Tuesday, July 27, 2010
You Can't Please All the People
1. "You're all crooks."
Not sure what crooked company I'm keeping. Maybe I need to watch my back and avoid these sleezy sorts I'm cavorting with. Seriously, this person is probably getting rejected, doesn't want to learn the business, and writes off everyone in the biz. Unless I give this person what she wants, which I have no clue what that may be, she will be disgruntled. Unless I master mind-reading, I'll never win this person's loyalty.
2. "Your original advertisement was deceptive. I need monies to get my first book published."
The most common question I receive is how to get a grant to pay for self-publishing a first book. I can't name one. FundsforWriters posts grant calls, but most of them require you prove your expertise as a writer. In some cases that means a work sample, but in many other cases, it's publishing credits, education degrees or a freelance portfolio. Grants are also affiliated with retreats, conferences, fellowships at institutions, travel opportunities and many more writing experiences. But no one anywhere, to my knowledge, is handing out grants to unproven writers who want to test their hand at writing via self-publishing. If I find one, I'll post it.
3. "You don't provide the right grants that help me."
Again, I've got to get that mind-reading thing down better.
I try to be all things to all writers, but reality tells me it ain't going to happen. Same goes for your writing. Be prepared for negative feedback. Hey, I didn't like Barbara Kingsolver's Poisonwood Bible, considered a classic. I'm not a fan of Stephen King's endings. No, I haven't read Dan Brown. Are these authors losing sleep because they missed the mark with me? Nope. They are selling books to the customers who love them, and that's how it's done.
Your job is not only to avoid being all things to all people, but to recognize who the people are you are supposed to be writing for. If you could design a Stepford Wife robot that epitomized the perfect reader for your writing, what would it look like, where would it work, how old would it be, what would it like to do, what social interests would it have, where does it hang out?
Before you write this exercise off as wasted effort, realize that knowing all this information tells you how to advertise, blog, and self-market your writing. Find out where these people are and go to their havens - become one of them. Rubbing elbows with your style reader is how word-of-mouth lights a spark and takes off.