Things Authors Hate but Have to Do Anyway
Making this one an open list because I'm sure others want to chime in. 😉😘
- •Self-promote.This is the biggie, obviously. Very few writers I know are natural extroverts and even those of us who are LOATHE drawing attention to their work in the form of me, me, me, me, me. It is wildly uncomfortable but a necessary evil that is asked of all of us thanks to social media. When I first started out (2007), the onus fell much less directly on us. But yeah, we basically have to get out there and say: BUY MY BOOK. Awkward.
- •Ask people to do anything for them.This is my personal cringe. I haaaate asking people to support my work, leave good reviews, go to readings, etc. Most of my friends are more than happy to, say, show up to a reading, but I never like to impose on people, so I end up being super, duper-thankful/grateful for anyone who does anything kind for me re: my career. This literally includes reading my books. I have ZERO expectation that anyone, anywhere will read my books. Literally .
- •Host readings/signings/go on tour.Again, amazing the pattern here right? It's all about imposing on other people. Unless you are a huge name author, a book tour is fraught with anxiety, namely, that no one will show up at your readings. It happens. It's horrible. Even 5 people is horrible. Going to a random city to read for 5 people is...difficult. Hey, ps: LA folks: I'm at Diesel in Brentwood tonight, come say hi! Seattle, I'm at Third Place Books, Ravenna on 7/12 at 7pm. Come! (Please?)
- •Answer questions like: how are sales?This is probably one of the most common questions we're asked after a book release, and no one means any harm by it, I'm sure. But it's a prickly one for authors because sales can often be discouraging, and no one wants to well, say that. Also, I firmly believe that an author should NOT be measured by his or her sales (I know too many great books that have gone unnoticed), so I guess it can be a loaded question for plenty of authors.
- •Stay silent in the face of mean reviews.Ugh. The unwritten rule (probably written somewhere too) is that you cannot, do NOT, respond to negative reviews. Many books into my career, I have learned to let them go, but it is difficult to read inaccurate or just truly nasty things about yourself or your work and not be able to say even the smallest thing like: "hey, I'm a real human here." But very little good ever comes from engaging in an internet fight with a reader, so we all just suck it up.
- •Blurb.I can't say that all writers hate the blurbing process but many of us do. A "blurb" is the quote you see from another author on a book jacket, and the process is a terrible one: send another author your work and wait for him or her to say something amazing about it. If he or she doesn't, you worry he/she hates it. If you are the one who is blurbing, and you really don't love it, you're left with not a lot of graceful ways out of it. I don't think blurbs are helpful, tbh, so I try to skip them.
- •Check our Amazon ranking.We're like Pavlovian rats, it's true, wondering, worrying, watching those rankings on Amazon. Our anxiety would surely be lower if we could tear ourselves away from the site, but we can't, so c'est la vie. (I just checked mine an hour ago.) This urge dissipates few weeks after a new release.
- •Write.It's true: the most excruciating part of being a writer is the writing. Of course, we have to do it, but many of us trick ourselves into working each day or reward ourselves for getting it done. We all have our own ways of completing a manuscript (I, personally, commit to a daily word count and try to do it first thing in the morning), but yeah, it's the toughest part of the job.
- •Shower.Because...why bother?
- •Answer questions about their process.By the time my novel gets published it will be at least five years since I started it. I am not going to be able to remember much beyond "I drank coffee" and "I found this book on plot helpful" and the inspiration behind it, which I probably won't be able to talk about.Suggested by @bookishclaire
- •Agree to read the first chapter of a friend's/family member's/vague acquaintance's first novel because they want your "unbiased opinion"Suggested by @kaelyn
- •Smile and nod and feign deep interest when a stranger begins a sentence with, "You should write a book about..."Suggested by @bethidee
- •TalkWe're sort of known for the whole word thing. So, can you just email me?Suggested by @boygirlparty