Earlier today, author Kelly Moran commented on a post I made regarding my books being on a pirate site again, and the lack of assistance I was getting from a former publisher in having my no-longer-in-print from them books removed. She pointed me to an article she wrote about what we, as authors, wish our readers knew and understood. It's an excellent and straightforward article, which is reprinted here with her permission. You can find the original on Goodreads by clicking on the title of the article. Thank you again, Kelly for allowing me to reprint your words here. Readers can visit Kelly at her website, and all her social media, which is listed on her contact page.
In case you haven’t guessed, I’m an author. I love being an author. It’s what I’ve always wanted to be from the time I first started reading as a kid. Not only that, but it’s something I have to do. Yes, have to. We creative types are lost and broken without the ability to make our characters heard. In that regard, here’s a list to take into consideration.
Top 10 Things Writers Wished You Knew:
• Oddballs. Yes, we are. We know it. We may be at your Christmas party or summer BBQ with 200 people, but sitting alone. It’s because we’re watching. Plotting. We often live in our own heads and are sometimes socially awkward because make-believe is where we exist. Don’t take offense. We probably still love you.
• Money. Contrary to popular opinion, we’re not rolling in it. Getting published doesn’t mean we’re resting easy and hiring maids. You’d cringe to find out what the average advance is nowadays. Unless you hit the bestseller list with more than a few books and stayed there, it’s pretty safe to say we’re in the ballpark of middleclass. And that’s the traditionally published with larger houses. Never mind the small press and Indies out there.
• Work. Eh hem. Let me be clear. We. Do. Work. We don’t watch Hallmark Channel and eat Cheetos all day. Unless we got a really bad review, but I’ll get to that. Seriously, though. I can’t tell you how many times I heard: “So-and-so isn’t doing anything, ask her.” “So-and-so stays home all day. She has the time.” “It must be nice.” Sigh. Working from home takes discipline. It’s not easy. Yes, I get to stay in yoga gear and suck coffee through a straw, but I’m working. Let me lay this out for you. On average, we produce 2-3 books per year (80,000 to 100,000 words/300-500 pages.) That means written, polished, critiqued and ready to send off to our publisher. Besides doing the actual writing, we have 1-2 manuscripts coming in from our editors for rewrites and editing changes to the books written before publication, and this process sometimes happens 10-20 times, depending. To top that off, we have the books being released that have to be marketed, toured and talked about for sales – which means attending online parties through blogs and Facebook pages, physical book signings, and making sure our presence is known. Throw in conferences and everyday family life? Throw in critique partners and street teams? Yeah. Enough said.
• Say What? There are several phrases we authors lump into this category. Here’s a few that make us facepalm. “What’s your real job?” “If I had the time, I’d write a book.” “You should write about this…” “That’s so cute.” “Are you any good?” “When are you going to write a real book?” I kid you not. We get these, and many more, all the time. I once had someone say, in front of a room full of people, “I like to read romance books between real books because they’re mindless. Any monkey can read or write one.” Yep. I’m a romance writer. And proud. Watch what you say, people.
• Feelings. We may be odd, but we have feelings. When you didn’t care for one of our books and then slam it in a review–or in person–it kinda kills us dead inside. I read too. There are a lot of books I didn’t care for, but I would never say some of the things I’ve read or heard. Tact, people. Tact. There’s a living, breathing person behind those books. You can still hate the book with the fire of a thousand suns, but use discretion when leaving those stars on sites.
• Grammar. We silently correct it in your posts, tweets and in person. Always. Al-ways! Sometimes we judge you too, but won’t say so. We also text in full sentences. Get used to it.
• Engage. A little secret. We like author stalkers. Not the dead roses on the doorstep kind, but those that follow us on Facebook or Twitter, leave emails, attend events, and comment where appropriate. Even on non-writing things. The more like/comments/retweets a post gets, the more people see it too. Just so you know, we do this for you. We like connecting with people through our words and like knowing that we touched you in some way. Not inappropriately, of course. Clothing optional.
• Freebies. We get asked a lot for a signed copy of our book to “try” out. We often hear, “I gave your book to a friend.” Okay, thanks. Very cool. But, um…it would benefit us more for you to spread the good word so they can buy their own. Also, some of us have street teams, go to conferences, attend book signings, or host giveaways. These things aren’t cheap, nor are the eBooks and paperbacks we donate. Be grateful. Understand that money and effort goes into these things. If you can’t use swag that was gifted to you, pass it on to someone else instead of throwing it out. Libraries and book clubs are a good place.
• Reviews. I cannot stress enough how important they are. Leave. A. Review. Pretty please. The more reviews, the more exposure. Goodreads, Amazon, B&N, Kobo, and iTunes are the ones coming to mind. It takes a few minutes of your time and means the world to us. The biggest way to support an author or book is to leave a review. Every. Time.
• Pirates. And not the sexy “arg” kind. There’s been a lot of talk lately about Amazon’s return policy. (If you don’t know, you can buy an eBook and have 7 days to return it.) People are one-clicking, reading, and returning it within the grace period. Here’s the thing…Amazon is not a library. By doing this, you are physically taking money out of an author’s pocket. The editor, cover artist and agent’s too. Hard earned money by working. (See above post.) In addition, there are a number of pirate sites that have our books listed for free. If it’s not the publisher, Retail Daily Deal, a bonafide library, or an author-posted giveaway…it’s stealing. Plain and simple. You may as well walk into a Starbucks with a loaded water pistol and demand all the frappes. At a get-together not long ago, this discussion came up. Someone said, “Is it wrong? Yes. Will I keep doing it? Yes. It is what it is.” *Grinds teeth* It is the equivalent of someone taking one hour off your paycheck “just because,” that’s what it is.
Anyway, there you have it. Please take these things into consideration and use this newfound information for good. Go forth into the world and be happy, well educated readers, for you now know the inside scoop on authors. Godspeed.