Sample Reading from
Daily Writing Resilience
Persevere Through Writing Storms
Perseverance has so many guises, including standing up in the face of rejection and getting back up when things don’t go smoothly, and yes, writing more books.
Seasoned authors and aspiring scribes alike know the writing world is brutal—full of meteoric challenges, constant negativity, and devastating letdowns. Most agents, editors, and publicists say the number one key to writing success—even more important than good writing—is perseverance, dogged determination in the face of opposition.
A-list writers have worked long and hard. Author John Lescroart said, “I’m not an overnight success. My early publishing history, through my first five books, was unfortunate in many respects.” Novelist Steve Berry said it took him twelve years and eighty-five rejections before he reached the bestseller list.
Rejection isn’t personal; it’s part of the package deal. And while perseverance is the cornerstone of success in anything we try, only the diligent survive the writing business. So let’s be diligent and resilient. Every time we get up and brush ourselves off just one more time than we fall, we boost the chances of our work topping the charts.
Persist when you get knocked down, don’t take it personally, get up just one more time than you fall, and remember that acceptance and rejection are a package deal.
Grow Thick Skin
Character consists of what you do on the third and fourth tries.
James A. Michener
When things go south in your writing life (as they inevitably will from time to time), do you find yourself crumbling under the hard knocks? Do you struggle to take action for fear of making the wrong decision? Or are you able to accept bad news, quickly recover, and move on with your writing?
Resilience is the emotional ruggedness necessary to persevere after ninety-nine rejections so we can succeed on the one-hundredth try. Making our marks in the writing world is tough and requires cultivating a zone of resilience. Some people are lucky to be born with it. Many of us who are not can develop it painstakingly over time by staying the course and never giving up, especially during the hardest of times.
Developing thick skin is just as important as developing the craft of writing. Without both we don’t have the total package necessary to be successful authors. Real resilience is when we believe we won’t make it, but we start anyway, trust in ourselves and the outcome, and let our thick skin see it through to the end.
Grow thick skin in the face of opposition on the third or fourth tries, with many different avenues to writing challenges, until a path is cleared for you or you clear a path for yourself.
Table Going for the Jugular
If I worried too much about publisher expectations, I’d probably paralyze myself and not be able to write anything.
Sometimes stress dogs us with self-doubt, telling us we can’t write or we’ll never learn the craft. Or if we do learn the craft, we won’t be able to get published. Or if we get published once, we can’t pull if off a second time. If publisher expectations can paralyze David Baldacci, it can happen to any of us.
What do we say to our best friends or children if they thought they couldn’t do something? We wouldn’t say, “Of course you can’t, my darling, you’re not very good, so you might as well not even try.” Instead, we would believe in them and encourage them with compassionate pep talks. It’s important for writers to give ourselves that same type of internal support.
Instead of going for the jugular when self-doubt nips at our heels, we can ease our minds with positive affirmations. These present tense statements are not tricks to convince us that a situation is better than it actually is. They are prescriptions of encouragement within our reach that we might not totally believe but we want to believe. Think about the kind of support you need in your current writing regimen. Then give it to yourself.
Before you start writing, imagine the best of outcomes and whisper silently to yourself, “I can do what I set my mind to do, and I can do it well.
Tip the Scale in Your Favor
The weight of the world is love, under the burden of solitude, under the burden of dissatisfaction.
For many writers, confidence trails self-doubt. It’s as if we’re carrying the weight of the world on our shoulders. How can we lighten the load in pursuit of our goals when we get the constant message from others and ourselves that we don’t measure up?
The choreographer and author Martha Graham said, “No artist is pleased. There is no satisfaction whatever at any time. There is only a strange, divine dissatisfaction, a blessed unrest that keeps us marching and makes us more alive than the others.” Here are a few ways to keep our thumbs on the dissatisfaction scale and tilt the needle in our favor:
We don’t surround ourselves with people who weigh us down.
After hours, we leave the weight of unfinished work on the paper or computer.
We make sure we pull our weight to the best of our ability.
We don’t compare our abilities to other writing heavyweights.
We weigh in with positive opinions of our writing worth on a regular basis.
We are able to objectively weigh the merits of our writing.
We don’t throw our weight around.
Tip the scale in your favor and give yourself credit as a writer, because the weight your writing carries in others’ eyes is in direct proportion to the amount of weight you give it.
Procrastination/Habit of Writing
We are so scared of being judged that we look for every excuse to procrastinate.
Procrastination hits home. We hem and haw terrified our finished product won’t be perfect enough. Postponing and knowingly feeding the monster, we dust our desk, grab a snack, or arrange the spice rack—anything to avoid facing the fear of imperfection. Deadlines loom. Our editor sends an email, wondering, “Where the hell is the manuscript?”
In the heat of the moment, stalling seems to relieve stress. But over the long hall, dragging our feet adds another layer of pressure, catapulting us into a swirl of adrenaline and cortisol stew. Deadlines pass, commitments pile up, self-talk beats us to smithereens. Now a second layer of pressure becomes another problem to reckon with.
In the initial writing stages, we don’t have to get bogged down with dotting each i and crossing each t. Once we let go of everything our third-grade teacher taught us about spelling, grammar, and handwriting, we move from, “I can either do a perfect draft or none at all” to “It’s okay if my rough draft contains misspelled words or bad grammar.” Giving ourselves permission to write “the shitty first draft,” break big writing projects into tiny steps, and complete one easy item on our list, gives us an instant hit of success.
Face your writing tasks head-on imperfectly and early, instead of waiting until the last minute, starting with easy steps you can accomplish quickly to get you going.
A writer is someone who has written today. If you want to be a writer, ask yourself if you’ve written today. That’s the first mark of a true writer.
J. A. Jance
The first mark of a true writer is that we have to write today and every day, not for glory or money but because we have ink in our blood and can’t not write. We love it so much that we’re drawn to it. Novelist Sara Gruen said, “The only thing that makes me crazier than writing is not writing.” What is the first mark of the writer’s life? The simple answer: we write today.
If we don’t have natural fire in our fingertips, we might be able to cultivate it by getting into the habit of writing each day, even if it’s only for fifteen or twenty minutes, even if we don’t have a specific project in mind. After a while, the discipline of everyday writing grows on us, even if you don’t have ink in your blood.
Have you written today? If not, why not take time right now to pen a few words just for a short amount of time, and watch what happens. Every time you take an opportunity to write during spare time, you prove to yourself that you’re indeed a writer. Have you written today? Will you write today?
If you want to be a writer, ask yourself if you’ve written today, and if you haven’t, sit down and write; you’ll have fulfilled your dream.
Bypass Blank Page Syndrome
People have writer’s block not because they can’t write, but because they despair of writing eloquently.
How many of us ever thought that writer’s block was time we block off to write? Unfortunately, that’s not the case, but if you’ve had writing blocks, you’re in good company. Authors F. Scott Fitzgerald and Joseph Mitchell, cartoonist Charles Schulz, and singer/songwriter Adele—all struggled with the affliction.
Writer’s block can occur from adverse conditions in an author’s life, but it more commonly results from inner turmoil. When we push the river instead of letting it flow by itself, desperation, criticism, or self-doubt can screech us to a halt. Or writing pressures can worm a path into our creative brain, usurp the lead, and blank us out, taking up residence there.
Trepidation and creativity are opposites. They come from two competing areas of the brain: fear from our reptilian brain and creativity from our new brain. Fear and force throw the creative brain offline and limit its input, hindering the creative flow.
Several tips help us bypass blank page syndrome and get back online: take breaks; try writing in another form of creative prose; brainstorm instead of judge your ideas; engage in free writing; and avoid the two competing tasks of revising while creating.
Bypass blank page syndrome by turning off the critical brain, by writing as if you’re playing, and by connecting with the joy that got you started writing in the first place.
Body Connection Practice: Stretch Your Chest and Arms
You are only as young as your spine is flexible.
You might have noticed that your chest muscles and the muscles in front of your underarm are often tight from repeatedly reaching your arms out in front of your body. Typing on the computer, holding a book, or working at your desk are activities that shorten these muscles after a long time. Here is a simple stretch for these muscles:
Stand in a doorframe at the end of a wall with the front of your right shoulder pressing against the end of the wall. Reach your right hand directly out from your shoulder down the wall. Your hand and arm should be touching the wall parallel to the floor.
Begin to turn your body away from your right arm and feel the stretch.
Repeat the same pattern with your left arm on the other side of the doorjamb, taking the turn a little further to gradually increase the stretch. You might feel your shoulder blade move closer to your spine when doing this stretch.
Stretching for ten minutes releases the stress that builds up in your body while you’re writing. Not only does it feel good, but stretching your body is one of the easiest ways to discharge tension and relax your body.
As you move into stretching, remember that stretches should never hurt or cause you pain, so make sure you practice them slowly, gently, and often—at least three times a week.
Meditation Practice: Humble Yourself as a Writer
Humility is not thinking less of yourself; it’s thinking of yourself less.
C. S. Lewis
Humility as a writer is a valuable asset. We put ourselves on a level plane with fellow writers by admitting we have the same human fallibilities as everyone else. We don’t put ourselves down or devalue ourselves in any way. But we don’t glorify our accomplishments to impress or compete with fellow writers for status, either. We’re not preoccupied with ourselves and, in fact, we highlight the successes of other authors, even our “competitors.”
There’s something terribly expansive and satisfying when we put humility over pride. Close your eyes and contemplate the idea that you’re a grain of sand in the universe. Then spend a few minutes noticing all the space, all the room that you have to expand. Whisper to yourself that you don’t stand in the way of anything, you don’t overcrowd, and you don’t possess or obstruct anything. Take a few minutes to savor the feelings that emerge.
The irony is that humility attracts readers to our work. Self-aggrandizement turns them away. It’s simply a matter of thinking of ourselves less and others more. As writers we don’t have to grandstand our virtues. When deserved, our readers will do that for us.
Humble yourself with the writing community and fans, and it will contribute to your overall success and fulfillment as a writer.
Gage Your Writing Resilience Needle
I used to ask for an easy life, now I ask to be strong.
William Kent Krueger
How resilient are you in your writing goals? Are you able to face opposition with a positive attitude and physical stamina? Can you keep going no matter how frequent and difficult the obstacles? If you could gage your resilience needle, where would it fall?
One way to check your resilient zone is to see where the needle falls on a 10-point scale. You can rate yourself from 0-3 (low resilience) to 4-7 (moderate resilience) to 8-10 (the highest resilience you can imagine). If it’s lower than you want, write down some actions you can take to tilt it higher such as thinking more positive thoughts, carving out more time to write, or joining a writing class.
Over time, our resilience needle rises and falls depending on our writing conditions. Mapping that progression gives us a clearer measure of the conditions under which we are most and least resilient. It helps us to see where we are currently, compared to other times in our writing trajectory, and where we want to be. In discouraging times when the needle is low, we can use that understanding to get back in our resilient zone. What about now? Where does your writing resilience needle fall? Contemplate actions you can take to tilt the needle higher on the scale.
Reflect on the writing obstacles you’ve overcome, point to the lessons you’ve learned, and gauge the ways in which you have grown stronger through writing’s hard knocks.
Welcome Your Inner Voices
The voice is persistent, and it knows where you live. It will find you in that long, dark teatime of your soul and ask to come in for a cup or two.
Do you hear voices in your head? Of course you do, if you’re a writer. Admit it. You might have a stadium of characters echoing in your mind. Perhaps you have one scolding you right now. What do you do when they’re nipping at your brain? Chances are, it depends on what they’re saying. We have two classes of inner voices: closed books and open books. Open books—the voices of curiosity and creativity—are friendly voices flooding us with artistic direction, plot ideas, and a population of clever characters.
Closed books—the voices of judgment and criticism—eviscerate us with name-calling, discouragement, and putdowns. You recognize them, don’t you? Their agenda is to douse our ambitions, talents, and dreams. But closed voices don’t tell the truth. Only open voices do. We can’t get rid of our inner voices, so ignoring, arguing, resisting, or steamrolling only make them stronger and louder.
Our best bet is to welcome all of the voices, distinguish between the closed and open ones then let the closed books jabber on in the background and take our direction from the wisdom contained in our open books.
Welcome and observe your inner voices with open curiosity without personalizing them, resisting, or identifying with them, and eventually they will quiet down.
Unearth Your Eight C’s
We all carry within us supreme strength, the fullness of wisdom, unquenchable joy. It is never thwarted, and it cannot be destroyed.
There are eight “C words”—qualities that psychologists associate with resilience—that can rev all our cylinders to face writing challenges. Read down the list of “C words” then contemplate each one. Check off the ones you have mastered and star the ones that need more attention:
- A satisfying connectedness with fellow writers, publishers, and ourselves
- An overwhelming sense of clear-mindedness and direction
- An unmistakable feeling of calm and loss of the ability to worry
- More curiosity with less interest in judging colleagues and ourselves
- A heightened ability to act from confidence instead of past hurts or future fears
- An increased susceptibility for compassion for other writers and ourselves
- Greater courage to let unknown situations happen instead of make them happen
- Frequent bursts of creativity and unrestrained joy
Once you have identified the “C words” that need attention, write down some ways you can apply them to the craft of writing. For example, when you catch yourself judging something you’ve written, replace your self-judgment with one of the “C words.” Then ask yourself what are some other ways you might write the piece that would make it better.
Always remember that you have the eight C’s within reach to be a successful writer—even when you feel like you don’t—and all you need do is utilize them to persevere.
Find Your Bookends
You can’t have an up without a down, a right without a left, a back without a front—or a happy without a sad.
Writing has bookends. Whatever you’re seeking is also seeking you. But in order to wrap your arms around it, you must first accept its opposite. I realize that sounds crazy, but you can’t have success without failure, light without dark, or ecstasy without agony. Are you driving yourself up a wall trying to get accepted as a writer? If so, you must first accept that gain and loss work in concert.
You want your manuscript to be accepted, but can you accept its rejection? You desire readers to be your fans but can you tolerate no-shows at book signings? If you want to succeed at writing, are you willing to accept failure at a writing task? You want critics to praise your writing, but are you willing to accept a scathing review?
Everything has opposites. To attain what we want, we must be willing to accept what we don’t want. Choosing acceptance fertilizes our motivation to get up and dust off one more time than we fall. That’s where firepower comes from. Barbara Kingsolver said, “The power is in the balance: we are our injuries, as much as we are our successes.”
Open your writing arms to good and bad, and you’ll find it easier to face disappointment and rejection, plus the taste of writing success will be sweeter once it arrives.
Employ Artful Waiting
Your life is already artful-waiting, just waiting for you to make it art.
Those of us who are beginning writers might underestimate the long lead times and snail-like movement of the publishing process. We wait months, maybe years, to complete a manuscript, two or three more months to try and snag an agent (if ever), then another several months to get a publisher. Or not. Then another year to hold the work in our impatient little hands. In the age of “instant everything,” patience isn’t something we’re accustomed to.
The glacial pace of the writing world is an excruciating challenge to most of us. Sometimes it takes years for us to scribble our creative art into words. Then our chance comes to turn passion into patience so that editors and publishers can make our writing sparkle in full form. During the long waits, we don’t have to hold our breath and twiddle our thumbs. Patience is about how and the attitude with which we wait.
A writer’s job doesn’t end with a finished product. While waiting, we can devise a plan to market, promote, and sell the piece of work. We could sequester ourselves and scribble our next project. Or we might replenish the areas of our lives we neglected while immersed in writing moments.
Employ artful waiting during the long lags on getting your writing to get from page to print, start your next project, and develop a marketing plan for the piece in production.
Don’t Sit on Your Hands
A life spent making mistakes is not only more honorable, but more useful than a life spent doing nothing.
George Bernard Shaw
It’s amazing how many writers sit around waiting for a publisher or agent to knock on their door, willing to take on their manuscript. Some writers, usually novices, complete their submission, throw it out there, and wait for it to hit the bestseller list. Unfortunately it’s not that simple.
Seasoned writers know that completion and submission of a manuscript is only the first part of getting published. For a submission to get the attention it deserves we must get up off our rumps and beat the bushes.
After waiting through the review period if we haven’t heard we need to check back to make sure the manuscript was received. Once an agent or publisher rejects it, we keep sending it out, no matter how hopeless it seems, no matter how many noes we receive. Even after double-digit rejections, we keep revising and casting the net as far and wide as possible. After we get an acceptance and sign a contract, we still don’t sit on our hands. We begin the next project to keep the momentum going. That’s what writers do.
Don’t sit on your hands when defeated or when you see other writers give up; get up and take steps that lead in the direction of your writing dreams, no matter how big or small.
Steer Clear of the Scrap Heap
The man who lets a leader prescribe his course is a wreck being towed to the scrap heap.
When the rejection letters arrive—and they will—we don’t have to let them turn us into a wreck hauled off to the scrap heap. If your writing path is anything like most writers’ journeys, you will have someone telling you “no” every step of the way. The writing trajectory is like taking a hike in the woods. There will be logs to avoid, briars to endure, and undergrowth to trip us. But we face those hurdles and enjoy the hike anyway, keeping in mind that all successful writers before us travelled this path. But after tripping, they kept going, eventually stumbling into their dreams.
We are creators of our writing, not victims of it. Instead of letting rejection letters prescribe our course, we can prescribe theirs. We could haul them to the scrap heap. Or we could be creative and make a scrapbook, wallpaper a room, put them on our websites, read them at book signings, have a contest in our writing groups, use them for wrapping paper. Or we could do what James Lee Burke did. He saved his rejection slips in hopes of one day auctioning them off: “I used to save all my rejection slips because I told myself one day I’m going to autograph these and auction them.” You get what I’m saying? Are you feeling empowered yet? Think of a time you felt discouraged from a writing rejection and how you reacted. Then ask yourself how you can stay empowered in the face of your next rejection.
Don’t let rejections turn you into a victim and haul you off to the garbage dump. Remind yourself that, like your successful predecessors, you’re a force to be reckoned with then breathe your second wind until you stumble into your dreams.
Make Rejections Work for You
I received rejection letters for ten years . . . I had all my rejection notices stored in a box. When the box was finally full, I took it to the curb and set it on fire.
When rejections flash on the computer screen, our hearts sink, heads drop, and disappointments howl. But the most important thing is what we do in the aftermath of the letdown. How many of us join ranks with those who reject us by attacking or putting ourselves down? Just because someone gives up on us doesn’t mean we have to give up on ourselves.
Rejection of ourselves keeps us stuck, and the bad feelings permeate our writing. A better course of action is to make a writing rejection work in our favor instead of betraying ourselves or becoming a victim of it. We determine our own destinies, not publishing honchos or booksellers or critics.
Ask how rejection can improve your work. Perhaps it can teach us to be kinder, more compassionate, and supportive of ourselves during down times. It can remind us to slow down, give ourselves pep talks, and allow time to work through the loss. After we rebound from the defeated feelings, we can continue our writing agendas with more determination, perseverance, and resilience. Contemplate on how you can turn a writing rejection into a boon then name specific ways to use rejection to improve your craft.
Use rejections to toughen you up by joining ranks with yourself instead of beating yourself up and joining in with those who reject your work.
Ignore Cutthroat Critics
Who knew paper and ink could be so vicious.
The literary world is full of critics. If we want to write something of value, certain critics will scrutinize it. Call these particular reviewers haters, trolls, or just downright cutthroats, but they are inescapable.
When we get an eviscerating review, we want to retaliate. An Amazon.com reader writes a scathing rant of your book, describing it as vapid and lifeless. Feeling your blood boil, your first inclination is to plop down in front of the computer and whip off an equally scathing response. Or a critic rips into your debut novel, saying you would be better off flipping burgers. Instead, you flip your lid and start to respond.
But don’t. One of the cardinal rules for authors is never to respond publically to a critic’s belligerent rant. It only makes us look defensive (which we are) and gives more attention to the critic’s initial review. The best course of action is to leave the review alone until it fades away. Then we remind ourselves that it’s only one person’s subjective perspective, that harsh reviews have slammed the best writers of our time.
It’s not the cutthroat critic—the one who has never written anything of importance—who matters anyway. It’s those of us who put in the hours, whose faces are marred by blood, sweat and tears along the way.
Avoid giving power to cutthroat critics who are more interested in tearing your work to shreds than adding constructive feedback by simply moving on to your next project.
Have the Audacity to Accept Criticism
I suspect that most authors don’t really want criticism, not even constructive criticism. They want straight-out, unabashed, unashamed, fulsome, informed, naked praise . . .
One of the essential traits of a good writer is the ability to accept criticism. If we would rather be ruined by praise than saved by criticism and if our egos are too fragile to appreciate and receive constructive criticism about our writing, then we should be on a park bench feeding pigeons, not pounding out words on the keypad.
No writer can survive a career if they’re allergic to constructive criticism. The audacity to accept criticism is the best vaccination against writing failure. Truth is hard to swallow and can be hurtful. That’s why we call them growth pains. Words can harm and heal. When we flip our outlook, we realize that praise can destroy writing efforts and criticism can save them. Like good medicine, this attitude adjustment makes a bitter pill go down easier.
Do you have the audacity to handle constructive criticism without getting defensive or taking it personally? Can you listen to criticism with a dispassionate ear and see it as helpful? If not, what do you need to fix within to understand that there are problems with the manuscript, not problems with you?
Trust yourself enough to have the audacity to put your defensive ego aside and really examine criticisms of your writing; it will save and strengthen you over the long haul.
Brace for Your Rite of Passage
If one is not careful, one is soon writing to please reviewers and not their audience or themselves.
You’re excited about the release of your first publication. Your publisher is pleased, the ARCs look terrific, and you have great feedback from relatives, friends, and your writing group. All is going well. You’re waiting for your first glowing review. Then from out of nowhere a critic kicks in your teeth. You lose faith in your writing ability and your writing journey ends—at least it feels that way. Sound familiar?
It’s a rite of passage to get a negative review. If you haven’t received one yet, you will. All writers get their fair share. Writing is a subjective business, and reviews are based on personal tastes. One reviewer will trash a literary piece while another will extol the exact same work.
When you get a bad review at the starting line, you just got it out of the way, like eating our vegetables. When you get bad reviews after years of publishing, learn to take the bad with the good. Discern what insights you can glean about your work and adjust accordingly. Leave the rest on the table. Dessert is coming.
Stay the course in your writing ability, especially in the rough swells of the publishing seas then after a bad review, think of it as a rite of passage all writers sail through.
Treat Failure as Your Best Friend
Failure has been my best friend as a writer. It tests you to see if you have what it takes to see it through.
How many of us have attended a signing to find an empty bookstore? Or checked the number of reviews on amazon.com to discover there are only a handful? Or received a low total number of sales from our publisher on the first report? Perhaps we tell ourselves we’ve failed or beat ourselves up on the inside.
Failure is a frame of mind. When we call ourselves a failure, we start to feel, think, and behave like one. But as long as we’re still trying and haven’t quit, we haven’t failed. We have failed only when we choose to put that label on ourselves.
The writer Neil Gaiman said, “Go and make mistakes, make amazing mistakes, make glorious and fantastic mistakes. Break the rules. Leave the world more interesting for you being here.” We can redefine failure and permit ourselves to break the writing rules. Think of failure as your personal trainer. By raising the exercise bar, it gives you physical stamina and emotional resilience, to face the next zinger the writing world throws.
Refrain from labeling yourself as a “failure”; treat it as a best friend teaching you that you have what it takes to see things through, despite the hard knocks.
Be Gutsy with Self-Promotion
Don’t think of your website as a self-promotion machine, think of it as a self-invention machine.
Your perseverance has finally paid off and you’re a published author. You might have editors like I did who suggested that I learn the art of shameless promotion. Your chest tightens. You flush. “I’m a writer,” you think, “not a marketer. Besides, it belittles my craft to commercialize it.” Is it appropriate to reach out to local bookstores, libraries, or businesses? Or is that too weird? And where’s the line between tooting our own horn and blasting people?
Self-promotion isn’t second nature for most writers, but our comfort with it is essential for success. Not only is it okay to reach out to let people know about our publications, it’s necessary. Otherwise, how can the public know what we’ve done? Usually bookstores and libraries appreciate knowing about our literary works.
One way to think about self-promotion is that we’re inventing our Writing Self—our persona as a writer. Once we get our feet wet, we discover how welcoming most people are and how much they want to support us. So instead of shying away from self-promotion, let’s get comfortable sharing and promoting our hard-earned work and tooting our horn, just not blasting too loudly.
Be gutsy and toot your own horn when you get published. Make sure you blow it softly, and think of it as the invention, debut, and celebration of your Writing Self.
High-Five Your Local Bookstore
Bookstores, like libraries, are the physical manifestation of the wide world’s longest, most thrilling conversation.
My local bookstore, Malaprop’s Bookstore and Café, is a unique gathering spot where locals browse and drink lattes and aspiring scribes hunch over laptops tapping in what they hope will be the next bestseller. Patrons are tantalized by pungent smells of fresh-ground coffee, commingled with a just-off-the-press scent of new ink and the musty aroma and seductive invitations from the bookshelves—thrillers, mysteries, memoir, histories, broken secrets, and sage advice on life.
Sometimes we authors forget that bookstores are alive, that they have feelings, and we take them for granted. We prance in and check the shelves to see if they stock our books. If you’re like me, you’re damned if they do and damned if they don’t. When my books are missing from the stacks, I assume the store isn’t stocking them. When the books are on the shelves, I conclude the store isn’t promoting them.
The relationship between authors and bookstores is a two-way street. We expect bookstores to support our work but forget that they also need our support, especially independent bookstores. If you haven’t already, visit your local bookstores and let them know of your work. Most local independents like to promote local authors, but they also appreciate local authors supporting them.
Frequent your local independent bookstores, purchase books from them, participate in their events, and encourage others to do the same.