Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Three Things Writers Do to get in Their Own Way

I've coached and worked with writers for years. All facets of talent have come across my desk. So today what I want to share are the top three things I see writers do to sabotage their own success.

Giving up -- yes, giving up is no. #1. At the first sign of low sales or reviews not kicking off enough sales (in the author's mind), some author will give up. They won't feel the project is either successful or successful enough. And to discuss the "enough" word. What is your idea of success anyway? Becoming a no. 1 best-seller? Or is it possible that your book touched and changed one life. Your book made someone's vacation perfect. Your prose made someone happy. We have this view of success in society based on monetary rewards, and don't get me wrong money is important. I just hate to see an author feel like a failure because they only sold 500 copies, which is actually a lot.

Speaking of quantity of copies ... here is the next thing authors do get in their own way -- not enough copies sold. I'm here to share that if you sold 500 copies in this competitive market, you've sold a lot of copies. Imagine 500 people standing in the room, and they all read your book. Wouldn't we call that a crowd? A "crowd" of people read your book. Here is another way to look at it. Your next project will have that extra leg-up when those same 500 people buy your book and then another maybe 1,000 buy the next one. Is 1,500 people standing in a room a crowd? I would say "yes". So don't get down on yourself because you only sold 500 copies. You have to start somewhere.

Flogging your editor because there are a few small mistakes in your book. This one is my personal pet peeve. Here we go with my jelly bean analogy (I use this one all of the time). Take 50,000 black jelly beans. Pour them on a big white board. Now go find the flawed jelly beans. When I use that analogy you won't believe how many people's eyes light up with the realization, "Wow! That's hard!" So, yes editing a 50,000 word novel is hard work and worth about 10 years of bifocals. If someone has the audacity to tell you that on page 50 you have a mistake and you feel really bad and now your book is (in your mind) loaded with errors ... um ... go to jail, don't pass go, and pay your tired editor $200.

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