Tag Archive | support

Anticipating the Holiday Rudeness

I have a friend who has been a cheerleader of my writing from day one. He often says “Don’t forget the little people when you make it big.”

I love his “when.”

Image courtesy of Salvatore Vuono at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of Salvatore Vuono at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Then there is someone in my life who has said, “Nice little hobby you have there. You won’t make any money at it.”

Or how about this comment, “Oh, so is that what you’re doing now? How nice for you. When are you going to get a real job?”

The holidays bring out the worst in people. I try to generally be gracious to those who don’t understand that my writing and editing is a real job and that I work very hard at it. I will be forever grateful for those people who have supported, encouraged and believed in me and my writing before I’ve made my mark on the publishing world.

So often authors cite parents or spouse as being those supporters. That’s not the case for me. My grandmother is a grand cheerleader though.

The comment I’ve heard before and expect to hear on Thanksgiving Day though is this: “How much money do you make?”

Stop. Wait. Excuse me? Where in any part of civilization is this an appropriate question? Between authors it might be acceptable in discussing the challenge to actually talk about *gasp* money, but if I went to my family members and asked how much they got paid for the work they do, well, they would be offended.

So what makes any of them think it’s okay to ask me such a question? Stephen King doesn’t make his tax return public knowledge, does he?

Since I write historical fiction I’m going to revert back to a more respectable time when people did not ask such questions. Wait. Even in Regency England a man was known by how much he made a year and it was used as a measuring stick to determine whether he was worthy husband material.

But I’m not looking for a husband.

So my response? “Thank you for your interest in my writing. In response to your question, it’s none of your business.”

Beth Ziarnik and me. She was the "Paul" to my "Timothy" at my first writer's conference (Write to Publish)

Beth Ziarnik and me. She was the “Paul” to my “Timothy” at my first writer’s conference (Write to Publish)

It isn’t. There is nothing that says I have to answer every question posed to me no matter how authentic and real I strive to be in my life.  Some things can be and should be private. The fact is, the amount of money I earn, much like the size of my clothing, does not determine my value in the eyes of God. He is the reason I write and yes, the IRS will know, but unless I start making millions, I doubt I will ever want to share that kind of information, especially with those who have not encouraged and supported me.

Will Smith has said “If you are absent during my struggle, don’t expect to be present during my success.” Well said, Will.

Have a wonderful thanksgiving and for those of you who have prayed, supported and encouraged me on my journey (and you know who you are!), I am thanking God for the gift of you in my life. I may not make much money now, but I’m rich in the relationships my writing has brought into my life.

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How to Help an Author

For those of you who read, be kind. Authors work hard for little to no pay compared to the amount of time they invest in the story you hold in your hands. If you have an author you love, do them a favor:

  1. Friend them or like their fan page on facebook. Subscribe to their blog.  Let them know you appreciate their hard work. They struggle with real life challenges just like you do. Follow them on twitter.  Help them get the word out when you know they have a book coming out and let people know you like them!
  2. Write a review on amazon, B&N, Goodreads, CBD. Be kind but also be honest. If you didn’t like something, it’s okay to say so. Just don’t be mean. And don’t pan them just because you didn’t like the book at all. If that’s the case, chalk it up to personal preference and walk away and do nothing. If they do a book signing, go meet them! They love to hear how you’ve enjoyed their books.
  3. Buy their books. Join their “book release parties” and be part of the fun and get to know them as people. (They really are flesh and blood humans!)
  4. If you see an unkind review that is just nasty – click the “unhelpful” button on that reviewer. The more we do that, the sooner some of them won’t be able to post things like that.
  5. I’m not saying every book deserves a five-star review, but unless I have to, I will rarely review if I have to rate low. Unless i have an excellent reason to do so. For instance I had to give a 1 star to a Regency that violated all the well-known facts of inheritance in the aristocracy. Not a hard thing to research but it ended up a key plot point. If the author had billed it a fantasy I would have let it slide , but come on! Basics should be right. Authors are human and errors happen so be kind when you can. Philippians 4:8 rings true here: “Whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things.” (NASB). Another way to put it: If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all.
  6. If you find an error in an ebook- instead of panning it – privately contact the author and let them know so they can correct it! You’ll be doing them a favor. They will most likely be horrified, but grateful.
  7. Pray for your favorite authors. There is an enemy that is trying to keep God-glorifying excellence in fiction from being written much less published. The fact is, if you like an author, their future ability to write and sell books lies more with you, the audience, than it does with their ability to write a book. Poor sales and reviews can keep a publisher from being willing to invest the time and energy in printing their books. If you really connect with an author, offer to be a beta-reader or to be a prayer warrior for them. It’s not about hero-worship, but about supporting and encouraging a fellow brother or sister in Christ as they pursue their calling.  When that book comes out you can smile and know that in some way, you got to be part of that. Hearts will be touched and doors to the gospel could be opened and you can be a part of that.

If we as a body of believers universal support each other, whether a reader or a writer, we can can help change the world, one heart at a time. One great story at a time (remember, Jesus used stories too!).  Thanks in advance for helping us all reach the world with hope.