“Why do you have to be so mean?” I don’t consider myself being mean. I’ve been writing for a long fucking time. I published my first book in 2011. There, I was naive and stupid. Things I know now, I wouldn’t have done way back then. I haven’t been hardened yet, but I guess I’m a whole lot meaner than what I used to be. After following bad advice after bad advice, I’ve learned and studied my craft hardcore. That’s when I took all my nice little books off the shelf and they haven’t returned to the shelf ever since. Maybe they will, I don’t know. But in that hard work and studying, I read a ton of books. Not one book will ever be 100% perfect. I can find errors quickly. I look for that shit as a writer/reader. There are things that really piss me off. Here are the following annoying things that tick me off.
- Demanding me to retweet your books. I don’t retweet books that I haven’t read. There are probably over 10,000 authors on Twitter, begging people to buy their books. Normally when someone is that demanding, I unfollow and block them. Seems childish? Maybe but I don’t retweet books, I haven’t read. That’s false advertising and expecting me to give you a great review when I haven’t even seen what your book is all about. If you’re going to constantly come at me with “Why haven’t you retweet my books?” I’m going to say goodbye. See ya later.
- Failing to edit your books. A simple concept but so many “writers” love publishing shit and taking advantage of readers. I don’t enjoy paying $20.00 a book and finding out that you can’t tell the damn difference between your and you’re; pique, peek, and peak, and other crap that’s basic grammar.
- Going to author groups and being sucker-punched. The holier than thou types. The ones who claim they have a best-selling book, when in fact they either don’t list their books or they have even fewer stars than you do. But they managed to get their gang of writers who are just like them and they corner you. I tell new writers to avoid bitchy groups.
- Back-stabbers: Those are the authors that enjoy bombing newbies who just released their first book. These writers hide in their pathetic groups and wait for fresh meat. They don’t read your book but they’re the ones who enjoy giving you a one-star review. We’re in a competition with each other. Don’t hate the player, hate the game.
- Begging me to switch books for a five-star review. I don’t buy, trade, or beg for reviews. But I get this all the time. “Will you give me a five-star and I’ll give you a five-star in return?” Yes, there are authors who do that shit. They take advantage of readers and thus looking all pretty with their endless five-star reviews. As a reader, you go to read it and you can’t understand their problematic books. This happens more with self-published books than traditionally published books.
- Retaliation reviews. I received a tweet that threatened to make my life a living hell, if I give her book a one-star review. She no less threatened to bomb all of my books with one-star reviews. I told her to have at it. If it makes you feel splendid, go for it. But I told her that I give honest reviews. I don’t blow smoke up a writer’s ass. Why would she threaten me unless she knows that her book super sucks? That’s a red flag for me.
- Bad writers giving bad advice: This goes with the whole group mentality. So many writers believe they cornered the market on selling books, when in fact they haven’t sold shit. These hide in a brilliant disguise. When they give bad advice, your own writing sucks. If you want the best advice, read other books. Study grammar books. Study how a story should flow. Don’t take some writer’s bad advice. And there are quite a few bad writer’s group.
- Shattering a new writer’s hopes and dreams. You tell them you’re a new writer. They go on these huge rants about how we already have enough writers. You have nothing to add. You need to pick a new profession. This is where that thick skin comes into play. They have a few others that gang you in a group and make sure you know that you’re unwanted.
- Authors posing as editors. There are a ton of them out there. My rule of thumb is to meet them in person. If you can’t meet them in person, you don’t need them. Don’t hire them. Find someone who is local.
- Thinking you don’t have to edit your book, because your publishing company will do it for you. I don’t care what a publisher puts on that book. When you give me that advance review copy, it better look pretty. You’re the damn writer, check your shit before you send it to your editing team. Editors won’t catch, all of your errors. They make mistakes all the time. I couldn’t begin to tell you all the books I’ve seen that have switched to second person. I can’t get them when they have dialogue but I can get them if it’s in the main body of work. Missing quotation marks, failing to capitalize the first letter or word after a period, overkill on commas, overkill on em dashes. I spot that shit quicker than anyone. I will write a nice little note to their publisher, telling them what needs to be fixed. I don’t care. That shit should have been fixed before it was distributed to me. Word to the wise, it better be a clean copy. I dock stars for that shit. I don’t care if you have a contract or you’re self-published. By the time I read it, that book needs to flow like water. If I have to spend a large amount of time, deciphering sentences, there goes another star. I don’t have time to re-read the same sentence twenty times. I’ll write a nice little note stating the problems. It’s up to them if they want to fix their shit. If not, I hope they’re prepared to receive one-star reviews.
It may seem like I’m being a bitch. But I’m prone to blunt honesty. I can go to sleep at night, knowing I told the truth. Knowing, I didn’t scam people out of their hard-earned money. Not in this day and age. People are scared and they don’t know if we’ll wake up the next morning in another great depression. It’s our job to make sure they can drift away to a place in their minds. When we tell a great story, those readers won’t put that book down. They will thirst for more from you. When you put out a bad book, whether you’re traditionally published or self-published, you make all of us all look bad. Readers will become frustrated once they pick up book after book of poor quality.
- Have your friends and family members help you with self-editing after you ran through your work-in-progress a few times. It’s hard for writers to find their own mistakes. Sometimes, a fresh pair of eyes will help.
- Hire an editor. Make sure your editor knows everything about your book. That way they can give you advice on how to fix it. They aren’t going to write your book for you. You have to do that on your own.
- Find beta readers or reading groups from the local library. They should receive your book after it’s been edited. Not before it’s been edited.
- Take it back to your editor for a final draft.
- Give out advanced review copies on Netgalley for reviewers. This gives you free publicity and it helps out with your reviews. That way when you put up for sale, you have the reviews.
- Believe in yourself. Nobody is going to instill confidence in you. You have to believe in yourself. And everyone is going to receive a one-star review at some point. It’s how you deal with that negative review that will set you apart from the rest of us. Don’t threaten reviewers. Don’t type in something snarky. You will be called an obnoxious and self-righteous twit. Don’t respond to reviews at all. If you do, make sure you say this… “Thank you for taking the time out of your busy schedule to read my book. I’m honored that you selected my book in the first place and I appreciate your honesty.” That’s it. It’s simple and sweet. You can buy more bees with honey than you do vinegar. Yes, that sounds trite but it’s the damn truth.
“Truth? You can’t handle the truth!”-A Few Good Men