Lake Atitlan, Panajachel, Guatemala

“Reading and writing are acts of empathy and faith. Guard that trust carefully — in this rapidly changing business, it’s the only sure thing.” ~Erin Keane
"Never give up. And most importantly, be true to yourself. Write from your heart, in your own voice, and about what you believe in." ~ Louise Brown

"Write something to suit yourself and many people will like it; write something to suit everybody and scarcely anyone will care for it."
~Jesse Stuart

"A writer's job is to take one thing and make it stand for twenty." ~ Virginia Woolf

Friday, April 2, 2010

Seven Self-defeating Author Attitudes

I was given this award by beautiful bloggers Niki and Brigid.

But I'm cheating on the rules and instead of saying seven interesting things about my dull self, I am listing seven self-defeating attitudes for authors. Because you are all beautiful writers and need to not think any of these things, because it won't help your career goals one bit if you do:

>1. I can't take rejection. (Yes, you can. And you will. Again and again and again. If you want to be an author, you gotta pay the dues!)

2. There are too many books out there already. I have nothing new to offer. (That's crap. Yes, you do. Stop it. Want a little cheese with your whine?)

3. I won't submit a query or a promotional plan with my first three chapters. My writing speaks for itself. (An agent or editor likes to know the person they're going to get into bed with for the next how many years. That cover letter introduces you. Make it good. And a savvy promotional plan shows that you understand your market and how to reach it.)

4. Any agent is better than no agent at all.
(Absolutely untrue. Would you say that any lawyer is better than no lawyer at all? Like if you were facing a murder rap? Do your research.)

5. Any press that takes unagented submissions is out to get the author. (A small press can be an excellent way to break into the market. They accept unagented submissions because they pay small or no advances, and agents won't go there. Doesn't mean they are unsavory. Trust your instincts. If you've done your research and carefully reviewed the contract, and feel like it's fair, it probably is.)

6. "POD" means the same as "small print run."
(POD means print-on-demand, and is used when the title is intended largely for internet sales, not bookstore sales. A small print run means the publisher isn't sure how the book will do in the marketplace and so they don't want to risk printing 10,000 copies to sit in the distributor's warehouse.)

7. It's not my job to promote my books. That's up to the publisher. (Who are you? Ernest Hemingway? This isn't the Forties-- get out there and twitter.)

I could have come up with way more than 7, but I'm going with the blog award idea. Now I pass it along to these beautiful bloggers who I always enjoy reading:

Ellen at Pink Tea and Paper
whose post today unlocked the pages icon for me.

Dominique at En Violet who is always clever and thoughtful in her posts.

Barbara at My Kitchen Table
, who already got it but is so interesting I want to know more.

Pat Tillett who writes incredible snippets of his fascinating life.

Steena Holmes at Chocolate Reality
who has awesome shoes & lipstick with the chocolate blog.


  1. (Who are you? Ernest Hemingway? This isn't the Forties-- get out there and twitter.)

    Karen does this mean you're going to do something else you said you wouldn't ?

  2. Awww :) Thanks for the award Karen!

  3. Loved this post, felt like boot camp for the nearly published, I felt all motivated by the end of it, yes, sir, I mean Karen.
    I am not Ernest Hemingway, I am not Ernest Hemingway.... I must self-promote.
    Thanks for excellent advice.

  4. Thanks for the advice and the award, Karen - this is a great take on the 7 interesting things :)

  5. David, probably not. Twitter just fit in the sentence better. You know, the juxtaposition of Ernest Hemingway and twitter. It's comic.

  6. Although many of us WISH we were Hemingway.

  7. Great motivational post! I like #2!

  8. Karen, thanks for both the award and your kind words. Coming from you, I take them both as great compliments.

  9. Congrats on the award and loved the way you cut down the excuses. No excuses...write well and sell.


  10. Love it when we step out of our comfort zones! I am going to print this one for sure. I just started a Twitter account for my writing side of life. This is timely advice and a great list!

  11. Hi

    Congratulations on your lovely award!

    And very sensible 7 things for aspiring writers to think about (and not do!).

    p.s I'm loving how your blog is looking!!

    Take care

  12. Are you on twitter? :)

  13. I'm so glad I'm not Hemingway! there's no way he would've written the book I wrote. LOL.

    Great post, Karen. So perfect. Attitude is 90% of the battle!

  14. Good points for every aspiring writer to remember.

  15. Those are all so true. Thanks for telling us never to think of them.

  16. Thanks for the pep talk! And congrats to the winners!

  17. Great list! awww you're not dull at all!!! :o)

  18. This is really great advice! And I actually love how you changed up the award :)

  19. Great advice Karen.
    In the teeth of a rejection slip it can be hard not to think some of them!

  20. Really enjoyed this post, Karen. All very true and very good points for EVERY writer to keep in mind.

  21. Good stuff - like the line "That's crap."

  22. I loved that line in in two, a little cheese with your whine. Love it. Great twist on the award. All very good points. Still smiling, thanks for that Karen!

  23. Great post - made me smile :-)

  24. LOVED this post! It was chock full of pertinent reminders sprinkled with your fantastic brand of humor. Number 7 cracked me up the most!

    Thanks for stopping by my blog. To answer your question, my fab layout (it's new and I'm still excited about it) is one of the free templates on Here's the URL for the page I grabbed mine from:

    It was a royal pain in the @$$ to personalize my banner, but I'm an avid Paint Shop Pro junkie and know how to get inside the HTML coding and monkey with it...and I'm stubborn enough to devote an entire day to the task. (It would have taken less time, actually, if the Blogger Mice hadn't been chewing the cyber lines that day...) Other than that, the actual template was very easy to install and format, probably the easiest I've ever attempted. I thought the three column layout would be hard to work with, but the template is very user friendly.

    Thanks for asking and I'm glad you like it! Have a wonderful Easter weekend!!

  25. Congrats, Karen, on the award! Yay!

    I love this post. I think the biggest challenge we face as writers isn't rejection. It's ourselves.

    Happy Easter!

  26. Congratulations on your award!

    "Who are you? Ernest Hemingway? This isn't the Forties-- get out there and twitter.)" Laughing!

    David J. West - I was wondering the same thing!

  27. Such an interesting blog you have. Glad to find you!

  28. Love this post! Makes me smile. Congrats on the award.

  29. Great post and I love your seven things. And congrats on your awards. Well-deserved. :)

  30. Congrats on your award, and thanks for the seven things - funny and inspirational!

  31. LOL! Thanks for keeping us in line :) "This isn't the Forties - get out there & Twitter." Love it.

  32. Congrats on your award, and good post!

  33. I think I'll be okay with rejection. It's the acceptance that is going to give me a heart attack.

  34. Congrats on your award!!

    Happy Easter

  35. Ha ha... do u want cheese with ur whine! Brilliant.

    Thanks for nominating moi again.. dunno if I have any real/true interesting facts left. Will have to see what I can do!

    Happy Easter Sunday.... we all feeling slightly sick now, having demolished too much chocolate!

  36. Great post...I needed a kick in the pants....Now maybe I'll stop whinning and send out some queries. :)

  37. What a great idea, thanks for the wake up calls and links. :)

    I had to smile at the whine comment you made. A shop here in Cyprus store has an English sign...The Whine Shop, I am so tempted to go in an whinge away...LOL

  38. Glynis, Did they sell cheese with their whine?