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An Author’s Responsibilty – Cindy Sproles

This isn’t the good old days. Those are past. The times of publishers wooing their authors is long gone. Budget cuts, editors shifting houses, and an unstable economy has taken the “royalty” out of the royalties.

Not so many years ago, an author who sighed a book contract with a major publisher was lavished with attention, marketing and books strategically placed in prominent spots on the bookshelves of large bookstores. Like I said, “This isn’t the good old days.”

These days, a major factor in authors receiving a contract is based on what the author can do to sell their book. This brings me to a point. Author responsibility.

It begins with ATTITUDE.

The Attitude of Entitlement – Once you’re a published author, you’re not entitled to sit down on your duff and do nothing. If you’ll notice, even best selling authors like Nicholas Sparks, James Patterson and even Bill O’Reilly have to market their books. As soon as their book releases you’ll find them making appearances to tell others about their books. Just because they are best sellers doesn’t mean they’re entitled to just sit back and wait for their book to sell. Any good author who wants their book to be a success, makes an effort to sell the book.

The Bucket List Attitude – The attitude of today’s writer leans toward the “bucket list” mentality. In other words, “I’ve got a book on the shelf, check that off my bucket list.” And from the day the book rests on the writer’s shelf, it’s considered history. Who really cares if it sells. “I have a book. Now I can tell everyone I’m a published author.” The questions that follows is simple…why would a writer work endless hours to produce a book and once it’s published…walk away, let it flounder? Mary Kay Ash, founder of Mary Kay Cosmetics once said, “Much is lost if but for a little more effort.” In other words, the greatest rewards are lost because of that last push over the finish line. Why settle for second place when you could finish first?

The Owe Me Attitude – The attitude that “I’m published. This is the book you’ve waited for. You owe me to sell this book.” Is there any further explanation needed? Sad but true. I see this attitude all the time, especially in new authors. Why? Has the thought of hard work and sweat been completely lost? There is no reward in having things handed to you free gratis. Work, strive for success, make it happen because the effort was there.

The I Just Want it Published Attitude – With the rise of smaller publishing houses and the ability to self publish, more authors take on the “I just want it published” attitude. The pros and cons are subject to debate but the attitude is not. Whether you choose to run with a small publisher or self-publish — publishing just because you want it published is a serious mistake. It’s the sign of a lazy writer and one who feels their work shouldn’t be subject to any scrutiny. It’s also says, “I’m impatient and unwilling to put the extra work into my manuscript to make it valuable to a large publisher.” Let me clarify. There is nothing wrong with publishing with a small publisher. NOTHING. It’s the attitude that is wrong. If you run with a small publisher “Just because they will publish your book” then perhaps you should rethink your attitude.

A Change in Attitude

The gift of writing is a gift from God. It should be treated as such. Used for His glory and allowed in His time. Our author impatience and attitude can and will stifle God’s plan to use the work. When He blesses you with a contract for your work, know you have been chosen and then suit up and march forward making every effort to show your attitude of gratitude to the Father who gifted you. Develop the desire to put Christ first in your writing, understand your gift may not be meant for publication but more importantly…for the guy standing next to you. God’s plans are perfect. As you write, let the words of your mouth, the meditation of your hearts and your attitude, offer Him praise.

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