How The Professionals Handle Negative Book Reviews #RRBC @RRBC_Org @RRBC_RWISA @Tweets4RWISA

If you follow my blogs, you should know by now that when I post, there will always be a lesson to be gleaned from each post.  This one will be no different.  By now you should also know that I don’t sugarcoat things.  I’ll leave that to those who don’t know how to appreciate a world of truths. 

We’ve all been there … on the dirty end of a negative book review. And although negative book reviews cut some deeper than others, they all leave us with a special feeling – the need for a good cry, or they might even give us a hearty chuckle – that’s if you don’t feel that reviews “define” you, which clearly they do for some.

RRBC was founded almost 10 years ago because of a strong need for a place to go and get truly honest reviews of your books;  a place where the courage to be honest in reviews, was and still is, strongly encouraged;  a place where readers of all backgrounds could read reviews and know that they had come from a place of pure truth – ugly warts and all.

If you’ve ever sat in on an episode of RAVE WAVES “RATERS NOT HATERS,” you know that Shirley Harris-Slaughter is a really great reviewer in that she gives an honest opinion of the books she has read.  And what makes her great at what she does as host of that show, is her courage to be honest about the books she’s read.

Since the inception of RATERS NOT HATERS, many books have been profiled on the show … even mine.  And although we may not like it when the host points out issues in our books, here are three awesome things about this show and its host, that you can always take straight to the bank…

  1. The host never discusses her reviews with anyone before the show.  What you see when you get there is not Bravo reality TV – it’s honest reality, in typical RRBC-style;
  2. Her reviews are always honest and unbiased.  It doesn’t matter how much she loves you, she is going to be truthful about what she has read.  Whether your book was amazing, and even if there were too many hiccups for her to get through the read smoothly, she will always share that truth;
  3. And here is the most important factor that I’d like for you to stew in for a long while:  The integrity of Shirley Harris-Slaughter is above reproach…

…and when I know that her integrity is being questioned and is under attack because someone didn’t like the review she gave their book (especially as host of RATERS NOT HATERS), that’s when you get to hear from me, and hearing from me via this format, is not always a comfortable place.

When we review books, we don’t have to take the time to share with the authors privately the issues we may have found in their books.  If someone does that for you, be grateful for that gift, but expecting that everyone is going to do that, is your entitlement on full display.  I’m the President and Founder of RRBC & RWISA and I’m not entitled to that privilege, so, if someone extends to me that courtesy, I am deeply honored, but in no way at all do I feel it is my right to have it.  No one owes us anything.  We should just be thankful that there are those who are brave enough and who care about us enough, to be truly honest about issues they find in our books, as opposed to walking around with a chip on our shoulder because we’re not being praised (and because someone’s truth hurt our little feelings). 

If you’re going to survive and thrive in this business, you need a thick skin – no, I don’t mean talking the talk about thick skin, I mean walking the walk, and showing the world that you have what it takes to be here and remain here.  If you’re upset about editing issues found in your book, the person or persons you need to take that up with and be upset with, is the person or persons who edited your book!  Please, thank the messenger – don’t attempt to disparage them.

A member recently felt compelled to send Paula a message stating that they didn’t want to post their review publicly of a book they’d read, but wanted to know if they would still be credited for the review.  Yes, they were afraid they might get attacked if they posted their 3-star review with mention of editing issues found in the book.  Is this what we’re being reduced to?  Adults professing to be Professionals yet throwing tantrums, causing some to be afraid to share their truth publicly?  WRONG ORGANIZATION FOR THAT NONSENSE!

So, let me get to the gist of this post and tell you what true PROFESSIONALS do and don’t do when they receive negative reviews or reviews pointing out issues found in their books:

  • If the review was clearly not posted by a “troll,” they thank the person for taking the time to read and review their book and they do it with a sincere heart;
  • They don’t go around trying to drum up support from others stating that someone gave them a bad review because “they must be jealous of me.”  What do you think you have that others might be jealous of?  I’m just curious;
  • They don’t take to social media with passive-aggressive posts about the reviewer, under the guise of only trying to help others get past bad reviews.  No, let’s be honest here, you’re trying to drum up sympathy for your hurt pride when you stoop to that level;
  • They don’t go around seeking validation from others (those they know will only praise them), asking, “Did you find anything wrong with my book?”  Seriously?
  • And after all of the above is said and done, they do absolutely nothing!  They let it roll off their backs and they go about their merry way without nary another word of it.  Professional status, still intact.

That’s how real Professionals handle negative book reviews, comments, or even being profiled on RATERS NOT HATERS – where they rate, not hate! They don’t let it consume them.  They don’t lose sleep over it.  They recognize that a review is only someone’s opinion and they move on from it.  And if they must vent, they do it privately, so as not to alert the world that they can’t handle the truth about their books.  That’s it!  That’s how the real pros handle these situations.  They don’t turn it into something messy, ugly, and divisive.

When you behave in such a manner, all you’re doing is keeping readers away from your books, especially those who you can be assured will be “honest” about your book and its issues.  Who’s going to waste their time purchasing, reading, and reviewing a book when they know the author throws tantrums when they read or hear something they don’t like?  Who in their right mind would bother? 

I want everyone to hear me loud and clear.  I’m not here to win any popularity contests and I’m sure I have more nay-sayers than I do fans.  Why?  Because I stand in my truths and I have no cowardice in my DNA and those two combinations are lethal to some in our literary community.  Actually, Nonnie only cares about the opinions of those who feed, clothe, provide shelter, and love and support her.  If you’re in that class of people, thank you!  So, with that being said, I’m going to always give it to you straight with no chasers, and if you don’t like it, well, eventually, you’ll get over it.  When I am witness to ugly behavior, unprofessional behavior, and adult tantrums, expect that I will speak out about it and call it out for what it is.  Enough is enough.  If this post feels like it’s directed at you, then maybe it is, and you should do a better job of trying to convince others that you are this Professional who can handle constructive critiques of your work, because what you are displaying, is shouting the total opposite of that.

I don’t know how many times I can say that I removed my first novel from Amazon over 4 years ago.  Why?  Not because someone pointed out any issues (but, I wish they would have) – no, it was the opposite.  I looked at it through eyes that have grown considerably since I penned that book and it wasn’t worthy of sitting on Amazon for anyone to purchase. It hasn’t been returned to Amazon and it won’t be until I have the time to give it a proper re-edit.  Now, if I can say that about my own work, know that I, along with the host of RATERS NOT HATERS, will always be honest about what we recognize as issues with yours.  

We’ve had many leave our beautiful club because they couldn’t handle hearing the truth about their writing, and all I have to say to that is, it’s their loss and I wish them the best of luck.  We only grow when we’re being fed the truth and continually challenged to put our best foot forward in our writing.  And by the way, RRBC & RWISA will only cease to function when Nonnie walks out the door.  

What does it make you when you can point out the problems in the work of others, yet you throw a tantrum when the truth of issues with your own work are presented to you as a gift and you scoff at it?  I call it a gift because when someone is honest with you about your work, it is a gift and you owe the donor a huge amount of gratitude.  Stop professing to be and actually work at being.  I’m quite certain that the best version of you, professionally and personally, is waiting to be introduced to the world.

Stop shouting, “You know me, I can handle the truth…” when you really can’t. Stop saying that you want to be told about issues found in your books when you really don’t.  How many of you really do, though?  I don’t want to waste my time bringing something to your attention, only to find out later I’m the subject of one of your tweets.

Thanks for dropping by and I wish for you all a lifetime of Happy Reading and nothing but HONEST REVIEWING!  That’s all that we want to be shared here in our forums – honest reviews.

Lisa Kirazian in “WHO’S ON THE SHELF” w/@NonnieJules – #RRBC @kirazian

Hello, and welcome to “WHO’S ON THE SHELF?” with yours truly, Nonnie Jules! Since we are a book club, you know we had to offer something that included a bookshelf. A lot of interviews merely cover an author’s work or an individual’s career stories. Here on this “SHELF,” we get down and dirty and ask the questions no other interviewer dare ask. We ask the questions that you want to open up a book and find the answers to on your favorite authors and fellow book club members, but, no one has dared to cover them. We get personal! Because, when you sit on this “SHELF,” YOU have to be an open book! Even if I have to pry you open!

Today, we have a special guest on the SHELF with us, RRBC / RWISA member,  Author, LISA KIRAZIAN!

NJ:  Before we get started, how do you like the design and feel of my new shelf?  We updated it in 2017 and in all honesty, I can’t recall any accidents lately, so I think this redesign is working.  It’s time for another new update but maybe later in the year. Are you comfy?

LISA:  Yes — it’s clear and clean, a nice refresh! Like a sunroom or peaceful patio with a comfy chair.

NJ:  Oh, it’s definitely clean and clear of clutter … otherwise, I’d have to ban myself to that island where messy folks are sent.  So, let’s jump right in since we’re running a little behind and start by confirming whether or not your author name is your birth name or a pen name.

Lisa:  My pen name, Lisa Kirazian, is my maiden name. My married last name is Kradjian, which is very similar. So there is sometimes confusion. I was publishing before I was married so it made sense to keep my maiden name as my pen name, but for everything else, I’ve changed my name to Kradjian.

NJ:  How funny that your two last names would be so similar!  Is it a cultural thing – the K – zian?  You can answer that later for me.  Tell us where you were born?  Do you still live there now?  If not, what city and state are you calling home these days?

Lisa:  I was born and raised in San Diego in an Armenian American family. I have also lived in Palo Alto when I was a student at Stanford, in the Bay Area, and in Los Angeles, but San Diego was home from birth to age 24 and then from age 29 until now. I came back to live in San Diego when I got married and have been here ever since. You never think you are going to end up back in your hometown, but I am glad for it.

NJ:  Sounds awesome.  For me, I never assumed that I’d leave my hometown and I didn’t, of course, but others are clearly braver and more adventurous than I am.  So, you’re married.  To whom and for how long?  

Lisa:  Married to my husband Steve for 20 years.

NJ:  20 years – unheard of during these times, would you agree?  Good for you!  Any kids?  What kind? Do you like them?

Lisa:  2 daughters, ages 11 and 15. Yes, I like them. And I love them.

NJ:  Well, of course, we have to love them, but, I’m told sometimes there are some that aren’t that likable.  OK, if you’re not there already, when you’re old and cranky, which one will keep you at home to care for you themselves, and which one started seeking out the A PLACE FOR MOM franchise facility in your area when they were 9?

Lisa:  The jury is still out on this one :).

NJ:  See!  Again.  We have to love them…  Hahaha.  Any pets?  What kind?  They act like kids, too, so I have to ask the same question…do you like them?

Lisa:  Australian Labradoodle named Zoe who is 2. Our fluff ball – yes, we love her.

NJ:  Oh, I’d love to see a picture of that one!  She sounds gorgeous.  Maybe have one posted to your RRBC Author Page.  What’s the food that’s so good to you, you go to bed dreaming about it, and you forego breakfast just to get to it?

Lisa:  Too many to name! Five rolled tacos with guac from Roberto’s. Very San Diego. 

NJ:  What’s your favorite color?  

Lisa:  Red and Black

NJ:  Favorite sport…

Lisa:  Baseball (I used to play softball)

NJ:  Favorite TV Show…

Lisa:  SNL

NJ:  Really?  I never fell into that like everyone else did.  OK.  Favorite Actress/Actor…

Lisa:   June Allyson.

NJ:  Do you like to exercise to stay fit OR do you not mind walking around with a beer belly?

Lisa:  Clearly, I don’t mind the pudge. But I am working on getting back in shape!

NJ:  During this pandemic which we are all living through right now, what is the one thing you find that relaxes you and calms your mind and spirit?

Lisa:  Praying, number one. Also journaling, watching favorite movies, watching baseball, listening to music.

NJ:  In 15 words or less, what is the most common thing that the people who really know you, ALWAYS say about you?  For instance, everyone who knows me all say: “You always know where she stands on things. You’re never left to wonder.”

Lisa:  “You are funny without even trying.” (6 words)

“Loving for sure.” (3 words)

“You are selfless, kind, hardworking, understanding.” (6 words)

15 total 😉

NJ:  Well, OK!  Biggest pet peeve that makes you want to spit nails?  (For the record, NJ does not condone violence, but she does believe in being honest, so she admits that there are those times and there are those people, who do cause her to want to spit a few nails in the direction of their foreheads.  Hey, just being honest.  It’s the only way I roll).

Lisa:  Too many pet peeves. Gotta work on that. But given that we are in a book club, I’d say people who say “irregardless!” AGHHHHHHH!!!!!!!  STOPPPP!! IT’S NOT A WORD!

NJ:  LOL!  I’m on the floor with that one, Lisa!  But, irregardless of how you feel about the word…it looks like a word to me.  Hahaha!!! 

…So, are you neat or messy?

Lisa:  Messy.

NJ:  Well at least you didn’t beat around the bush about it.  Thank goodness!  Here’s another – are you nice or mean?  Is that your perception of you, or is that what others think of you?

Lisa:  Nice. Amazingly, other say so. I’m not sure I am…

NJ:  Facebook or Twitter?

Lisa:  Twitter

NJ:  We’ve come to realize that the internet is giving way to tons of budding friendships.  Who would you say is the one person you’ve connected with the most…your internet BFF or buddy?

Lisa:  An awesome gal and former literary manager named Jenny Frankfurt. We’ve spoken for years, she has given advice on my work, we send each other birthday fundraiser gifts and books, vote the same way, etc., but have never met!

NJ:  How cool!  I have one of those.  Who’s the one person that you’ve met online who makes you laugh the hardest?

Lisa:  The author Anne Lamott, so witty and down to earth and insightful. Love her.

NJ:  Who do you favor most:  Nonnie Jules or Wonder Woman? Be honest.

I’m sorry but I’ve been a Wonder Woman fiend since elementary school. I was obsessed with Lynda Carter and wanted to be her. I collected all things Wonder Woman. I went to the early days of the Comic Con in San Diego when it was just a little hotel room with cardboard boxes of comic books and movie stills, looking for Wonder Woman comic books. I practiced twirling like her. I made my own “bullet proof” wristbands and truth lasso. I have the whole TV series on DVD and can still sing the theme song. I’m still obsessed even now in the Gal Gadot era.

NJ:  That Wonder Woman?  Name two favorite INDIE books that you’ve read by RRBC members:

Lisa:  “Rave Soup for the Writer’s Soul: An Anthology, 1st and 2nd Editions.” To see the breadth and depth of the writers in RRBC is inspiring and motivating — it keeps me on my toes to see not only how dedicated they are but how prolific they are, and how supportive they are of each other.  I love immersing in multiple forms as well, because I’m a hybrid writer myself, working across genres. The anthologies are true snapshots of the club.

NJ:  Glad you like those anthologies.  Give us the name of ONE good INDIE book you’ve read written by an RRBC member that was so good you wished the entire world would read it.

 Lisa:  My favorite piece of writing by RRBC in recent memory is Karen Black’s short story, “A Candle in the Darkness.” (A recent RWISA U grad, no less!)

NJ: What was so great about it?

Lisa:  I don’t want to give anything away in “A Candle in the Darkness,” but I have not been able to stop thinking about it — slow and steady and then taking the reader in an unexpected direction. It affected me because I did not expect the outcome, and it has fascinated me ever since. Plus, it was very visual, very ethereal. And I can’t drive by and look at a roadside motel in the same way again.

NJ:  I’m sure Karen will be pleased to hear that.  Moving on, after you read books, do you post reviews?

Lisa:  Yes.

NJ:  What do you think readers should base their reviews on?

Lisa:  The quality and “heart” of the book, the distinct elements of the author’s craft, and the uniqueness of the story/idea.

NJ:  Are you one of those who are afraid to be honest in their reviews lest the author gets upset with you, or is honesty your best policy, especially in reviews?  

Lisa:  I don’t know them so I can’t be afraid of them getting upset 🙂 But I always season with lots of grace. My father was a professional literary and music critic, as well as a literature professor, and he was always surrounded by people who loved to hear the sound of their own voice in their critiques and lectures and loved putting other authors or artists down to somehow elevate themselves. He always said that no matter how awful a book or play or film was that he was reviewing, he would ALWAYS find something good or noteworthy to say about it, so that the review was balanced. As a writer and a composer himself, he knew how challenging it was. I try to do the same.

NJ:  Read any poorly written books lately?

Lisa:  No. I don’t have enough time to read as much as I’d like, such that I would read so many books where a clunker would even be in there. I haven’t even read all the classics I want to read — and I was an English major!

NJ:  There are some INDIE authors who have come onto the scene and have given our literary playing field a new look.  Can you name two INDIE authors who have done this in your eyes?  And, how have they changed the field for us?

Lisa:  If you’re talking in the context of RRBC, I would say you and Jan Sikes. You challenge us to raise our game. And you both motivate me to take ownership of the ENTIRE process — not just the writing and revising, but the marketing and social media/web content as well. I do think that’s how writers have to be now, and from now on: they have to take the reins of the entire process but still allow others to come alongside to help, advise, and give needed feedback.

NJ:  No, actually I was speaking generally.  There are some innovators and trailblazers outside of RRBC, but, moving right along – are you an author?  Are you a good one?  C’mon, we love honesty here.

Lisa:  Yes and Yes.

NJ:  How long have you been writing?

Lisa:  Since age 5. I had my first stage play produced when I was 18.

NJ:  Are you able to take constructive criticism of your written work?

Lisa:  Yes. 

NJ:  Name two books that you’ve written.

Lisa:  Bravura and Appassionato 

NJ:  Which one do you think is the best?

Lisa:  Not sure. Bravura is the strongest world-creation. Appassionato is the most relationally raw and honest. 

NJ:  Which online resource or organization has helped you as an author the most?

Lisa:  Stanford Alumni, UCLA Extension. RRBC

NJ:  How were you helped by them?

Lisa:  Mentorship from Stanford, practical coursework from UCLA, and opportunities/reviews/exposure from RRBC!

NJ:  Since you’re sitting on the SHELF, you’re obviously a RAVE REVIEWS BOOK CLUB member, so what do you think of the club?

Lisa:  It’s fantastic. I am writing about it in one of my guest blog posts this month and have loved writing about it before. It is totally unique in terms of the support and the exposure for writers. And it is ahead of its time in terms of being online and international long before COVID demanded book clubs and writers’ conferences and arts organizations transition their programming online. The fact that we can be online or on a radio show talking with fellow writers from England, Africa, the U.S. and more, is remarkable.

NJ:  Have you come across any other online entities like it?

Lisa:  Nope. For the reasons I shared above. And I go more into detail about that in one of my guest blog posts this month.

NJ:  Would you recommend it to your friends and family?

Lisa:  I have! But they are not as fully active in their writing yet as they hope to be. Hopefully soon!

NJ:  Are you a member of the prestigious RWISA?  If so, what do you think of it?

Lisa:  Yes. Also a great honor. As writers we always want to be getting better, pushing ourselves more. RWISA represents that for me. It challenges me to keep up my writing and revising on a regular basis. I have a ways to go!

NJ:  What’s your most favorite program or place here within RRBC(#PUSHTUESDAY, RAVE WAVES Shows, Block Parties, Writers’ Conference & Book Expo, BOOKS OF THE MONTH discussions, “ON THE SHELF” interviews, etc.)

Lisa:  Writers’ Conference and Book Expo. Hands down. I love all the radio shows and twitter chats, but the conference really shows ALL of what RRBC is and does. The resources, the workshops, the posts, the exposure for writers and folks providing professional services, the feast available to readers, the camaraderie – the prizes LOL! And embedded in all of it is the dedication to encouraging each other. Seeing it all on full display at once is truly exciting.

NJ:  Well, Lisa, I’m so happy to know that you enjoy the WC&BE.  Early-bird registration is open now.  It is an amazing event so we hope to see you there. 

This shelf is getting hard on my hiney so we’re going to wrap this interview up.  Any final words for our reading audience today?

Lisa:  Thank you, thank you, thank you! Onward!

NJ:  Thank you, Lisa, for joining me on the shelf today! 

Have you joined RAVE REVIEWS BOOK CLUB yet?  Well, here’s your chance!  And, since Lisa was on the “SHELF” today, tell them she sent you.

Until next time, take care.  We’ll see you in March, right here on the “SHELF” with another INTERESTING GUEST!!!

***

Blog Post Comments – First or Last? #RRBC @RRBC_Org @RRBC_RWISA @Tweets4RWISA

When you’re creating a blog post, how many times do you consider the order of your comments in that creation?  This post won’t be news to some of you, but for others who have never given the order of your comments any thought, this quick tip is just for you.

When someone comments on your posts, most often, if they are voracious readers like I am and will read absolutely anything, they will return again and again to continue to read the comments, if there is an interesting discussion going on about that post.  If that’s the case, no one wants to have to continually scroll through all the comments they’ve already read, to get to the latest ones.

It is for this reason that the order of your comments do matter.  In your Settings, there is a feature that asks which order you prefer your comments to display as.  This is a common feature with WordPress blogs and I’m pretty sure it’s standard across the board with all blog forums.   

If you value return visits and busy chatter on your blogs, it’s always best to display the most recent comments first.

If you don’t have yours set up this way already, then hurry and correct that (writing) faux pas.

Until next time, remember…

The more you learn, the more you earn!  Let’s keep soaking up that literary knowledge, RRBC!

WAIT!  Before you leave, tell us, how do you have your comments displaying right now? 

#RRBC … More Than Just A #Book Club & Heaps of #Gratitude

Happy belated Christmas, RRBC-ians and friends! The following post is personal but since it’s related to RRBC and also includes a peek at the newest release of one of our most awesomely supportive members, I thought I’d place it here on the RRBC site where it would get maximum exposure.

The RAVE REVIEWS BOOK CLUB is, as of 12/13/20, moving into its 8th year of formation. We started out as a small community of literary like-minds and quickly morphed into the huge family of writers and readers you see blanketing the airwaves of social media.  

We hear quite often that we are unlike any community ever seen before.  We love hearing that, but, if we never hear the words spoken, it is something we already know.

When I formed this amazing community, standing out in an already crowded arena of literary clubs was part of my plan, and it was clear from day one, that we would be that community where you would find more than just a place to list and discuss books.  RRBC has always been more than just a book club; it started out as, and remains today, in a class all by itself.  

We are a family (not the dysfunctional kind, by the way) and that shines through with:  every bit of support given via social media, supportive book purchases, reviews posted, relationships formed, and every shoulder extended when one of us is riding the waves of  a “personal” storm.  What you find here, you’d be hard-pressed to find anywhere else.  Why is that?  Well, although many have attempted to model their clubs/groups after us, there is so much more that they need to even remotely resemble who we are.  I don’t need to say it – we all know what those special ingredients are, and we ain’t going anywhere.  We, the most loyal and dedicated members of RRBC, who strive to ensure that our organization is the most unique, and also the best there ever was, we are staunchly planted right here, proudly and joyfully roaming the halls of RRBC.  What we bring to this smooth sailing vessel is a spirit of giving, decency, loyalty, dedication to the service of others, and oneness – that strong feeling of closeness that you miss when you’re away from it for too long, which none of us ever are.

It should come as no surprise that during this season of continual service to others and giving, that I’d be blessed with the amazing gift below! 

It’s so beautiful, isn’t it?  Designed in the shape of a heart,  it embodies all the special and unique avenues RRBC & RWISA implements to push our members along on their constant journey to success.  It was too beautiful for me not to share with you.  As a matter of fact, I believe it was designed for all of us!

This beautiful monument of all things RRBC & RWISA, will house your books that you’ve sent to me, your coffee mugs that you’ve gifted me (because you know I collect coffee mugs), and all those extra special treasures you’ve lovingly sent my way – yes, they’ll all be on display in my home-office very soon.  I’ve received some beautiful gifts from you all throughout the years, and one day, when I decide it’s time to hang up my RRBC/RWISA handbag, I’ll get to enjoy this beautiful display of treasures, with memories you helped create.   (And when you become rich and famous, I’ll already have my very own copy of your autographed book, to show off when I’m boasting how we’re such old friends!)

I’ve received many special “gifts” this Christmas from my wonderful members, but I was moved most by your words of gratitude and simply knowing  you care.  Your kind messages brought tears to my eyes, and in one moment, I stood and said aloud, “It’s just so nice to feel appreciated.”  It truly is the most special feeling there is, second to knowing you’re loved.  So, thank you Phil Stephens, Maura Beth Brennan, Shirley Harris-Slaughter, Peggy Hattendorf, Joy Nwosu Lo-Bamijoko, Robbie Cheadle (who was also my VIP Lounge Secret Santa this year),  PTL Perrin, Linda Mims, Karl Morgan, Pat Garcia,  Eichin Chang-Lim, Linnea Tanner, Randall Krzak, John Podlaski, John Fioravanti, Bette A. Stevens, Yvette M. Calleiro, Guy Worthey, Rox Burkey, Joy Gerken, Susanne Leist and Marian Beaman.   At the end of a most difficult year, each of you made it so much better, and there are no words to truly express the depth of my gratitude for you. 

 

#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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RAVE REVIEWS BOOK CLUB

Building Your #Author Platform #RRBC #RWISA

We are 18 days away from our 5th Annual Writers’ Conference & Book Expo and if you haven’t registered to take part in any of the planned book promotions, sessions, games, etc. for this event, you are really doing yourself a grand disservice.

We have 23 sessions being presented in this year’s conference and you still have time to register for them.

Today, I’m giving you a FREE sample of the quality of the sessions and information that will be presented at this year’s #WC&BE20.  This session is in blog form format and I hope that the information contained within proves to be super-beneficial to you and your writing career!

BUILDING YOUR AUTHOR PLATFORM

Nonnie Jules, Presenter

NJ Logo1 (1)

As writers, we blog about many different things. We blog about our family and friends, how much we do (or don’t) exercise, politics, and even the food we eat. But, unless you’re a family therapist, a fitness guru, a politician or a foodie, none of these are your platforms UNLESS they are all you speak about, the majority of the time.

Many writers pop onto the scene and want the world to know them as being “good at everything,” and although there is a strong possibility they are, readers don’t care to know this. Readers want to believe that they are reading material from EXPERTS, and although we’d love to be, we can’t be EXPERTS at everything. So, that is when you need to establish your author platform.

I actually have two main platforms:  CHILDREN & SUPPORT (although I must admit, that I’m pretty good at writing about a multitude of things). If you were to mention my name to any number of people and ask: “What is her platform?” they would probably respond with “Parenting and children, but she’s always trying to teach the importance of support, as well.”  Now, although they might name one as my main platform, notice how the other is also tied into their response.   WHY? Because these two areas are what I write about, talk about and live the most.  (I should also add Living Decently to my platform, as that is an issue that I tend to lend a ton of focus to, as well).

I am known as THE GOOD MOMMIES’ Mommy.  Its typical for me to stand in line at the market and a parent or someone who recognizes me, walks over and asks:  “Aren’t you the good mommies’ mommy?” My first book, THE GOOD MOMMIES’ GUIDE TO RAISING (ALMOST) PERFECT DAUGHTERS, placed me in that position online.  What everyone may not know is, I am also that mommy in the real world. Raising great kids is typically ALL that I talk about;  it is what I am passionate about, it is what I live and breathe, and so, it is my main platform.  Of course, there are other things I tend to go on and on about, but not as much as this!

Now established, I am consulted by parents, print media outlets, parenting bloggers, and other organizations who recognize me as an “expert” in my field, and wish to use my advice for articles, interviews, and speaking engagements.  Parenting organizations in schools use my parenting guide as a fundraiser in their communities, and humbly, when I speak on the subject, many ears listen.

It’s an art to be able to write well under more than one genre, but first, become known for that one area that solidifies your place in our writing culture, so that readers are easily able to recognize and identify with you.  You’re not being put into a hole or a box, you are just carving out that special place, where your name recognition keeps your foot in the door for a wider range of opportunities.

Here are just a few tips to get you started on the road to building your author platform:

  1.  Pick a subject and become knowledgeable on the topic;
  2. Blog on your subject matter and build a following.  If your content is interesting, it will keep them coming back for more and they’ll also begin spreading the word of your blog to others;
  3. On social media, ensure that you use the appropriately dedicated hashtags for your main area of interest.  I tend to use #Parenting, #Kids, #Children in all of my tweets related to the subject of parenting.  For my blog posts on #support, that is the hashtag that I use. This draws those searching for information on these topics, to my info-filled tweets;
  4. Network with other entities, agencies, and bloggers, etc. in your field, so that you are able to offer guest contributions to their successful websites, blogs, and periodicals.  It’s OK to ask if you may contribute via guest articles and blog posts;
  5. Register and reach out to organizations in your area of interest so that they know who you are, and will keep you in mind when they need authors to speak at their engagements;
  6. Never turn down any media invitations, whether they are in print, radio or television;
  7. Join organizations in the area of your platform focus.  You will learn more from those who are traveling the same road as you are;
  8. Lastly, spend time sharing interesting material on your platform, via your social media forums.  This will increase your following, as well as pique the interest of those who find your social media content worth reading.  They’ll want more and will begin seeking out other areas of your writing, such as your books, blogs, etc.  They will also begin to associate you with that particular field.

If you’re not already, I’d like for you to follow me at WATCH NONNIE WRITE as I will continue to offer more tips to help you begin establishing and building a strong author platform.  What is it that you’re most passionate about? What is the one thing you’re actually KNOWN for? That could very easily serve as the medium you need, to establish your credibility with your new-found platform.

Thanks for spending this time with us.  If you have any further questions, please feel free to reach out to me directly at nonniejules@gmail.com.

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SESSION ACCOMPANIMENT
(Here is a list of 7 questions you should ask yourself, to ensure that you are serious about building your author platform).

  •  What am I good at or what am I most interested in?
  • Am I passionate about this field or subject matter?
  • Am I willing to work hard to increase my knowledge of this subject matter?
  • Am I willing to further my education on the subject at an institution of higher learning?
  • Do I feel comfortable speaking intelligently on this subject matter to individuals and organizations, if asked?
  • Am I willing to spend the time building a blog which is focused on my platform?  This would include posting scheduled content, as well as growing my followers;
  • Am I willing to go beyond social media contact to reach out to those in my field who might be able to help grow awareness of my platform?  This means, am I willing to actually pick up the phone and make direct contact?

This is the quality of information you’ll find at our upcoming WC&BE.  Information that will help you to grow in your writing and the marketing of your books and blogs, etc.

Have you registered for the 2020 5th Annual RRBC WRITERS’ CONFERENCE & BOOK EXPO yet?

Have you JOINED RRBC?

Let us know your thoughts on this content and thanks for dropping by!  Please share and LIKE the page before leaving!

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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HAPPY FATHER’S DAY, #RRBC #RWISA!

To all the RRBC Dads who are the fearless anchors, teachers, and heroes of their children’s lives.  This is for you…

F.A.T.H.E.R.

F is for you being Fearless = For all the times you showed up in defense of me and fearlessly stared down any and every obstacle that threatened to block my path to safety and greatness

A is for you being the Anchor = For always being the mainstay that kept our family firmly secured, in place, and together

T is for you being the Teacher = For all the things you’ve taught me that guided me to the awesome adult I am today

H is for you being the Hero = For all the times you came to my rescue; even in those times when you were protecting me from myself

E is for you being the Everything = For all the safety, security, and love that you have provided me with throughout my life and for always being the glue that kept our family together 

R is for you being Responsible = For modeling and thereby teaching me the meaning of responsibility, and the importance of owning up to my wrongs as well as standing firmly in my rights.

Father, you are the most Responsible and Fearless Teacher, Anchor, Hero I know … you are my Everything

Thank you for all that you’ve shown me. 

Thank you for all that you’ve taught me.

Thank you for all the love you’ve given me! 

Father, thank you for EVERYTHING!

~Nonnie Jules

What does your FATHER mean to you?

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}

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

~Nonnie Jules