#AUTHORS, WHAT’S YOUR ONLINE REPUTATION AND DO YOU EVEN CARE? #RRBC #RWISA

Reputation is everything

…and if it isn’t to you, then Houston, we have a problem.  Your reputation – is it reputable or is it dishonorable?  Well, so that you have a clear understanding of what a reputation is, let me give you a little refresher on the word.

The estimation in which a person or thing is held, especially by the community or the general public;  the way in which people think of someone or something.

As an author, regardless of what others think or how I am perceived, my reputation is of extreme importance to me.  I have worked hard to build my name and standing in the literary community, therefore, I guard it, and the perception of it, with great care.

Because we interact with our peers and our “communities” without the comfort of solidarity, yet, in an anonymous world behind keyboards, there are those that feel these situations offer a green light to behave poorly and recklessly.

We’re all familiar with online “trolls,” aren’t we?  The ones who go around the web wreaking havoc on everyone’s lives and enjoying every moment of it?  These people tend to hide behind fictitious names so that no one knows who they are, and their steps can’t be easily traced.  After the demise of those fake identities, they simply create new ones to continue along their senseless paths of destruction.  (Wait – let’s not focus on these trolls too much, as I have not the time or the energy to spend on them, even in my writing.  So, moving right along …).  And then, there are those who cause similar chaos online under their real names or Pen names…they just don’t care what others think about their poor behavior, and truth be told, these are the ones I worry about most. The fact that they DON’T CARE ABOUT THEIR REPUTATION OR HOW THEY ARE PERCEIVED, is a very scary thing.  Trust me when I say that if they don’t care about their own, they will lose no sleep over trying to destroy or taint yours.

You see, when I hear someone say that they are an Author, I tend to hold them to a certain level of esteem, and I’ll admit, I also expect a certain amount of professionalism and decorum from Authors.  Why?  Because although change is good, there are some things (in my mind) that should never change.

I remember as a child, dreaming and wishing that I could one day meet my favorite Author (Louisa May Alcott), but deep down, knowing that would never be possible.  Not because she died in the 1800’s, but, when I was but a young lass, Authors just weren’t so “accessible,” and there was this mystery surrounding them.  (And in my opinion, a little mystery always makes life more interesting – wouldn’t you agree?)  We didn’t have the luxury of interacting with them on Facebook and Twitter the way it’s done now, and you know, that wasn’t such a bad thing.  The way they carried and conducted themselves, it was clear the Authors of old cared about their reputations and how they were perceived.  (Kind of reminds you of the Authors on the current RWISA roster, as well as those members of RRBC who also greatly value their professional reputations in this literary arena.)

Today, we have many who display attitudes of nonchalance of decent behavior all over social media.  This is evident when you see the kinds of conversations they carry on on Twitter, the types of images and videos they choose to share on Facebook, and lastly, the behavior they choose to exhibit publicly, period.  Sadly, I’m not only referencing the younger generation. I’ve seen the most unprofessional behavior recently from those who are in grandparent and great-grandparent seasons, that have shown me exactly the behavior TO NOT EXHIBIT when I’m in that same season of life.  I’ve witnessed with my own eyes, two adult women (Authors) in knock-down-drag-out cat fights (aka … war of words) on social media, and as an adult, a mom of daughters, and a professional Author … I was embarrassed for them.  Never in a million years, would I behave in such a manner!

In my embarrassment for these adults, I wondered, Do they not care that others are watching them?  Watching this?  Who would want to run out and purchase their books after witnessing such disgraceful behavior?  I surely wouldn’t.  I imagined seeing the both of them (in the real world) standing outside of a bar, brawling, pulling each other’s hair.  I experienced such embarrassment for them, just watching this play out online – because clearly, they weren’t embarrassed at all.

Engaging in this type of back and forth war-of-words publicly, seals the deal on your online reputation.  People who were friendly with you before, start to become quiet in your midst.  You’re now noticing the ones who once called you “friend,” are now moving away from your inner circle.   Still confused as to why?  People who hold themselves in high esteem, are smart enough to know that you can quickly be tagged as “the company you keep,” and I’ve never once heard that reference used in a good way. These people, professionals who care about their reputations, do not want to be aligned with amateurs who are clearly not in their league, nor are they on the same level.  I personally, tend to quickly move away from people who display such volatile and indecent behavior, as you just never know what they’ll do next.   When it’s displayed once, once is enough for me.  {Note to readers:  I’m the lady who believes what people show me … not so much what they tell me}.

As I wrap things up here, my advice to you is this: Think before you speak and think even harder before you act, lest you do or say something which you might regret later.  If, in the past, you have found yourself guilty of any form of public juvenile behavior, you can still turn things around, if you work hard enough.  Your online reputation is and should be, just as important as your reputation in the real world.  Let what yours say about you, be a true reflection of who you are and how you want to be perceived and received.  And, when others are behaving at a level that you would never stoop to, please, decline their invitation to that party.  There are some who have nothing better to do but spend their time “attempting” to bring others down and ruin lives, and that’s because their lives are so sad, they can’t stand the thought of others living in happy-land.  (FYI, Nonnie is the Mayor of Happy-land – just in case anyone wants to move closer to me … LOL)

What does your online reputation say about you? Is it reputable or is it deplorable?  What do you think others are saying about you, based on this kind of reputation?  We’d love to hear from you via the comments below.

Thanks for stopping by!

Better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to speak out and remove all doubt.

~Anonymous

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Pearls of #Literature on #Marketing, #Blogging, #Community & #Support, Pt. 7 #RRBC #RWISA

During our 4th Annual Writers’ Conference & Book Expo, I was scheduled to present a session on my “15 Pearls” of Literature on Marketing, Blogging, Community, and Support.  As it has worked out in the past (but won’t be the case anymore), I wasn’t able to get this session up in time but did get it done eventually – just not published.  Those who registered for that session will be getting 3 new sessions FREE during our upcoming 2020 WC&BE! 

This session on my “PEARLS…” will be shared here for all our members, in hopes that it will help in our quest to become more successful and better at marketing our work as we make connections that will benefit us professionally as well as personally.  These will be posted under our posting schedule of Mondays each week, in separate parts.

Welcome to Part 7!

TROLLING FOR TROUBLE

We should all know by now that the old adage, “Misery loves company” is true. Ever heard the term “troll” used online?  This term is often used to refer to those “haters” over in places like Goodreads-land (or those coming from other forums who continuously “troll” the RRBC site).  Now, I know some of you love Goodreads and that’s fine, but I tend to choose not to get too taken with people and places that are filled with ugly and negativity. It seems Goodreads was created specifically for these reasons.

Online, the term “troll” is used for those individuals who go around spreading negativity simply for sport.  They might give you a low review on Amazon just because … for no specific reason (or Goodreads, if your book is listed there).  They may not have even read your book, but in Goodreads-land especially, that’s OK – and from my experience with the forum, it’s also encouraged.  They do it just because they can.  With no one policing behavior in a forum, what is going to stop negative behavior from running rampant?  This is what goes on in that forum and others like it.

Today, we’re turning the table on “trolls,” or as I like to refer to them, trouble makers.

These people peruse sites looking for anything they can find wrong with someone’s book. If they don’t like the title, the cover, the author’s name … whatever it is they have decided to zoom in on, they find something to spark an ugly discussion about it. And, even if there is nothing wrong, let me tell you…they will create something. I call this trolling for trouble. There’s always a ring-leader who gets the other “trolls” all riled up and standing behind them in army-like fashion, until, that is, the one who the ringleader is attacking, stands up against them – then the ringleader somehow finds their way to the very back of the little “troll” army line. 

Even though these cowards (trolls”) are hiding behind their keyboards feeling tough, they feel defenseless when strong, intelligent words are thrown in their direction. You see, intelligence of any kind frightens them, as they are accustomed to using words that are used by people with very limited vocabularies. I don’t need to spell those words out for you … we all know the kinds of words I’m referring to. These “trolls” seek out books with sterling 5-star reviews and intentionally leave poor reviews just to put a dent in the author’s rating. (And by the way, I’m not referring to those of you who put a dent in a sterling 5-star undeserved track record when you leave an honest review. In those times, you’re doing a great service to your fellow readers and I applaud you for being brave enough to do so.)  What I’m referring to is what the “trolls” go around doing with negative intentions.  And how sick is that behavior?

I’m encouraging you to stand up to these bullies (“trolls”) and let them know that they are trolling for trouble in the wrong place. Let them also know that you will not be intimidated by their ugliness or the vulgarity of their very limited vocabularies. Show them that you will not back down from their little army of “troll” followers and that you will stand tall and strong until they go away.

We can’t please everyone all the time, but, we can surely keep these little troubled “trolls” on the run!

~ Nonnie Jules

***

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Pearls of #Literature on #Marketing, #Blogging, #Community & #Support, Pt. 6 #RRBC #RWISA

During our 4th Annual Writers’ Conference & Book Expo, I was scheduled to present a session on my “15 Pearls” of Literature on Marketing, Blogging, Community, and Support.  As it has worked out in the past (but won’t be the case anymore), I wasn’t able to get this session up in time but did get it done eventually – just not published.  Those who registered for that session will be getting 3 new sessions FREE during our upcoming 2020 WC&BE! 

This session on my “PEARLS…” will be shared here for all our members, in hopes that it will help in our quest to become more successful and better at marketing our work as we make connections that will benefit us professionally as well as personally.  These will be posted under our posting schedule of Mondays & Thursdays each week, in separate parts.

Welcome to Part 6!

ARE YOU PLAYING BY THE RULES OF PUBLISHING?

So, how did you fare in English 101? Did you get that evasive “A” that every overachiever chases or did you get that devilish “D” that scares most of us horribly? Well, fortunately, I am a self-proclaimed English major so we know what I was after.  I love English – I love words, and the dictionary is a book that I grew up reading as if it was my favorite novel. That being said, there is that part of English where (in my old age) I sometimes get stuck.

I admit to being a little too friendly with commas. I love commas! That’s obvious in my over-use of them sometimes. (Not very often, but, I willfully admit to having my moments).  Now, in defense of my use of commas, they keep us from running red lights, bumping head-first into each other, and, they tend to save lives – reading lives, that is, as they give us a chance to pause and breathe during those stories written by long-winded writers.  I won’t call your names, you know who you are.

When I ask are you playing by the rules of publishing, I’m referring to more than just your punctuation usage, though;  the rules of publishing go far beyond that. I mean, there are unwritten laws that, if broken, could send you spiraling straight into writers’ hell. (Yes, that’s a real place because I READ it somewhere.)

Do you write in 1st, 2nd or 3rd person consistently through-out one story, or, do you mix it up? Do you like to NOT use that comma in a salutation, such as “Hi, Harry?”  You know, there are people who are sticklers for things like that.  

But, there are those of us who go too far in breaking the rules of publishing and if you don’t know who you are, I’m pointing at you.  When you make huge mistakes and then say, “I did that intentionally,” or, “I like the way that looks,” you might be in trouble; not with the industry, but you’re making trouble for yourself. Let’s face it, some of those rules we can get away with breaking, but, others are a no-no and a definite book-kill.

Take the time to learn that which is most important in this industry, and sometimes what’s most important isn’t written in a manual – it’s listening to others and taking their good advice without defending your broken rules. Trust me, if those broken rules don’t bring you down, this industry surely will!

What rules do you tend to break in your writing?

~Nonnie Jules

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Here’s My Shoulder … Lean On Me #RRBC #RRBC_Community #Sunday #Inspiration @KirkFranklin @NYGovCuomo

It’s a beautiful Sunday outside my window and I was overwhelmed with a desire to share some inspiration today.

Listening to Governor Andrew Cuomo earlier, he made reference, that when you walk around in this pandemic, as if it can’t touch you (i.e. you’re not wearing masks, you’re having huge parties in your home, your gathering in large groups on the beach, etc.), you disrespect him, your neighbors, and your community.  I agree with him whole-heartedly.

His take on this compounded what I have felt all along – this pandemic is not a me thing, it’s not a you thing, it’s not a them thing – it’s an Us thing – a community thing. But, imagine the entire world as that community right now – our community.

For those of you in the RRBC/RWISA community, here’s my shoulder, you can lean on me.  If you need, let us know.

If you’ve never met Kirk Franklin, let me introduce you to him.  This is a #MustListen.  If it doesn’t force you to take the focus off of YOU and pay attention to your neighbor, there’s something going wrong on your insides.  (Ignore R. Kelly in the video, please – insert *eye roll*)

Let me tell you a story…

There’s a man, standing on the corner
He has no home, he has no food, and his blue skies are gone 
Can you hear him crying out?
And there’s a girl, searching for a father and a friend
Praying that the storm some day will end
But instead of walking away
Open up your heart and say
{I am here, you don’t have to worry I can see your tears
I’ll be there in a hurry when you call (Yes, I will)
Friends are there to catch you when you fall
Here’s my shoulder you can lean on me}
Oh, there’s a child, who is sick and begging to be free
But there is no cure for his disease
He looks up to his mother as (she holds his hands)
Praying that some day the sun will shine again
And the pain will end
{I am here, you don’t have to worry I can see your tears
I’ll be there in a hurry when you call
Friends are there to catch you when you fall
Here’s my shoulder you can lean on me}
Tell me how can I, how can I love Jesus
When I’ve never seen his face?
Yea I see you’re dying and I turn and walk away
So, hold my hand
Let me take you to a friend of mine
He’s waiting just to ease your troubled mind
Instead of walking away
Open up your heart and say
{I am here, you don’t have to worry I can see your tears
I’ll be there in a hurry when you call
Friends will be there to catch you when, catch you when you fall
Here’s my shoulder you can lean on me}

***

#StayHome #StaySafe #ReadBooks from the #RRBC Catalog!

~Nonnie Jules