Friday, August 19, 2011

Diva Don'ts

After hearing horror stories and seeing first hand the horror of the literary diva, I feel it is necessary to address why you should remain humble as an author.

1.  The Queen Bee.  It doesn't matter how great you are.  There is always someone better.  If you don't recognize that and look to them as role-models you will inevitably make a fool of yourself.

2.  The Saucy Sister.  I know you've had tons of readers who loved your work, but there's gonna be someone out there who thinks your writing is the worst thing created by a bipedal hominid.  They like to tell you about how much you suck on forums and in nasty emails.  You may feel like making rude hand gestures at the screen for five minutes and then writing a scathing retort.  But stop and think for a minute.  Think about what a person might do in retaliation if you send them an email back.  Think about all the other people who visit that forum.  Take a deep breath and swallow your pride.

3.  The Lazy Susan.  If you want something done, you better darn well do it yourself.  A lot of authors think, "Oh well, I wrote the book and did the edits, now I sit back and relax and let my publisher do the work."  Um, no.  You have to get your butt out there and do it yourself these days.  That includes taking responsibility, making sure that you are prepared for the worse possible scenarios, and not being a cry baby about it when things don't go as planned.

4.  The Gossip Guru.  The industry is small.  If you piss someone off, everyone else will know you suck in less than a week. Similarly, if you lie or gossip about someone, they are inevitably going to find out.  Again, think about things before you follow through on them.

5.  The Drama Mama.  If you are demanding, impatient, and unreliable you will chase away valuable allies and opportunities.  Patience and professionalism are key virtues in this industry, learn them and love them.

6.  Typically Two-Faced. Your author persona is the face of your work.  If you come off as a diva, people are less likely to want to read your work, make friends with you, or approach you. 

7.  The Wall Flower.  Don't forget to have fun.  There is a huge difference between the demanding princess diva and the fun loving, disco diva.  This industry is stressful enough, don't make being a likable author a chore.  If you're a stick in the mud you stand out just as much!

8.  The Nit-Picker.  Everyone makes mistakes.  Obsessively pointing out those mistakes in the work or behavior of others isn't going to make friends.  In fact, it will only make people more critical of YOU and YOUR work.

Did I miss one?