I’m a happy person. This is not because I’m young, or new to business, or drink insane amounts of wine. I like to look on the bright side of things – my mom says I have always been a glass half-full type of person. While I’m sarcastic, I do my best not to be mean or appear negative. I’m of the firm belief that happy people are like a beacon. Their positivity and ways of looking at the bright side of everything, their ability to accept responsibility and laugh off mistakes, and never letting anything bring them so down that they can’t get back up again – these are the kind of people who I like and want to be around.
So there are some ever-smiling optimists who like to have fun, be helpful to others, and love life, right? That means there are some people who aren’t happy unless they’re miserable. These people are constant complainers (“Why me?”/”Why not me?”), never taking the blame for anything (“if that blogger had done what I asked, I’d be a bestseller”), and always looking for others to carry them, yet never helping anyone else (“Share this for me!”, but never respond or are too busy when you ask). They are the Eeyores of the world. Negativity breeds bad moods to and from other people – even if you woke up on the right side of the bed that morning.
You don’t have time or energy for these people because this will be a constant battle. Author, reader, small business, general human being – whatever it is that you do:
- Don’t be that person.
- Don’t constantly comfort this person. It will get old fast, and you will be more than a little bitter because of it.
Put it this way: If I’m constantly tweeting the woe-is-me schtick, you’re gonna get real tired of my bitching after a while, right? No matter how much you might like me or my books, if all you see is me whining, I’m betting you’ll be clicking the “Unfollow” button. It’s like I said in my guest post at The Housework Can Wait: “They [readers] came to you to lose themselves in a story from their own real world problems.” Not listen to you go on and on about how something didn’t go your way.
Some things are out of our control, of course, but a lot of that goes back to our inability to accept criticism or put on the big girl panties and move past it. Yeah, I’ve gotten a 2-star review and it crushed me – that day. The next day, I went back to working on my next book because as I’ve said before, you can’t please everyone – and that doesn’t make it personal. Do you love your book? Do you have people asking for another one? Then why are you letting one (or a few) Negative Nancys get in the way of what you love to do?
An author posted in one of my Facebook groups about how he was giving up due to lack of sales. The first few comments were really nice and encouraging. Despite many people insisting he not get discouraged (and to keep going if it’s something he truly loved), he complained some more and sort of put the rest of us down because we didn’t know him personally or help him promote his work. So you know what happened? The rest of the thread became frank: “If that’s what you’re in it for, if you’re so willing to give it up without a second thought, then go ahead. We aren’t the reason you failed.” Based on his negative response, people gave up on him – because as I like to say, ain’t nobody got time for that! Our support group is meant to help us promote and make connections, not coddle a whiner who isn’t in it for the long haul. We’re here to write and sales or no sales, that’s exactly what we’re gonna do!
There are too many authors out there who moan and groan about everything – from bloggers and reviews to cover art and social media. I see a lot of authors blaming the system – the indie authors who don’t hire editors and make the rest of us look bad, the greedy Big 6 who only take moneymakers, the fan fiction writers turned fluke multimillionaires. Yes, I completely understand – that is incredibly frustrating. But when asked, “Why do you write?” I have never read the response, “to make money.” The stories of lucky authors are out there, but they aren’t as plentiful as you might believe. (And if that is your goal, then may I suggest another career path?) Regardless of the Big 6 or other authors, what does that have anything to do with YOU? With your work that you love to create? If you do what you need to do, if you’re writing great stories that people enjoy, then shouldn’t everything else be gravy on top? That’s one of the reasons I’m proud to be indie – I’m clearly not in it for the money. I’m in it to do what I’ve wanted to do since I was 5 – write.
I get it. You think I’m TOO optimistic. That I’m a dope who thinks money is gonna fall into my lap with a few books, that I’m one of those damn hippies always preaching about karma. But this is not unlike my tough love talk. Those people throwing awful self-pubbed books out into the world? They’ll eventually sink to the bottom while the good stuff gets noticed. I may not be big on the “meant to be” stuff, but I’ve never been disappointed with my hard work and neither has anyone else. If you’re harping on everyone else, worried about what they are doing, what they are saying, that means you aren’t focusing on your goals, your happiness. Don’t you think it’s easier to be happy? That more people will want to be part of your circle when you’re able to provide silly anecdotes or cheer them up or just provide good entertainment? Great support groups mean just that – they’ll share, retweet, buy, and cheer you and your work on, because you’ve been there for them, too. And all with a smile on your face.