If you’ve been a writer for very long you know the world around us is not very forgiving about our chosen profession. Partly because we are odd ducks, partly because our unique brand of success is to far out for them to imagine so they feel a need to point out what could go wrong. So you’ve probably had a few less-than-encouraging comments flung your way. If not, just wait; it’s coming. The important thing is, when you hear this stuff, take it with a grain of salt. Remind yourself that writing a book is an admirable accomplishment and the people who are putting you down (even if they think they’re just being helpful) have no idea how rewarding this life is – they will never have the satisfaction you have. Therefore, I prefer to just sit back, laugh, and prove them wrong.
- “I hope that’s not your final book blurb.”
Ok, the book is a work in progress. You are my friend, so I thought. My book blurb is a WIP too. Of course the final product is going to be refined. But me, Erin, am not naturally refined. Don’t ask me in a friendly manner what the book is about then inform me that I’m apparently “not even trying” to do a good job of describing it. Or should I be asking you to write the blurb for me?
2. “How much are you going to sell it for? Isn’t that kind of low (or high)?”
It takes most people at least a year to write and publish a book. Frequently more than that. Usually around 50,000 words. Self-edit. Professional edit. Beta reviews. Book design. Marketing. Publishing. Trust me, we know what our book is worth. I know you think it’s not a big deal, mainly because we get to work from home, but we work just as hard as anyone else and we are trying to (a) make our book affordable for our readers and (b) still make a living off it.
3. “That’s your cover? Shouldn’t there be an actual picture?” or “Isn’t the picture too much? Maybe tone it down a bit.”
Just as not everyone will want to read your book, not everyone is going to like the cover. Just let this one roll off. If the majority of your readers like it and it’s unique enough to stand out, go with it. You can’t make everyone happy.
4. “Are you taking classes to make sure you can manage a book?”
Thanks, I just finally got done with college. I am essentially teaching myself this whole business though. Rest assured, I am learning everything I can about every aspect of marketing, tracking sales and royalties, target audience, and tons of other stuff. Just because I chose not to take a specific class does not mean you need to assume I can’t handle what’s coming.
5. “Who’s going to design your cover? Edit your book? Format the manuscript?”
Gee, I don’t know…and who’s going to hold my hand while I cross the street? Look, I get it, you think you’re being helpful. But don’t say it in such a way that I think you think I’m just going to wing it. I’m doing my homework. It’s my book – my baby. I appreciate constructive criticism, but please bear in mind that all this is my profession; I’m not going to shrug off the details.
6. “Will you be giving out free copies?”
Now, when I said, “This is my profession,” were you under the impression that I am a non-profit author? Yes, if you are a business, library, school, etc. who would like to host an event such as a book signing or a launch party or if you would like me to come and speak or if you are interested in getting an ARC, then sure, your organization may have a free copy. But you? Just you who wants my book and wants it free? No, sorry. You don’t go to the shoe store and expect free shoes. Why? ‘Cause that shoe maker needs to live.
7. “Are you sure it’s good enough to publish?”
Thank you for your vote of confidence! And “Good enough to publish,” to me is formatted, edited, proofread, and printed. So there, it’s published. Good enough to be a success? Now that’s different. And I don’t know but I can’t wait to find out! Because I LOVE TO WRITE. If it’s not a “big success” then it’s simply a lesson for the next book. And I’ll just remember not to make the you the head of the cheer leading squad.
8. “Let’s be partners for your next book! I’ll come up with the ideas, you write them, and we’ll split the profits.”
Boy does that sound like the ultimate fair business deal! You THINK and I WORK!!
You: “The story will be about aliens breeding sheepdogs.”
Me: Takes 4-10+ months to write roughly 50,000 words about the aliens’ struggle to build a thriving breeding farm despite finding out they are allergic to sheepdogs, edit, get it proofread, format it for print and ebook, design a cover, create a marketing plan, choose a sale platform, figure out royalties, find the target audience, AND SPLIT THE PROFIT WITH THE PERSON WHO HAD AN IDEA.
Ok, so that turned out slightly more sarcastic than I planned it to be, but you know what I mean, right? For the record, I DO welcome constructive criticism, I only ask that you use the same tact and respect you’d want from me.
Relating to any of these? Have any of your own to add? Just remember you are a great writer, you’re going to finish your book (or other project) and the people who have never written a book, just take their comments with a grain of salt and move on.