The other day I had a call with an author, I wasn’t working with her yet – she was calling to find out what I could do for her. She started off by telling me that though her book was published in 2011, it still had loads of potential. In fact it was destined to be a bestseller.
The problem (of course there’s a problem), she went on to say, was that the people she’d hired to promote it initially had done a terrible job. In fact, they were horrible and had stolen her money and her success. “I support all you people,” she said, assumingly pointing an accusatory finger at me through the phone.
Who were “you people”? I wasn’t really sure but I knew that she and I had just met, so it couldn’t be me. Could it?
Turns out it was.
This gal blamed everyone, probably including the poor barista at Starbucks who undoubtedly got her order wrong. Everyone was to blame that she wasn’t famous.
So let me tell you a little book marketing secret: It’s all on you. If your book doesn’t fly, it doesn’t fly. Sure, maybe you did hire a lemon of a marketing person. I get that, it happens. But you know, if you’ve been hiring people for three years and they were NOT locked in your basement that whole time, or imaginary, and you only have one review on Amazon to show for it, well then maybe you want to take some personal inventory or, you know, look at the book you’re marketing.
People love to blame, don’t they? I mean, not everyone, but a lot of people do. When fame doesn’t beat a path to their door, the blame train leaves the station. It’s the marketing person’s fault, the editor’s fault, or, my personal fav: Lifetime Television stole my story so now it’s their fault. I love that. One time I was at a conference and an author started on the fact that such-and-such movie was actually their story but the movie studio had stolen it and not given her the credit. I turned to her and said, “Gone with the Wind is my family history.” She blinked, not sure what to make of it. I was kidding of course and eventually she did catch on. She didn’t think it was funny. I thought it was hilarious.
But my point is this: when you stop blaming everyone and their “little dog too” for your problems, you may be faced with some real questions like: what more could I have done?
And that’s the challenge, right? Because if we didn’t do enough, what does that say about ourselves? My mother used to say that when you point a finger at someone, there are three pointing right back and you.
I did not end up working with this author. In fact, I sort of hung up on her. She wrote me back, begging me to reconsider, she was having a bad day, a bad year, a bad life. Whatever. You can’t fix bad behavior and God knows, I don’t need more drama in my life.
And as to what I said to her long, pleading email to reconsider her book?
“Frankly, my dear, I don’t give a damn.”