Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Are you lying to yourself?

Tell me lies, sweet little lies!

I think about this more now days as I write and run a publishing house. Am I lying to myself? It is a good question, one I think every writer should ask.

I used to watch American Idol, not to see the talent but to witness the train-wreaks. Come on, you do the same thing, we all want to see the poor people who think they can sing, bellow out something bordering on evil.

Why do we do this? Because someone told these people that they were good, some family member or friend lied to these people!

I see this same thing going on in the writing world. But most of it is not family or a friend that are lying to us, but we ourselves. What are the lies?

Lie #1: My book is the best book in the world.

If you believe this, most publishers will not talk to you, in fact, they may run the other way with a look of fear on their faces.

Lie #2: I deserve a book deal.

Uh.... No! What makes you so special? Oh, you sold 1 million books? You are a social media expert? You have a platform? You have...? So why would a business buy your book and spend money in the hopes that your book will sell and make them all their money back AND more? Publishers are not working for free, they want to make money and you and your book are the way they do it, so how do you add value to their business?

Lie #3: I am going to be a bestseller on Amazon and do it all on my own.
Hmmmm, so publishers do it all with one person? Nope, it takes so many people to publish a book. Editors, cover artists, and so on... A publisher is just a group of people who all have jobs, and they all do their job and the end result is a published book. How many people make it? How many authors are full time? Less than 1% of ALL people write a book, less than 1% of that 1% are full time. It is after-all, WORK.

Lie #4: My book should be made into a movie.
Ha ha!!!
*Holds side
Any questions?
If I had a dollar for every author I heard say this line, I would be a rich man, and make your book into a movie. Hee hee.

Lie #5: I can't do it.
Yes you can. The only thing standing between you and a book is sitting your butt down and doing the work. Do the work and you will do it.

Lie #6: I need an agent.
Nope, all you need an agent for is Sub rights. Most middle to small publishers will talk and deal directly with you.

Lie #7: I need a big publisher.
Nope again... You need to sell some books before you can expect to get even close to a good deal with a big publisher. Don't chase them, make them come after you. That way you have the power.

Lie #8: I can do the cover on my own or have a friend do it for me.

Uh... please don't. please no...not another lame cover on Amazon...have some respect for yourself. Hire a pro, or have a good publisher do it for you... if the publisher can't put out a good cover-RUN!

Lie #9: I will not pay to publish.

Yes you will. You will pay on the front end or the back end, but you will pay something. Most publishers take all the cost of blog tours, marketing, book signings out of your cut... think you will not pay? Think again.

Lie #10: All of what this post is saying is mean and cruel, I like to think positive.
I choose to tell you the truth, even if it may make you mad. That way when you see that this is right you will be glad you were not lying to yourself. Be honest and remember that writing and writing for a living is work. Anyone can sell books and do well if they work hard. This is good news, you can do well if you teach yourself and work hard.

I do hope that this helps in some small way. I just don't want to see you go up on stage and butcher a song in front of the world.



  1. Truth is good! There's no way I can be objective about what I create. Having a bunch of reviewers - who I didn't know personally - rate and discuss my book as been the absolute BEST thing to happen to me as a writer.

  2. Couldn't agree more. You cannot trust the judgement of your friends, your family or even yourself. Far too many people see writing as an easy way to make money but oh how wrong they are although I'm sure they all find that out eventually.
    Many thanks for a great post.

  3. Right on, Aaron. As a marketing rep for a publisher that specializes in working with first time authors, I can attest to the truth of all you're saying here. I wish more authors would take the time to listen to things like you're saying in this and other posts. I'm glad I stumbled onto your blog today!

  4. All excellent points. However, I disagree on the very first thing you said...I do not and have never watched American Idol. In fact, I don't watch any reality tv. At all. Wait! Does the NFL count as reality tv? *scratches head and ponders that*

  5. Thanks for reminding us of a lot of things we would rather not hear. I am coming to understand the complexity of the task I have set for myself in the quest to become both a published and successful author. Definitely this is good food for thought if a bit daunting.

  6. Excellent post Aaron. Everything is work and lots of it. You forgot the point about not needing an editor. Having Uncle Bob who used to teach high school English look over your manuscript is not enough.