Let's look at two writers. Let's call them both "she". Yes, these are both Real Examples.
WRITER A: I've been following Writer A's progress since she was on the agent hunt, since before I had even completed my second book. She was funny, witty, and her book sounded intriguing...so I was interested. I bookmarked her site and checked back on her progress. I made encouraging comments. I cheered when she got an agent, when her book sold. I was all ready to support her, buy her books, help spread the word.
But she never replied to me. Not once. Not on the blog, not on twitter. From the very beginning she projected an attitude I can only describe as snooty. Like she had to shelter herself from "fans" (she even called them fans before her book came out!). It certainly wasn't just me, either. She communicated back only with a select group of writers who were already published, famous. She didn't respond to all those congratulatory messages. She gave the impression, always, that she was above all the unwashed, unpubbed, unagented writers. Again, not just to me. When I mentioned her name to another writer, I got a nose wrinkle.
Do you think I bought her book? Do you think I even read her book? Do you think I will?
WRITER B: Writer B was different. Always approachable, at every stage. She's released two books into the wild, very successful ones, but she never projects that "above-you" image. She makes a point to answer every comment. She replies to most @ tweets, no matter who the commenter is. She seeks out other writer's blogs and makes comments. She hosts and celebrates other writers, at lots of different stages. Her tweets and blogs aren't all about her--they're also building a community.
Yes, it takes more time to be like Writer B. Absolutely. But did I buy Writer B's books? HELL, YES. Did I tweet about them, write about them, hand-sell them to other people? HELL, YES. When I'm looking to give away a book, whose book do you think I'll pick?
It might not make that much of a difference, you say. You're just one person. So somebody rubbed you the wrong way--so what?
The thing is, if you're in the YA community (yes, there is one) and I named you these two writers, I would bet you $20 that 90% of you (at least) would have the same reaction. One is "eh" and one is "I love her!" All those writers are also readers, powerful readers who spread the word. I'd also bet you that if Writer A is like that with other writers, she's probably also like that with readers.This will hurt your sales. It will also forever hurt how people see you.
Writers, it isn't just one person. It's important how you connect with people before, during, and after the publication process. It's important that you've got some humility, remember your manners, reach out.
- Be an active part of your community. Take the time.
- Other writers are not beneath you because they haven't reached your place on the road yet. Talk to them. Encourage them.
- Readers never, ever, ever will be beneath you. Don't condescend. Don't be rude. They are and always will be critical to your success.