Thu
Oct 30 2008 2:33pm
Behaving Badly As A Career Strategy, part 3

Stevie Chuckles’ Advice to New Writers

Part Three: After you’ve published

(Part One here. Part Two here.)

You are important. Your writing is important. You and your writing are more important than anybody else (and their crummy writing). Here are some behaviors you can embrace to accentuate your place in the writing universe.

  1. If your work is a novel or in an anthology, immediately go to Amazon Dot Com and post several rave reviews. If the work is in an anthology be sure and point out how it stands head and shoulders above the other shit in the book. The readers will thank you for directing them to the “good” stuff.
  2. If your work is published in a magazine, head over to that magazine’s online forums and do the same.
  3. In the event your work is reviewed unfavorably, you should immediately write letters to the reviewer, his editor, and every other possible venue to explain the reviewer's blind idiocy and mental incompetence.
  4. In addition, you should think about this review ALL THE TIME, carrying around a laminated copy, so that, in any person-to-person communication you may instantly be able to discuss at great length why this person is WRONG, WRONG, WRONG! Let me stress that this is the hallmark of a truly great writer. All other activities should come second to this. Even writing.
  5. In the event your work is reviewed favorably, you should seize upon the least favorable thing said and publicly and privately eviscerate the reviewer for his infelicitous remark. An example: “X’s brilliantly written first novel has vibrant compelling characters and riveting action, but I would have liked a little more of the heroine’s background.” You should only remember that the reviewer HATED THE HEROINE!
  6. Between obsessing about bad reviews and good reviews, you need to make time to Google every mention of your story and name on the intertubes. You must track down, find out what they said, and then explain to them why they are WRONG, WRONG, WRONG.
  7. If you have time left over from these previous activities and you first work is a book, you must monitor the Amazon Sales Ranking every five minutes. When it spikes momentarily (because your Mom and your aunt Sylvie bought copies) you need to fire off a letter to your publisher demanding your giant royalty check.

Next time: A Word About Conventions. (To Boldly Go Where No Writer Has...)


*The above was part of my lecture at the 2008 Viable Paradise Writers workshop on Martha’s Vineyard. New writers are strongly encouraged to follow every step. It cuts down on my competition.

4 comments
James Wu
2. kamikazewave
Hey I read this great book the other day, Sex with the Dead.

If you hated Jumper you'll definitely love this book! If you didn't hate jumper you'll still love this book.

Have you ever heard of a writing site called booksie? The people who visit that site do everything you suggest already. Would you perchance have any tips for advanced readers?
bloop
3. bloop
As amusing as all this is - I get a firm message of 'don't be creative, don't try something new,' as though that equates with being a jerk.
Steven Gould
4. StevenGould
Bloop,

No. Behaving like a jerk equates with being a jerk.

Take #1 above. How does falsifying book reviews that are ostensibly from non-partisan readers equal "being creative?"

Let me rephrase that. Oh, it's creative. So is forging a check.

There are persons who maintain an online presence that definitely promotes their books in creative and interesting ways without being assholes about it.

They don't spam and they don't drop unrelated announcements into news groups and blog comments.

Particularly good examples would be John Scalzi or Neil Gaiman. People who occasionally talk about their own work but draw readers because they have interesting things to say about other subjects.

I don't want to name names on the counter-examples but I'm afraid that every single example (with the exception of someone texting a manuscript via instant messaging) that I've used in this series comes from real-world practitioners.

And I've learned about them because the community (in and out of publishing) raises their collective eyebrow and talks about them and the behavior.

I think people really do need to be as creative as possible when marketing their work and establishing their careers but they really need to do so in ways that don't make them persona non grata with the very people they are trying to win over.

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