Your book. Your Business.
We’ve been doing this series of business things, mostly on contract details that are often overlooked. Now, I’d like to talk to you about the author community. (Since my assistant reminded me to blog! Flu is running through my family in a very strange manner! I'm exhausted, so bear with me, and hopefully, you'll understand what I'm saying.)
Your author friends can be some of the best friends you’ll ever find. However, sometimes, there is a snake in the grass. He/she may be seen as someone grand, but, if you do research, you may find a lot of things wrong with what they’ve told you. Others, who don’t want to see or who drink the koolaid won’t see it until it’s too late. Sometimes, even then, they can’t see it.
So what do you do when you have two opposing sides? Mostly, I recommend staying out of it. The community is a large one. However, there are times, when you must pick a side for your own conscience. Even then, I’d go with class. Be forthright in your opinions. Share sites that you found your information on, copies of legalities, screen shots, etc. as needed, but try to keep your opinion professional, regardless of how angry you are at the time.
How many times did we see backlash for authors rioting with readers? Or, let’s take it to the TV Realm for a bit. Who has seen Chef Ramsay’s Kitchen Nightmares (trademarks, etc. I’m not claiming any affiliation for or to them. This is used in fair use policy as an icon to deliver a point.)? The one with the ABC Baking Company? The people who went absolutely beserk on national social media? Even international? Just for the record, I want to be famous, but not in that way!
If you push people far enough, claim contracts say this when legally, they don’t say any such thing, you’re going to start looking like that. And while you may have your Sammy in your corner, well… think of how he comes off? Brute, bullish, and not very nice. He’s been eating’ Amy’s sauce too long…ie, drinking her Koolaid ;)
I have said things I regret. We all do. But, when it’s in the community, be extra careful. One, you don’t know who’s going to say what where, or, if you give an opinion in confidence, who that person may tell, or who will choose a person in another country over a longstanding friendship with you to be that spy or to give away your confidence. You don’t know who will turn down a friendship as close as sisters for a business or a person not worthy of the trust or loss of friends. You don’t know when it will come back to bite you in the a$$. You just don’t know.
While you don’t have to be a sheep and bleat all the latest fads, neither can you burn your bridges with bad manners and back stabbing because you never know when you will need that bridge to cross to a new level, and instead, are stuck. If you’re lucky, the material will still be there to build the bridge. But, if you wait too long, the materials will rot away into the landscape, or be swept away in an ocean of moving on with people who aren’t stuck on stupid or back stabbing you when you’re not looking.
In your social media contacts, marketing, ads, etc., be someone you can be proud of. Be someone whom the readers are going to flock to. Don’t become angry and sullen and hateful because you’re upset about something. Remember, the authors/readers/publishers will hear about it at some point, and you need to be able to honestly say you weren’t the one who started stuff, but you’ll finish it.
Er, I mean, don’t take stuff lying down, but don’t make a public debacle that will make the readers turn from you. Even if you’re right. Find the middle ground of sticking up for yourself, but not letting drama queens make you look bad for their bad behaviour and having their cronies come in and attack you too. Just, stand the high ground. Like Obe Wan in Star Wars. You’ll win on the high ground. You may lose friends you cared about more than yourself, but at least you didn’t compromise your moral standards and droop to their level of defending what they have no clue of which they speak, or of a free for all name calling douchebaggery.
Keep it classy. Keep it real. After all, it’s your book, your business.