Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Actions and Reactions

Happy Wednesday, everyone! Today I'm talking about something that hits kinda close to home: Actions and Reactions. No links to click today, so you can just sit back and read along with your cup of coffee or tea, and try to enjoy yourself. Ready? Let's get going!

As a self-published author, your attitude, actions, and everything connected to you is part of your brand. I'm not talking about visual branding, we all have logos or something like that. What I mean is the feeling someone gets when they see you or your books. It's that intangible thing that connects you to the people you count on to make a living: fans.

I see a lot of authors shooting themselves in the foot with the way they behave when something happens to them. Someone does the author wrong, and a rant is shortly thereafter posted somewhere the general public can see.

Why does it matter?

Because when you have a visceral reaction to something and blast it all over social media, it follows you forever. Not for the moment, for the week, or for the month. It's searchable for the rest of your life.

This article by an acquisitions agent spells it out in plain words: you will be researched if you submit a book for publication consideration.

That means the agent is going through all your social media accounts. They'll check you out well. If you've behaved badly, it's likely your book will hit the trashcan without another thought.

Authors have to be careful. I recently saw a post on Facebook where a very popular blogger asked the general public what would turn them off a writer's work forever.

Know what the number one answer was?

Yup. A rant by the author on a public space. Didn't really matter what the rant was about, either. You rant, and fans leave. There are so many authors out there for readers to choose from, they don't have to stick with you and your books.

Keep that in mind.

Also consider the ramifications of your actions to the human you're reacting to. We're all human. We all screw up sometimes. Does it really need to be made public?

Why not choose to be the bigger, better human?

I understand the desire to lash out at someone who's made you angry. You have every right in the world to do so.

Just, maybe, do it privately. A little Grace will go a long way.

God forbid you walk into a room and everyone points and whispers, "There's that author that bashed XYZ. Can you believe she had the nerve to show up here?" And all the while, you're thinking they have good things to say. You smile and they smile back. But it was that one time, that one thing you did, five years ago, that was so egregious people can't forget it.

It's easier to remember the bad things about a person.

I learned the following when I was in training for a customer service position at a major tel-com company: When someone loves you, they'll tell a couple of people. When you screw up, they'll tell anyone who'll listen.

Truer words were never spoken.

Your books are your business; don't give them a bad name by doing something because you're angry. It doesn't go away.

What advice do you have for angry authors? Talk about it!

Well, that's all for today, folks! Until next time, WRITE ON!



  1. Excellent post. I've seen authors get in online battles about reviews readers have left. This is rampant on Goodreads. Just don't. Or authors complaining online about the publishers, etc. In private, express your opinion, but never online. My thinking is that I produce a product. It's for the readers to decide if it's for them, or not. Also, and this is a tricky one, I try not to post anything too political or religious or anything offensive on my authors pages, blogs, etc.

    1. And that's exactly right, Rebecca. Your books are your business, and your author page is your business's face. Well said! Thanks for the comment!!

  2. This is absolutely the best advice for authors.

    1. I do hope some listen. :) Thanks for the comment, Casey!!

  3. Great post, Jo! Author's also need to be cautious about "private" rants. Sometimes, the places we think are private and safe to vent online actually aren't all that private.

    1. Right? Perhaps I should've specified to "call your mother on the phone and vent to her as long as she promises not to repeat anything you say" when you need to get it out. ;) haha! No venting online. Even private groups can be changed to public at any time. Thanks for the comment, Stacie! :)

  4. There is the age old method of dealing with anger that involved writing a letter. Pour out your thoughts on the paper. Let 'er rip! And then, do just that - put the letter in the shredder. Just getting those thoughts out on paper can be enough - for me, anyway.

    1. That's a great idea! Burning it, too. Then there's the satisfaction of watching the paper curl and blacken. LOL! :)


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