Truth be told, as a writer we accomplish the near impossible: we actually finish our novel, tie in our plot and pour out our souls. Once we publish our little masterpieces, we are unabashedly naked, exposed, vulnerable and hanging by our thumbnails for feedback. Well, let me warn you; feedback is subjective, and though it is often heartfelt, it can also be manipulative, false, arrogant, biased and sometimes, though not very often, useful.
Once your novel is out there, be prepared to be praised, ignored, insulted, ridiculed or admired. All meaningless reactions when it comes to sales. I appreciate it beyond words when friends not only take the time to read my books but also take the time to respond with a note or a call. This kind of support is priceless and it comes from the people who care enough about me not to distance themselves from a pat on the back, a comment or a few good words in an email. But unless your caring and valued friends are spreading the good word on dozens of social networking reading sites, the good words will do nothing more than warm your heart.
Let’s talk about selling your book. The most important thing you can create as a writer is a fan base. This fan base will always buy your books because they like the way you write. They may not buy all your books but they’ll spread your good name around social networking sites and your sales will increase, and your fans will increase. In terms of the math here, this fan base is more important than your mother, father, best friend, worst enemy and even the professional critic that gave you all those accolades. Good reviews will not even sell your books, but what will sell your books are the reviews that get passed around the internet by your fans. Your fan base will be found among your target audience. You must recognize who that audience is, seek them out, give them free copies and send them bookmarks. Nurture your relationship with them, be available for book club discussions when they ask for you, and if possible, even offer pre publication copies of your new books.
Anyone who writes knows that some reactions you get to your work will disappoint you in one way or another, and for one reason or another. As a writer, you will discover friends who aren’t, friends who are, people with hidden agendas who will withhold commenting on your books, which simply translates into “I hated it.” Hating your book is their issue, not yours. People who withhold admiring you and praising you for a job well done are not the people you want in your sphere anyway. Arrogant people bore me, withholders bore me even more.
As a writer, you have to be an observer, a storyteller and a beast. Really, you have to be a beast. When all the snarly people who judge you harshly stalk you in the forest of creativity, simply eat them alive and spit them back out. They really don’t taste very good anyway. Expect nothing less from your friends and family than honest praise and expect nothing more from your enemies than silence. Give all your professional critics room to critique you. And hug your fan base, feel flattered when they love you, listen when they don’t, and continue to open up your heart to all the right people.
As a writer, don’t be sensitive outside of your solitude. The Beasts in the forest of creativity will attempt to destroy your confidence in a myriad of ways. For one, they can’t do what you do and if they could, could they do it as well? Listen, they aren’t in your fan base … so take aim … and move on.
Vera Jane Cook
Dancing Backward In Paradise was published in November 2006. The book has received rave reviews from Armchair Interviews and Midwest Book reviews, as well as an Eric Hoffer and Indie Excellence award in the Literary fiction category. Hearts Upon a Fragile Bough was published in 2009. The book is a family saga that spans the twentieth century, soon to be followed by its sequel, At the End of a Whisper. To learn more about her books you can visit her web site at www.verajanecook.com
To contact the author send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org
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