The Publishing Author’s Mindset – Dealing with a Bad Review

Bad Review

Bad Review

It will happen eventually, once your book is available. A bad review will drop, and you will actually read it.

And cringe.

What happens then totally depends on your mindset.

You could go into a death spiral of doubt and self-loathing, crying in devastation. You could lose sleep over this for at least three days, and it could stop you writing for a week or longer. Maybe forever.

Or you could laugh, cheer and keep writing with even more joy. You might print it and frame it and stick it on the wall at your writing desk, grinning every time you look at it.

Obviously, both reactions are a little exaggerated.

Now, we’d all prefer the second kind of reaction, but it’s hard to get there, right?

Because that bad review strikes at your heart.

That reader completely misunderstood your story.  They trampled on your characters, your world and your plot. Or they just dissed your book with no reason at all.

Either way, it hurts.

Because you gave your best effort, and they trashed it. Ouch.

The trick is to let go of the hurt. Here are some things you can do to take you there. Start by asking questions, and then try to see the review in a different light.

Is there valuable information in the review?

This is the first thing to check. If they do point out a mistake or a problem, fix it and thank them for pointing it out. If they have a point but it’s not working for your story, ignore it. If they just rant, it’s useless anyway and you can let it go.

Do you still like your story?

Maybe read it again, and remember how good it is. Dive into it and lose yourself in it again. Then go back to writing.

Distance yourself from the reviewer

If it’s just a rant, that review has nothing to do with you at all. This is simply about how the reviewer felt, and your book just wasn’t a good match with his taste or expectations. And maybe he or she had a really bad day, and they vented by dashing out a bad review and hitting send.

That review could be a good thing

Mane readers look for “balanced reviews” when they check out a book. If a book has only good reviews, they think that’s suspicious and those reviews were probably bought. (Yes. Really.) Which means you can reframe this bad review as one that “balances out” your reviews and actually helps to sell your book. And maybe it is so over the top that you can turn it into a marketing opportunity.

How does it feel now? Still want more help?

Here’s some tapping:

Even though I got a really nasty review, and it makes me feel terrible about myself and my writing, I’m okay the way I am, and I now choose to let go of those awful feelings.

Even though that review really hit hard, ow, ow, ow, I’m still okay the way I am, and I now give myself permission to grieve and then let it go.

Even though that bad review really hurt, I’m still a good writer, and I now choose to see it as a personal expression of that reader’s feeling, and to see it as a marketing opportunity. Yeah!

Your Turn:
Have you received a bad review?
How did you feel? How did you deal with it?
What happened while you were tapping?
And finally – what are you creating right now?
Please share in a comment.

Image Source: F. Moebius

PS: My newsletter contains a full tapping round to go with my blog posts, so it’ll be easier for you to get results. Sign up through the form on the upper right hand corner, and receive an introduction to EFT as a gift, find that specific tapping round plus occasional special offers. If you’re on a mobile and can’t see the sidebar, you can sign up through this link: Newsletter Sign-up.

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The Publishing Author’s Mindset – Getting Reviews

Getting reviews

Getting Reviews

Everyone knows we authors need reviews. The more the merrier.

And everyone knows they are hard to get. After all, it means that the reader has to take action beyond enjoying that story.

And it means we have to ask for it. Politely, gently and persistently.

But there is another thing about reviews that can easily block us from even asking for them, and that’s fear. Because reviews express an opinion on our story.

Reviews judge our story, and by extension our ability as writer.

Some of us may not mind. But most of us have put heartblood into the stories, and just the chance of being harshly criticised could stop us cold when we should be asking for them.

Now, I have to admit that I only got one really awful review for any of my stories, and it wasn’t even an attack. It was a weird misunderstanding possibly caused by an error of labelling the book (because it only has moderate violence and no sex, they rated it as a children’s book).

I still found something good that I could quote from it.

But yes, the possibility of getting a review that tears the whole book apart can be daunting. And I do know that feeling.

What can we do about this?

Well, behind this block is a simple fear: The fear of not being liked or of being rejected. Personally, that is.

Looking at it logically, the reader doesn’t even know you. He or she only knows your story. So they don’t mean you personally when they write that review. So even if it hurts to see your story torn apart, it’s not about you.

It should be easy to just shrug off that kind of review as simply an expression of the reader’s taste and opinion.

But logic doesn’t help when fear raises its ugly head.

That’s why I always offer tapping. It works on the emotions that logic cannot reach. And it can help to make it easier to deal with a bad review (which is next week’s post). For now, it is enough to enable you to ask for reviews without fear and without apprehension.

So let’s tap.

Even though I know I need reviews, I’m also very scared of getting any – because they could be nasty! – and I still love and accept myself, and I give myself permission to let go of that fear.

Even though I’m so afraid of getting a nasty review that I never ask for them, I’m still totally okay the way I am, and I now choose to know that even a nasty review won’t kill me.

Even though I find it so hard to ask for reviews, because I’m afraid I’d be brushed off or that someone will write a nasty one, I’m still okay the way I am, and I now choose to know deep inside that reviews are not about me, and sometimes not even about my story.

Your Turn:
How do you feel about reviews?
Have you tried asking for them? What happened?
What happened while you were tapping?
And finally – what are you creating right now?
Please share in a comment.

Image Source: F. Moebius

PS: My newsletter contains a full tapping round to go with my blog posts, so it’ll be easier for you to get results. Sign up through the form on the upper right hand corner, and receive an introduction to EFT as a gift, find that specific tapping round plus occasional special offers. If you’re on a mobile and can’t see the sidebar, you can sign up through this link: Newsletter Sign-up.

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The Publishing Author’s Mindset – Marketing

Buy. My. Book

Buy. My. Book

Now, first of all, I have to admit something terrible:

I don’t have the key to successful marketing, either. I have no magic script, no sure-fire solution – and to be honest, I’m not good at it, either. Yet.

Because this is – once again – a mindset thing.

And I haven’t found my personal block just yet. I know it’s there, I know it can be dissolved – but I need to figure out what it is. And it’s much harder to help myself as it is to help someone else.

So even though I am definitely no marketing wizard (which is probably a limiting belief right there), there is one thing I can say, gleaned from a lot of studying of marketing methods:

Don’t do anything you’re not happy with. Or that makes you feel icky.

Because you’re establishing relationships with people.

And honestly, who wants to buy a book from someone who behaves like a terrible car salesman? Who posts nothing but “buy my book” on social media, possibly three times a day?

With the hundreds of thousands of self-publishers out there, readers can easily choose to buy stories they enjoy from an author they like vs one they dislike.

So be yourself, show off your stories – give readers a taste of what they’ll get – and most of all, let them see you as a fellow human being.

Because watching myself, I’m much more likely to buy from an author I can relate to. Maybe I’ve seen their dog, cat or horse, I’ve read about something they struggle with (most everyone struggles with something these days), or because I like something they do in addition to writing. Of course, the stories also have to be the kind I want to read, so there’s that.

I’d like to encourage you to play with marketing.

Maybe by experimenting with things you enjoy, you can find your own golden key to unlock a wave of readers. Maybe you reach that one person who makes your books go viral. Maybe you appeal to a book club. I’ve seen all of that happen to others.

Just remember: it won’t happen if you don’t tell people about your books. But it can happen if you make it interesting, natural and enjoyable for the others. So get out there and have fun with your not yet readers – and definitely with your already readers!

I’m sure that feels much better than playing bad car salesman. (Although… there’s an idea…)

So here’s some tapping for you to get started on that expedition into marketing land:

Even though it feels that effective marketing remains a mystery to me, I’m totally okay the way I am, and I realize I only have to figure out what works for me.

Even though I’m scared of marketing my books because I’m afraid I would annoy the very people I want to reach, I’m totally okay the way I am, and I now choose to discover what makes my potential readers happy to interact with me and read my stories.

Even though I think marketing is horrible and I won’t ever be able to do it effectively, I’m totally okay the way I am, and I can be open to the possibility that it’s simply about telling friends about my stories.

Your Turn:
How do you feel about marketing?
What have you tried to sell your books?
What happened while you were tapping?
And finally – what are you creating right now?
Please share in a comment.

Image Source: F. Moebius

PS: My newsletter contains a full tapping round to go with my blog posts, so it’ll be easier for you to get results. Sign up through the form on the upper right hand corner, and receive an introduction to EFT as a gift, find that specific tapping round plus occasional special offers. If you’re on a mobile and can’t see the sidebar, you can sign up through this link: Newsletter Sign-up.

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The Publishing Author’s Mindset – Cover Creation

Cover

Cover

I know. Covers are hard.

That’s what we’re being taught, and maybe that’s also backed up by experience with graphics programs. I’ve been there.

There’s one graphics program that I could work intuitively. And I still use it from time to time, even though it is severely outdated. I hated all the others.

I hated Photoshop. I hated GIMP.

Until I made the decision to learn cover creation.

And using the rules of Profit First, I decided to go with GIMP, because it is free, and because it’ll work in Linux. (I’ll shift my computer to Linux eventually, so I keep that in mind.)

GIMP is not exactly user-friendly, and there is a learning curve. But it is very powerful, and certainly doesn’t have to fear a comparison to Photoshop. And there are tutorials which make it much easier.

Why did I make that decision?

The truth is that it’s easy to outsource cover creation. There are many, many offers, and for quite a while I was using a service for formatting and cover creation. It was comfortable to hand over my manuscript and some money and get a book to upload in return.

But I wanted to be in full control of my books. I wanted to be able to fix a typo when a reader told me. Which I couldn’t when I couldn’t change the files myself.

I created my first full indie book earlier this year.

Everything in it is my own. The text, the formatting, the cover and even the picture I used in the cover. The exception is the font I used, it’s a free one with acknowledgement.

And I can tell you that it’s an absolutely amazing feeling to actually do this on your own. It gave me a sense of power I had not known before.

It’s a mindset thing, really.

And it’s totally worth the learning curve for GIMP. Or any graphics program you choose to use.

Remember, most of the pictures you see on a book title have not been created by hand. They come through Shutterstock, Pixabay, Adobe… and are combined to create a pleasing title that fits the genre. You can learn to do that.

Or you can decide to outsource that part of your indie business if you think it takes too much time away from writing. That’s the beauty of being indie.

But today, I want to encourage you to give it a try. Just remember that the actual title of your book should be readable in thumbnail. And that it should fit your genre.

It is quite doable.

Here’s some tapping to release those limiting thoughts about cover creation.

Even though I believe cover creation is an arcane art and it takes years of study to do it well, I’m totally okay the way I am, and I now choose to play with a graphics program and see what I can come up with.

Even though those covers look so impressive that I can’t even imagine being able to create one, I’m totally okay the way I am, and I now choose to know they are made by combining a number of pictures to make them look so impressive.

Even though it feels scary to try to create my own cover, especially since I won’t be able to match what I see in my mind, I’m totally okay the way I am, and I now give myself permission to create an imperfect cover and just play with it for now.

Your Turn:
How do you feel about creating your own cover?
How do you feel about learning to handle new programs?
What happened while you were tapping?
And finally – what are you creating right now?
Please share in a comment.

Image Source: F. Moebius

PS: My newsletter contains a full tapping round to go with my blog posts, so it’ll be easier for you to get results. Sign up through the form on the upper right hand corner, and receive an introduction to EFT as a gift, find that specific tapping round plus occasional special offers. If you’re on a mobile and can’t see the sidebar, you can sign up through this link: Newsletter Sign-up.

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The Publishing Author’s Mindset – Formatting

formatted page

Formatted page

Once your story has been edited enough (and really, don’t spend too much time on that), you will want to get it ready for publishing.

And that means formatting.

Ebook formatting has become very easy. Tools like Jutoh or Vellum make it possible for anyone to do it on their own. Easily.

Even formatting for print is not rocket science. It’s a little more complicated because your file must fit clear specifications for the Print on Demand service you choose to work with. And it should be a PDF.

But let me reassure you: It is doable.

And you can outsource it, if you wish, but of course, that means spending money. You might eventually choose to do so anyway, to save yourself time and worry – but honestly, there isn’t a lot to worry about when formatting.

So once again, the focus is on mindset. And the possible overwhelm that the process might cause for you. Continue reading

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The Publishing Author’s Mindset – Editing

The Editor

The Magic Pen of an Editor

Editing is another part of writing and self-publishing that’s full of pitfalls.

I’m sure you heard some of this:

Every book must be edited

And that’s true. It’s unlikely to get through writing a story without making some mistakes. But look closely: It doesn’t say who does the editing.

You can’t edit your own story.

There is a grain of truth in it, but there are tricks to get around even that. Of course, you can edit your own story. You can find typos, errors and even plot holes. All it takes is some effort and a little mental tweak to step back from the story a little.

Only an editor can save your book from being crap.

Total BS. This is just a marketing ploy. Many editors have lost their position with publishing houses and now need to find clients on the market. And some find clients by scaring them into needing validation.

So here is what I think: Continue reading

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The Publishing Author’s Mindset – Self-Publishing

I did my book myself!

I did it myself!

The entire publishing world changed dramatically – although people wouldn’t realize that until a couple of years later – when Amazon introduce the Kindle and Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) in 2007.

Now, ten years later, there are several platforms that allow individual authors to upload their books as ebooks and sell them. This development has effectively removed the need to find an agent or a publisher.

Indie authors – and indie publishers can do it all on their own.

Of course, this didn’t sit well with the traditional publishers, and of course, there was a learning curve involved (still is) for everyone who wants to self-publish.

Terms like “Tsunami of Swill” and “Overproduction” are still common, and naturally, there is some interest in keeping a stigma on self-publishing. Even though it has become easy to turn out a quality book on your own.

Now, in this article, I don’t want to go into all the technical details of self-publishing. There are excellent blogs out there that do it much better.

This post is about the mindset around self-publishing. Continue reading

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The Publishing Author’s Mindset – Contracts

The Contract

The Contract

Now, if you are going the traditional route, the contract is the holy grail.

That’s why you’re doing all this hoop-jumping and twisting, and polishing your novel, and all those terrible query letters… that contract is the reward for all your hard, gut-twisting work.

The Contract.

I can imagine that the idea can make your eyes glow with pride and happiness. Your feet probably want to dance, and you know, this is the dream coming true. That’s how I felt when an agent offered to represent me and sent me a contract to sign.

Except it isn’t a dream coming true.

It is one little step in your writing career, even though it might be one of the most important ones.

And I’m telling you that you have to be prepared to walk away from it. Continue reading

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The Publishing Author’s Mindset – The Query Letter

Query Letter

Query Letter

For generations of authors, the query letter has been the biggest source of stress, frustration and desperation. It’s the largest emotional obstacle to getting traditionally published.

Why? Because so much is riding on it.

If you get it right and hit exactly the right tone to interest an editor, then you have a chance for the manuscript to be seen.

If you don’t get it right, your career as author is doomed.

(Or was doomed, because now we have indie publishing. Ahem.)

And of course, for a query letter, you have to reduce your awesome novel to a few paragraphs. Not an easy task at all. I’ve been there. It can get really painful.

Now, there are many websites and books around to teach you the how of writing a query letter. So I’m going to focus on the emotions around a query letter:

The fear. The hope. The expectations.
And the disappointment. The rejection.

All of this is can come up during the action of writing a query letter and sending it off. And that makes it a highly emotional and difficult task. Continue reading

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The Publishing Author’s Mindset – Agents

Author, Agent, Publisher

Author -> Agent -> Publisher

If you want to be traditionally published, with a contract and an advance, and all that, in all likelihood, you’ll need to work with an agent. That’s because most traditional publishers are still using agents to do quality control on the manuscripts they receive.

Agents are supposed to weed out the bad manuscripts and only send the good ones to the publishers. They are supposed to know what’s the fashion and which editor likes which genre. They are supposed to have good connections in the literary world and use them for your good.

They are also supposed to work for the you, the author, and negotiate good contracts and advances. After all that’s why they usually want 15% of all royalties your book earns (and the advance, too). Often enough, that money goes to the agent first who then takes the percentage due and passes on the rest to the author. That’s how it’s supposed to work.

Ideally this does work, if the agent is honest and responsible. And it used to work like this for a long time. But the devil is in the details, as always.

You see, everyone can call themself “literary agent”. Continue reading

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