I’m important, I have a schedule, I can only... 

When I heard those words, I immediately said to myself, “what a great blogpost idea—authors who become divas.”

Peeps, I’ve been in the business for twenty plus years, and I have worked with some really lovely people, and I have worked with some not so lovely people. Writing a book is like birthing a baby—it’s hard and messy and painful, and then, even if that baby is ugly, you think it’s the most beautiful creature ever to grace God’s green earth. But there is something about the person who decides that they are an AUTHOR (all caps intended) that is so off-putting, so pompous, and so know-it-all that it will drive readers away. 

So, I’m talking to you, the AUTHOR today. Ask yourself, do you want loyal and lifelong fans? The fan that buys every one of your books?  I promise that even if you, dear author, that if even if you never meet the reader face-to-face, your opinion of others will come through. And the word does get out, and you may say you don’t care, but you really should care.

"If I had to give young writers advice, I would say don't listen to writers talking about writing or themselves."—Lillian Hellman

Here are a couple of tips I’ll give you so that you don’t go down the path of Diva-hood.

Be respectful and kind to the little people. 

Who are the little people? The assistant, the spouse, the family, the bookseller, the bookshop manager, the friends, the distributor, the book reviewer, the waitress, the clerk, the teacher, the librarian. You get the point. When you demean these people in order to put yourself on a higher level, it shows what shaky ground you are on. The little people are the people who make up the masses of book buyers. These are the people who tell their friends and family about the great book they just read. These are the people who spend their hard-earned money on YOU. Just keep that in mind when you consider being unkind, impatient, and rude.

 You can’t do it without the little people.

Stephen Covey said: The little things are the big things. I’ll tweak that to: The little people are the big people. 

Talk less, work more. Be engaging, be proactive in promoting your work, be open to new ideas, AND let your fans and posse do most of the talking. Do everything you can to promote your work with the media—both social and print/digital: write articles, guest blog, contact your radio station, and your local paper. But, one of the most important ways to promote your work is to let your fans speak up for you (remember the above: Be kind to the little people). Let word of mouth do its thing. If people like you and your work, they will be happy to promote your book for you. It’s even ok to ask them to write a review or give you an endorsement—just don’t hound them to do it. 

When you stop talking, you allow new ideas, time, and space to come in. 

Be a mentor to the newbie.

Why? Because it’s the right thing to do. And because what goes around, comes around. So maybe a wanna-be author or a fresh-off-the-press author asks you about bookselling, book marketing, writing, and how to land a publisher.  Maybe they’ve self-published, independently published, published in the school journal, whatever. Maybe your experience is not similar to theirs. Who cares. You never know, that newbie may become the next Maya Angelou or Brene Brown or Stephen Covey. And their praise of you and their gratitude for your time and expertise may open new doors for you.

Your book is an extension of you, share the wealth. Live out of an abundance mentality. 

 Life is not about accumulation, it is about contribution.—Stephen Covey

Keep grounded. 

Life isn’t about your success or your book’s success, life is about paying it forward. Don’t let your success, or your perceived success, go to your head. Stay grounded by living the three principles stated above:

  • Be respectful and kind to the little people. All of these people will help get you to the pinnacle of success to which you aspire.

  • Talk less, work more. Let your work and your fans speak for you. Remember the adage, if you ran like your mouth, you’d be in good shape. 

  • Be a mentor to the newbie. Share the wealth of your knowledge and experience.



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