November 5, 2020-Want to know how to avoid criticism as an author? Say nothing, do nothing, be nothing, and write nothing. No matter what you do, someone is going to complain. You have a choice, do what you want to do, write the books you want to read, and put yourself out there without caring what people think. This is harder for some people than others, but I promise you, once you stop caring what people think, that’s when you’re free.
This week, one of my authors had a review left on their page. It was less than stellar. But, we focus on the positive. One person didn’t like his book; art is subjective, so let’s move on. If we had wallowed in what other people thought of our work, we’d never write another word. People are entitled to their opinions, and that’s just it; they’re only OPINIONS. What people think of us and our work isn’t going to shatter us, stop us from writing, or give us a complex. What people think of us is none of our business. So how do you bounce back from a nasty review (I’ve had tons of my own, trust me), cutting remark, or mean email?
- Do not respond. The worst thing you can do is respond to someone who doesn’t like you or your work. Let them have their opinion and focus on the positive. The last thing you want to be involved in is a war of words. Remember that people are entitled to think whatever they want.
- See if there’s truth in the comment. Yes, sometimes I get hate mail…ok, a lot of the time. But sometimes a lot of good comes from it. A person will complain about a character or story arc and say that I can’t write worth beans. This allows me to take a closer look at what they’re saying and see if they’re correct. No matter how harsh, criticism lets me reflect on my work and conduct and improve in areas that need improvement.
- Don’t get discouraged. Keep doing your thing, keep writing, and keep moving forward. Oftentimes, people who aren’t happy with themselves or their circumstances lash out at others. People who start fights aren’t at war with you; they’re at war with themselves. Wish them the best and get back to work.
- Remember that you can’t make everyone happy. If your book is for everyone, it’s for no one. There will always be people out there that love your work and others who hate it. You can be the ripest, juiciest peach in the world, but there will always be someone who hates peaches.
It’s fine to offer constructive criticism in a positive manner, but it’s quite another to be mean about it. Remember, on the other side of the screen is a human being. How would you want to be treated?
March 29, 2019-You may find yourself squinting at the title of this post. Yes, I’m talking about the business of writing and why it’s so important to qualify your customers! Let me back up for a second and explain what I mean; this may be hard to believe, but sometimes, it’s a good idea to turn away paying customers.
If you run any type of business where you sell services, you’ll understand exactly what I’m saying! Some customers just aren’t worth the time, energy, attention, or risk. Harsh? Maybe, but this is where qualifying your customers is going to save you a headache (at the very least) in the long run.
To qualify your customer means to determine whether or not that they’re a good fit for you and your business before they sign a contract for your services. By evaluating them before you decide to work with them, you’re minimizing the chances of wasting your time and theirs. It’s essential for you, as a business owner, to decide and be very clear about who your ideal client is; you’ll screen out the ones who don’t fit that description and this will allow you to focus on serving your best customers well.
I personally meet with every single potential client who wants to hire Pandamonium Publishing House for our services so that I can decide whether or not we are going to work with that person. It’s also important to know that this is in the client’s best interest as well! Here’s how I evaluate the clients that want to work with us:
- Do they have a positive attitude? This is essential and that’s why it’s at the top of my list. It’s much easier and much more enjoyable to work with someone who is positive!
- Are they open communicators? If they’re not a good communicator, this is a red flag for me! Because if they’re not, how can we possibly work together on a project that requires constant communication for it to be completed?
- Are they clear about what they want? How can I know what they want if they don’t? I’m not a mind reader and if they’re not clear about their vision or how they see the end result, there’s no possible way for me to deliver it to them.
- How do they take constructive criticism? People who get defensive, or who think that they know it all, or are offended and irritated by constructive criticism are not good fits. Imagine telling this prospective client that something in their manuscript needs to be changed and they flip their lid, or sulk, or call you every name under the sun…sounds fun doesn’t it? NEXT!
- Can they take direction and instruction? Same as above. If they can’t take direction and they’ve hired us to oversee a project, there can’t be two cooks in the kitchen.
- Do we have matching values? You’ll never EVER see me publish a book about zoos, animal abuse, or animals in captivity because all of these things go against my personal values. Working with people that have values that parallel your own is essential. I’m not saying they have to believe what you believe, I’m saying that you need to remember what matters to you and to be authentic to your own self and your own beliefs. That goes for both parties.
Now, remember, my business and I are not the best fit for everyone and that’s ok! It’s essential to know what you want, who you are, what you stand for, and who you want to work with as well as who you don’t want to work with. Clarity as key. I urge you as a business owner to make a list of your ideal client and stick to it. X LLB