Writers work hard to hone their craft. They work hard to create a book that will sell. Authors work hard to build up an online presence and a fan base. After all that effort, why would an author do things to destroy their following?
Sadly, they do. Here are six ways they do it:
Being negative towards others should be an obvious way to commit author suicide. But people still do it. This covers everything from talking bad to fans to viewing everyone else as inferior. Author Jonathan Franzen was insulted when Oprah wanted to make one of his novels a book club pick, thinking he was above such a thing. He lost a lot of sales and a lot of fans as a result. Never forget manners, be polite, and avoid meltdowns. (Meltdowns are the worst!)
Spewing political stuff - either side
The world is so divided, it’s almost a risk to say anything these days. But authors need to watch their words and not alienate half their fan base in one Tweet. Stick to one’s values, sure, but don’t come down hard or nasty. Better yet, avoid when possible. If it’s not what you write, why discuss it?
Belittling other authors
Authors are a very supportive group, but there are always a few who think other writers are below them. V.S. Naipaul stated no woman writer was his literary equal. Martin Amis stated that writing children’s books were below him. Slamming other authors, in general or specifically, never makes an author look better. Makes him look even worse!
Responding to negative reviews
Negative reviews happen to all authors. But responding to those reviews, whether it be where they are posted or blasting it across social media, is an unwise move. Arguing with a reviewer will never change their mind and a lot of people will witness this futile battle, their opinion of the author sinking lower with each exchange.
It’s tough to draw attention to new releases. But the constant barrage of marketing doesn’t win new fans. When every Tweet, every blog post, every share on social media involves one’s books, that’s a big turn-off. Readers want to know about new books, but authors who just have to mention their books every single time come off as a never-ending commercial.
Finally, there’s just over-all complaining. Complaining about sales, complaining about writing, complaining about editing, marketing, brainstorming, etc. No one wants to hang around someone who is constantly negative. Find something good to report. Make fans feel good about reading social media posts rather than run from them.
There are probably many other things authors can do online to shoot down their careers. What other behaviors come to your mind? Of the six listed, which one turns you off the most?