And the Winner is…ME!

Pencil erasing the word attitude on paper

Once upon a time, a man set out on the ocean in a small boat for a three-hour tour. The weather started getting rough, the tiny ship was tossed, if not for the courage of the fearless crew (of one) the boat would have been lost.

The boat landed on an uncharted island and the man was stranded, but alive.

Twenty years later, a larger ship happened upon the island and noticed a beautifully built town, so it sailed into the nicely appointed port and a landing party walked ashore. There waiting to greet the rescuers was the stranded sailor who had built a nice, but solitary life for himself.

“What a beautiful town you have built!” remarked the rescuers.

“Thank you, I figured if I was going to be here, I might as well be comfortable,” answered the island’s lone resident.

“I see you have a library, a school, a night club, a nice home and even a church. But we also noticed there is another church on the other side of island. Why are there two?” commented the captain of the rescue vessel.

The man shot back in a terse manner, “Oh, that was the church I used to attend.”

The story wouldn’t be nearly as funny if it was true, but every humorous story has a grain of truth contained in it, right?

This is the final post of a three part series on attitudes exhibited in publishing. Back on March 4 of this year, I started with a post about pessimismOn May 6, I wrote about fear and today, I want to comment on the most dangerous attitude of all for an author or publisher (or for that matter, agents)…arrogance.

For an author, this attitude is manifested in the form of, “I am my own favorite author.” For publishers, it is evidenced by a hyper-competitive spirit that won’t allow them to admit that they have any weakness or that another publisher might do something better than they.

Arrogance is a form of self-deception that might motivate for a short time, but inevitably leads to bitterness and isolation in an industry whose very nature is best exhibited in collaboration, between authors, authors and booksellers and between authors and publishers. Simply, in this industry, we need each other.

Focusing only on authors, here are some suggestions to avoid falling into the trap that, “I am my favorite author.”

First, read other authors in your category or genre with an eye for appreciating them, not looking to criticize. A major creative trap is where you look at another’s work and “re-write” it in your mind…instead of looking for the good in what they write. Basically, learn from other authors.

Second, regularly get together with other writers, not always to critique what they do, but to encourage each other.  You’d be surprised how much personal darkness is pushed back by simply encouraging another person.

Third, intentionally have a favorite author who is not…you. Tell them. And because you have to tell them, that author must be a living competitor of yours and not some long-since-dead obscure author who is not a threat to your career.

Finally, and most important, spend some of your time promoting other writers that you enjoy. Telling your readers about other authors they might like has no negative impact on your sales, in fact, will only serve to grow your reputation. Humility seems to be a very attractive trait.

If you do these four things, I predict that the dark cloud that will eventually threaten to eclipse your writing career will blow away. The best way to fight a negative attitude or behavior is to replace it with something positive, in this case, through specific, intentional actions.

When Christ said to love others as we love ourselves, there is a command and an assumption in that statement. The assumption is that we will always love ourselves, but we need to intentionally love others.  The same applies to authors.

Leave a Comment

Marcher Lord Press is Rebranded with a New Name

by Steve Laube At the recent Realm Makers conference in Philadelphia I had the privilege to announce that Marcher Lord Press is being rebranded as Enclave Publishing. I am excited to officially reveal the new logo below (More thoughts after the picture). Notice the tip of the sword… Why the …

Read More

Why You Shouldn’t Be Depressed by Facebook

Lately I’ve been seeing articles about how some people find personal status updates on Facebook and other social media depressing. Apparently people put on their best “faces” so their lives seem better than yours. Most of these articles aren’t written from a Christian perspective, so they ignore the fact that …

Read More

Editing Etiquette

Writers and editors have a love-hate relationship. Okay, sometimes it can feel like a hate-hate relationship. Writers all know they need to be edited, but getting the manuscript back with those edits can be more painful than passing a kidney stone. And editors know they need to respect the author’s …

Read More

Actually, The World is Pretty Big

At one time or another, every one of us have remarked how small the world is, usually caused by meeting someone by chance and finding out that you both know a certain person, or went to school with the person, are both reading the same books, are fans of the …

Read More

Happy 10th Anniversary!

by Steve Laube It is hard to believe that this weekend marks ten years since I made the decision to open The Steve Laube Agency in 2004. I can honestly say it has been a blessing to have the opportunity to serve the industry and our authors in this capacity. It …

Read More

Fun Fridays – May 23, 2014

A great song about books! Lyrics: If You Love to Read There’s a story waiting to be told Waiting for all of us, whether we’re young or old The story is in there if you take a look Go ‘head and and open up, the pages of a book If …

Read More

How Do You Define Summer Reading?

Now that summer is nigh, I’m thinking about what I’d like to read over the next few months. I have not yet decided. But at least now I can choose for myself. At my college prep school, we were assigned summer reading. To enter eighth grade, we were assigned The …

Read More

Look Up!

by Karen Ball A friend shared the video at the end of this blog with me in response to what I wrote here last week. I love the message, not just for me personally, but for anyone who seeks to touch people through their writing. Because really, how effective can …

Read More