Monday, November 17, 2014

Writing 101: What Other People Think

Remember when you were growing up and your parents or parental figures told you "just be yourself?" When you become an indie author, you've got to disregard all that advice. In a way, the author's career hinges upon the opinions of others.And that means the last thing you really want to do is be yourself. What other people think is very, very important...and it's going to be harder to face than you think. 

What I Think...

What other people think of you as an author is important, and if you don't use a pen name then how you act in life becomes a part of the picture as well. I always advocate using pen names because it's the easiest way to keep your true self and your author persona separate. As an author, you can't get political or religious or express too many opinions. That might affect your readers. The exception is, of course, if you write political or religious books. But if you write ordinary genre fiction, you've got to keep it buttoned up during election season. It feels impossible. I know it's hard for me. But what other people think is always going to matter when you're an author. It matters even more when you're an indie.

Other people may think indie authors are a joke, or that you personally are. They may think you're too young, too old, too fat or too thin. It's going to hurt. You're going to read things you wish you hadn't, and regret writing tweets that you already posted. You're going to find yourself thinking more about what other people think than you ever thought possible, particularly once the reviews start to roll in.

What other people think does matter, because you want to sell books. Sometimes, you will be able to win those people over. Stay professional, stay kind, and be receptive toward them and they may find that you're not so bad after all. But then there are times when you have to listen to what other people think...and then disregard it. It matters, but you can't let it dictate how you're going to write.

You're going to hear a lot of what other people think when you're an indie. You have to learn how to take it in and process the parts that matter. And all the rest? Smile, nod and keep on writing.

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