Authors: If You Can’t Take Criticism, You Best Not Play

If you’re an author who proactively markets, you are well advised to have broad shoulders. I can guarantee you this, the more you market, the more visible you become and the more you try to help other authors based on proven strategies, the more the haters comes out of the woodwork.

Feedback

“Clickbait article.”

“This is crazy BS. And all to try to sell a book. And the book is “How to be #1 on Amazon”. And anybody who tells you that they can make you #1 or a bestseller is lying to you. Period.”

“Just more useless advice base on one person's vagrant opinions. Enough of the philosophising and let writers write. Them's my sentiments.”

These are a handful of comments I received from a blog post I wrote that I shared on LinkedIn.

NOTE: I purposely didn’t correct the spelling of the word “philosophising” in that this person is a writer, but didn’t check their spelling prior to posting. Things that make you go, “Hmmmm”

Get Out of the Kitchen

If you can’t deal with criticism, you may be tempted to hide out and play it safe. The reality is this; the more visible you become, the more you open yourself up to criticism.

This is especially true for authors who are proactive in the way they market. Add those of us who teach other authors how to market and the criticism temperature rises considerably.

Here’s the deal, “If you can’t stand the heat, get out of the kitchen.”

Stop You in Your Tracks

Some people are more than willing to dole out harsh criticism. Sadly, this stops many authors from marketing their books.

Fear of criticism is what prevents some authors from doing all they can to get their message out to market. The comments above would stop many people in their tracks.

Whether it be their books, information products, webinars, teleseminars or presentations, to be visible means you are setting yourself up as target for other people’s criticism, judgment and harsh words.

My feelings about the criticism? So be it.

Yet, it’s a topic that does need to see the light of day.

My response

Although I could have ignored the comments, I chose to respond with, “I take no offense to any of the comments. Everyone is entitled to their opinion. Not every author wants to make money. That's great. If you enjoy writing for the sake of writing, fantastic.

“But if someone wants to make money with their writing, in most cases, they must market. Whether it be the author or someone on their team or a company they hire, rarely can you not market your book.”

More committed than ever

The negative feedback makes me more committed than ever to educate authors on various ways they can market their books.

Again, if an author has no desire to make money, that’s fine. But for most authors, we love to write AND we love to make money with our writing. Making money means selling books. Selling books means marketing.

Seems for some authors, especially those who skirt around marketing, they haven’t connected the dots.

It’s Laughable

I laughed when I read the comment, “And all to try to sell a book.”

Well duh. Isn’t selling books what most authors want to do? If we don’t sell books, who’s going to read our work?

Again, if you write simply to write, that’s great. But if you’re an author who wants to make money with your books and use your books to create other opportunities such as speaking engagements, consulting contracts and coaching, you need to market.

You also need to develop broad shoulders to weather the negative feedback you are bound to get.

90/10% Rule

According to Dr Anita Sanz,Ninety percent of what anyone tells me about my book I figure is really giving me information about them and only ten percent is potentially helpful information about me or my book. I only need to pay attention to the ten percent, and it’s up to me to figure out what that ten percent is.

What is the 10% you need to focus on? And… are you willing to let go of the other 90% of feedback that likely isn’t worth paying attention to?

No feedback is worse than negative feedback. If you get no feedback it means you are so perfect you make no mistakes or no one is paying attention to what you’re doing.

The bottom line is this; if you want to play with the big boys and girls, you must put on your big boys and girls pants.

 

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Comments

  1. Well said and I’ll be very happy to share this with my Google author group. 🙂 You know what helped me to get over the bad review issue? Reading reviews for bestselling authors – Baldacci, Rollins, Collins, etc.. Wow, some of them are really brutal. I remember when Joe Konrath earned his first million and I used him as an example for a few of the authors I mentored a couple of years ago. His books garner some of the meanest reviews I’ve ever read and yet that didn’t stop them from selling or him from writing more books and he still has legends of fans (including me).

    • Kathleen Gage says:

      And I bet Joe Konrath is laughing all the way to the bank. If we can all remember, the more visible we become, the more we set ourselves up for criticism. It’s simply part of the territory.

  2. Getting the 10% feedback that is relevant information is certainly worth it. However, if I was a fiction writer I could see the 90% about them being fodder for character development. As a blogger, my intent is to provide helpful information. If others don’t see it that way and it’s their intent to let me know, it then becomes my prerogative to ignore them.

    • Kathleen Gage says:

      I agree. Relevant information is highly valuable. Where I take issue with some feedback are the people that will write something like, “This is BS” with no explanation.

  3. Love your attitude to the comments and your choice not to respond in the way they probably expected of you. Yes we all have to market to sell and after all if we know our stuff is good there is no fear from within. As you say it is a reflection oftme of the reader. great points xxx