Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Never, Ever, Ever Enough

No matter what I do, I know I will always run across a comment or post or conversation where something makes me feel inferior. If I know someone just bought my book and then see a comment on their blog about how they're reading something that else that is just BLOWING them away, I think to myself, "Shouldn't they be reading MY book and being blown away by THAT one? How dare they read something else and think it's awesome."

Oh, wait, did I just admit that?

*looks around*

I did. Yes, I did.

We writers have mighty little egos, don't we? I often wonder if it's a good thing. I often wonder how mighty my little ego actually is. I really hate it when I get the feeling that a debut author is full of themselves as they promote their book left and right. I'll roll my eyes when I've seen it advertised somewhere for the 500th time. Then I published my own book and I knew that advertising everywhere was the only way to get the word out there so people heard about it and talked about it. Spread the word. Spread the love. Right? Is there a better way to do this without being annoying? I'm often wondering if I've been annoying with my own marketing, if I overestimate how good my book is, if I'll cry the first time a complete stranger marks it 1 out 5 stars and says publicly on an Amazon review how much they hate the book.

Then again, if these things truly bothered me I would never have published in the first place, and neither should you. Along with those mighty little egos, I think there's also a very fragile, frightened being inside of us. It doesn't take much for anyone to make me feel inferior, but one of my favorite quotes is Eleanor Roosevelt's, "No one can make you feel inferior without your consent."

In the end, I think we need our mighty little egos. We can set the ego aside when it is inappropriate to have a huge head, but in the end, it gives us that little bit of courage we need...

16 comments:

  1. That is so true. If we don't get to think that our manuscript is the best ever, then we'll never even finish it. Writing takes a lot of courage and we need something to get us past self-doubt. We deserve a little narcissism (just a tiny little bit).
    And if we feel like our heads are about to explode, there's always a silverlining: no matter how inflated our egos get, there'll always be lwayers to make us feel humble.

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  2. Well said, Michelle. I think writers are a sensitive lot, anyway. That's how we're able to sympathize with our characters and show different viewpoints. And any artistic endeavor means part of the creator is on display, so the criticism is personal on some level. The only thing to do is be true to ourselves and remember Eleanor's words.

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  3. Michelle, you probably won't believe the extent to which I feel I've put myself in a dilemma by announcing that I purchased both your book and Tim Stretton's. Ever since I announced that I can't stop trying to figure out how to comment on the books. Whose do I read first? Whose do I talk about first? I don't want to hurt one or the other and I know how bruisable writers' egos are.

    I was so excited to buy the books I let the world know. I should have kept my yap shut.

    As they say, buy once, tweet twice.

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  4. Gabriela: Haha! Yes about the lawyers! I think it's important to have some healthy pride and keep it in check. Getting down on ourselves all the time is never good.

    Tricia: Oh, we truly are sensitive, aren't we? It's a blessing and a curse!

    Lois: Thanks!

    Nevets: Oh, PLEASE don't feel bad or even worry about what to read first! I honestly don't mind! I think it's funny how sensitive we writers are and how silly things like this can upset us. Read whichever one you're in the mood to read first. I know that sometimes I just want something completely different than something I just bought.

    I was being brutally and stupidly honest here, but these feelings also pass very quickly - and common sense rules over it all in the end. :)

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  5. hahaha It's too late, and don't think it has anything to do with this post. I've been pondering this puzzle ever since last Friday.

    I will probably start with yours because of page count and alphabetical order....

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  6. Nevets: As long as it's not because of this post! I do not wish to instill guilt.

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  7. No, you just described the other side of a paranoia I was already experiencing. lol

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  8. I'd like to think that negative comments don't bother me, but they do.

    I'd like to think that I can simply brush them away like dandruff off my shoulder, but I can't (and I don't have dandruff FYI)

    I'd like to think that I can write what I want, and not worry about the consequences, but I can't

    But I try really, really hard, and in the end, that's all you can hope for.

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  9. Michelle,

    You asked if you'd been annoying with your own marketing:

    My answer: not to me! And you know I've been happy to promote your book too since long before its release because I believe in the project and admire how you've handled the whole process- and if you notice there are no other books promoted on my blog. Just sayin'.

    You also asked if there was a less annoying way to do it? Maybe I can tell you what annoys me- it's to see my Twitter screen basically spammed with the same book title so I can't find anyone else's tweets (which you don't do) or every blog I visit raving on about a big-time author's new release (which you also don't do.)

    I guess what I'm trying to say that I'm a lot more forgiving of lots of promotion for/by authors who are publishing their own work (or even their first book) and also to those who are getting support from others and not just blowing their own horn all the time.

    I think the balance comes in one person not talking about any book- theirs or anyone elses- for an extended period of time, time and again. If I see that, I will do the mental equivalent of changing the radio station- I just tune out.

    As far as crying over a one star review if you get one- remember, people are funny and while I can't imagine anyone giving your book one star because it's so well written even if they would have say, preferred a different ending (just an example- that happens with almost all books, somebody wishes for a different ending) even if they did, there are all kinds of books that people give five star reviews to that I couldn't care less about- new and 'classics'.

    It's not an insult to you if a few people don't like your work in fact it usually means that you're doing something very right because you've been true to your vision and no one can write a book that will appeal to absolutely everyone (not even the Bible does that LOL)

    Lastly, you said: "Then again, if these things truly bothered me I would never have published in the first place, and neither should you."

    This is one of the very reasons I don't know if I ever want to publish a novel/novella. I just don't know if I'm built for it all.

    ~bru

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  11. Nevets: Oh, good, haha!

    Douglas: Sadly, I think all of that is true. It's wonderful to pretend we don't care about certain things and that we are stronger than we are, but in reality, things like publishing our work are just freaking scary.

    Bru: Once again, you always say just the right thing. Thank you for sharing your thoughts here and saying that I'm not annoying. I just have a lot more people on my list that will be doing reviews of the book, and then there's the book tour in September, too, and I just feel like it's so much all in a small time frame. That's the idea, though, and it will be fine, I think, because after that Cinders will go very quiet. :)

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  12. It's stupid how many times I went back and read the comments to my short story that placed 3rd in your contest. I know exactly how you feel.

    Yet, I wished some of those comments would give constructive feedback, even it would make me blush and bite my lip.

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  13. Anthony: I know how that feels. I always think people are just being nice and hiding what they really think, when that's usually not the case. It's hard to know, I guess. Annie said she should be getting you your feedback to you, but I think she's been super busy.

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  14. Nothing wrong or annoying about publicizing one's book in different avenues. A new author probably needs to do it more than an established one, and that's an accepted fact. Congrats to you on your book!

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  15. Bhaswati: Thanks for your congrats and for reading and commenting here! You have a good point about new authors needing to promote more than established authors. I didn't really think of that much.

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