Advice for the Newbie -- Yeah, I'm going there ...
I've done a few interviews here and there during blog tours and guest spots on other authors' blogs, and things of that nature. Interestingly enough, on almost every interview sheet I've filled out, a common question is asked: What is your advice for a new author/newbie/any-variation-you-want-goes-here?

My answer was usually standard to other authors' answers and I would pretty much give the same one every time. It's the safe answer, the "okay" one. An answer that doesn't scare someone with a dream of their own away.

You know, the whole "Never give up, keep trying" kind of answer.

I'm not really a safe kind of person and in my home and life, blunt honesty, regardless if you like it or not, is always the best policy. It just is. And so, I don't want to be safe anymore.

Here is my advice and bear in mind, this is my "advice" after publishing for a year and a half, most of that was unsuccessfully. It's only recently that I've finally maybe come into my own shoes in my chosen genre and I'm still not a wild success, I just don't have to work full-time anymore. Let's put it that way. With that being said, I've spent my year and a half publishing in mostly silence. I've watched others, watched reviewers and just regular readers ... I've made few friends but the ones I have reached out to are beautiful, awesome people. I wouldn't give them up for anything and more importantly ...


*shout outs to Elle, Dixie, Tracy, Donna, Steph, and I'm sorry to any I missed but you know who you are*

Advice number one: Find people you trust in this business. That's not easy, it's never going to be easy. Some days this biz feels a heck of a lot like we all stepped back into high school. You've got street teams attacking authors writing in the same genre as their favorite author, bombing with one-star reviews and things. You've got publishing houses making shady business choices and then suing bloggers when they're outed.  You've got authors behaving really freaking badly in very public forums and being completely unapologetic but instead crying BULLY when things don't go how they expected it to. Wow. That was a lot, right?

Yeah, find people you trust who don't act this way, don't want to be around people who act this way, and hold those lovely finds as close as you possibly can because they are what I like to call SANITY. When the drama comes out, the llama's dance. You will know who they are.

Piggybacking off advice umber one is number two: Find someone who you trust inexplicably. With anything, got that? Anything. Because you're going to need them sometimes. Really, you will. Bonus points if they're not in the business of writing, reviewing, or blogging, too. I mean, it's okay if they are, but serious points if they aren't.

Advice number three: Do your research. Actually, I said before that reading a page of Wikipedia and then writing about the mob isn't doing research, which it IS NOT THANK YOU VERY MUCH, but this isn't what I'm talking about.

Blog tour companies, publishers, cover artists, anything you have to pay for or are going to give the permission of handling, managing, selling, or even promoting your books ... research them. My god, research them.

Had I did that, I could have avoided wasted money in one aspect, or five years locked in with a publisher who wasn't a good fit for me. Sure, they're great for a lot of other authors, but they're just not right for me at all and my sales show it. I also could have avoided a second publisher that already had issues once with breaking contracts by way of a subscription model and then jumped right back into the same damn mess again. Nonetheless, these issues could have been avoided for me. I've learned from them and that's what's most important.

Research, go on and do it. Ask other authors about blog tour companies, about Return on Investment numbers. It's important and it just might save you a headache.

Finally, advice number four (Yeah, I really don't have that much to say or whine about, but these seemed the most important ones I've learned over the past year and a half): Don't read reviews. Really, maybe not even the good ones unless someone is fisting your hair and forcing you to look at a screen. The bad reviews are going to suck, hurt, and a dozen other things. They're also totally inevitable, a part of this business, and something that drives sales. Some might even be right on the things or issues they bring up. Take that into account, too.

But that's the thing, a lot of authors don't. They just see a bad review and scream foul straightaway. I've done it, privately to be sure, but I've done it. Not everyone is going to like you, your words or your stuff. Simple. They're not required to, either. Suck it up. If you can't handle that, maybe you shouldn't be publishing. You're making a product, giving it to a consumer, and they're responding to the quality, their enjoyment of it, and their "return on investment". Because even bad reviews can be written in a good way. Often, they're not, but I've seen it done.

It's better just to leave reviews where they lie. Don't play in that territory, it's not yours and you'll get pissed on. I guarantee it.

So, that's it. For now, I suppose.



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