There Is no ‘I’ in Author

Author Writer Pic

There is a ‘u,’ but no ‘i,’ in the word ‘author.’ As an author, I write primarily for you, not for myself.

There is an ‘i’ in writer. There are many forms of writing where I can write primarily for myself.

If I wish to write only for myself, I would keep a private journal or diary.

If you wish to have others read your writing, then don’t write just for yourself.

Another way to think of the ‘u’ in ‘author’ is unselfish.

Putting little or no effort into editing and formatting is selfish. Making a concerted effort to improve these benefits your potential audience (some of whom may screen your Look Inside for this).

Not bothering to learn the basic rules of writing and punctuation (or finding an editor who does) is selfish. Learning the rules, and then only breaking them when you have good reason for it, is something your audience desires.

Writing without first researching the expectations of a genre is selfish. Learning these expectations and understanding the reasons for them helps you write a book that fits an audience.

Publishing a book primarily for money is selfish. Writing to share your passion is far more likely to please an audience and help generate valuable word-of-mouth sales.

Blogging mainly to generate direct sales is selfish. Blogging to connect with people who have similar interests and to share your ideas and knowledge is what followers seek.

Little or no marketing is selfish. Marketing helps others find your book so that you can share it.

Lack of effort in a cover is selfish. Striving to put a cover on your book that your target audience will be happy to hold in their hands and which looks suitable for its genre helps the target audience find your book and shows them that you care about quality.

Begging for reviews is selfish. Trying to get reviews by marketing to get more sales and professionally seeking reviews on relevant blogs through advance review copies helps the right audience discover your work.

Responding to customer reviews is selfish. Understanding that the review is about the book and not about you, realizing that no book will please everyone, and refraining from commenting on customer reviews appears professional.

Complaining about bad reviews is selfish. Examining criticism to see if there are any valid points that can help you grow as a writer and discarding what remains may help you improve as an author.

Self-promotion is selfish. Finding your target audience and showing that you care, letting people discover your book rather than advertising it openly, and branding your author image are less selfish and more effective forms of marketing.

Sticking with an idea that pops into your head when you discover that it’s not working is selfish. Realizing that a cover concept didn’t come out right or that a writing idea isn’t working and correcting the problem is what your audience wants.

Publishing to have your ego built up from loads of high praise is selfish. Joining a writer’s group to help improve your writing, learning the trade, and working diligently to perfect your craftsmanship are far more likely to merit such praise.

Selfishness shows.

If you’re driven primarily by money, the book you write is less likely to sell well. If your writing is driven by passion, your book is more likely to sell well. So even if you really crave the royalties, it still makes sense for you to instead by driven by passion.

Even if it sells well initially, apparent selfishness or lack thereof can have a major impact on valuable word-of-mouth sales.

Your book is more likely to be purchased if it is well-written in terms of spelling, grammar, punctuation, use of correct tense, use of consistent person, showing more and telling less, editing, writing style, formatting, and other related issues. If the title, blurb, or Look Inside reveal any writing, editing, or formatting problems, it deters sales because many readers check this carefully before making a purchase.

Emotional and reactive behavior look unprofessional. Patience and professionalism help your author image.

Books that meet the needs of your audience are apt to sell better than those that don’t.

Show that you care:

  • Let your passion for your writing and subject show without self-promoting it.
  • Put the effort into perfecting your book cover to cover to deliver a high-quality book.
  • When marketing, show that you care about the person and not just the royalty.
  • Don’t just advertise you and your book. What can you do that will benefit your audience?
  • Market your book diligently without self-promotion to help it get discovered.
  • Care enough about being a professional author to behave professionally.
  • Learn the value of the words ‘thank you.’
  • Demonstrate by example that you have good character.
  • Don’t just focus on you and your book. Make each reader feel special.

People are more likely to invest in you when you first invest in them.

Chris McMullen, self-published author of A Detailed Guide to Self-Publishing with Amazon and Other Online Booksellers