Monday, July 15, 2013

7 Things Smart Authors Have in Common

Missy, here. First let me give a big shout-out to Tina Radcliffe who rescued me when I said I had no idea what to post about (I know, I know. I'm a writer and should find this easy.). Tina had this idea brewing and generously gave it to me. Since I totally agree with her points, I ran with it. I'll be interested to see if you agree with my take on the topic. Stick around and let's chat!

7 Things Smart Authors Have in Common

by Missy Tippens (Topic inspired by Tina Radcliffe)

1. They Don't Over-share on Social Media

We all have different comfort levels with what to share on social media. Go with your gut on this. But I highly suggest you be careful.

Personal concerns: I don’t post much about my kids, at least not the younger ones. Some would call me paranoid (including my kids). But I’m just not comfortable. I advise caution here. You may feel like you’re in a nice cozy room with friends. But unless you’ve severely limited your friends and followers to personal acquaintances, you have to remember anything you post is like broadcasting it on the front page of the newspaper.

Professional concerns: Always think before you post. Do you really want everyone—including readers and industry professionals—to know some unnamed friend has crushed your feelings by not speaking to you at the grocery store yesterday? Or that you’re weeks behind on your deadline and hate your story? Sure it’s nice to come across as real and approachable to readers. But I think we need to remember to be professional.

Photo credit: Crestock/donskarpo

2. They Don't Vent in a Public Forum


In my book, this is huge. We work in a close-knit industry. Industry professionals know each other. And believe it or not, they watch us and our behavior. Not in some creepy, spying way. But because they keep tabs on actions that affect their companies (and yes, in a way, we represent their companies). And also because they care about what’s going on in our lives and careers.

So take this into consideration before you vent about rejections or frustrations or disappointments. Instead, find a trusted friend you can vent to when needed. Associate with people who encourage you and spur you to try again. And stay away from negative people who keep you riled up.

Rejection and disappointment are part of this business, so we need to accept it and keep plugging away without any public venting.

3. They have Boundaries

Learn to say “no.” You don’t have to accept every opportunity to blog or promote or do a giveaway. You don’t have to work twenty-four hours a day (unless you’re right at deadline!). You don’t have to be all things to all people. You don’t have to be “on” all the time or pretend to be Super Author.

Set boundaries. Set work hours. Set a budget for promotion. Set your priorities. Make choices and stick to them. The best thing we can do for our careers is to keep writing the next book. We can’t let all the other “stuff” sidetrack us. (Yes, I’m preaching to myself, here.)

Photo credit: iStock Photo/timnewman 

4. They Have a Teachable Spirit

Who here is willing to admit failure in this area? Do you cringe when a story idea is rejected, when a draft is majorly edited or when a reviewer disses the book? Do you want to come out swinging and defend yourself?

    --But I LOVE this story idea, and my mother did, too.
    --But I think that scene works perfectly, even if it does slow the pace a little.
    -- Well, you must not have read the book if you think my heroine was too stupid to live. I LOVE that heroine and spent a year on that book, so you must be the one with the problem.

DO NOT GO THERE. Don’t go into self-protect mode. Go into your reader mode and try to see the idea/story/book as a reader. LEARN from the feedback. Dig deeper and try to figure out WHY the editor or reader felt that way. Can you fix it? Can you do something differently next time? Be teachable, not defensive.

This will make you a better writer. And I’m sure editors will thank you for it.

5. They Want IT Badly and are Willing to Pay the Price

This career does require sacrifices (just like any career). It can take years before making the first traditional sale or before being ready to indie publish a book. We have to be willing to put in the work. Study, practice, critique, contest feedback, editor feedback, more study and practice…they’re all part of the journey. Too often, writers give up at the first sign of hardship. If you want it badly enough, you’ll keep working. Don’t give up! You can’t reach your goal (your dream) if you give up trying.

6. They Keep Writing

I know I discussed this in a previous post a few years ago. Don’t keep working and re-working the same manuscript, no matter how much you love it. If it’s been rejected or been poorly accepted, then let it go and move on. We only get better by writing more. In this case, practice really does make “perfect.”

Photo credit: iStock Photo/yenwen

7. They are Ready When Opportunity Knocks

Always be ready to jump in when opportunity knocks. Sometimes, the “knock” may come popping into your in-box or on your phone. But other times you may just luck into hearing about an opportunity. This means you need to keep in touch with the pulse of the industry. Read industry publications, follow editors and agents on Twitter or blogs, join writers groups and email loops, and network through national organizations and at conferences.

Be ready to take a risk if you are offered an opportunity. Don’t let fear keep you from trying something new or out of your comfort zone. Sometimes you have to accept that maybe God has given you an opportunity and step out in faith to accept it.

So…do you agree? Did anything I said resonate with you? Share with us! And while y'all do so, please enjoy a nice bacon and cheese omelet with a side of creamy grits--topped with either salt & pepper or sugar, depending on where you're from. :)

I’m offering a unique giveaway today. I visited a local antique shop recently, and they had a display with all kinds of yummy-smelling potpourri for the home. One was called “Summer Romance”! So I grabbed a couple of the packets to give away. Please note these are full of essential oils, so they’re quite potent. :) Don’t enter if you’re sensitive to fragrances. Also, if you win, please be careful to note the package directions about not placing on wood, etc. Let me know if you’d like to be entered for the giveaway (U.S. only this time).

Visit Missy at


Laura Jackson said...

Great tips!
I'm new to this, and I have found that I'm a little more careful about what I post. Although I have a public author page and my personal FB page is private, I still need to just be careful about what I share.

Helen Gray said...

YES, these resonate with me. All of them!

And that one about being ready when opportunity knocks is so true. :)

Okay, the coffee pot is set to brew.


Missy Tippens said...

Laura, it's nice that you set up your author page early on so you can have a private profile page. That should help you avoid problems. Good work!

Missy Tippens said...

Yay, Helen, for being ready when your opportunity knocked! :) Are you still floating?

Melissa Jagears said...

Yep, I've posted something and then immediately took it off because I thought of a way it might look bad professionally even if it "wasn't." I think my snarky/critical/bit-too-honest side may be my downfall..... Probably have written a Seekerville comment or two that wasn't well received by somebody because I'm not always sunshine and roses--I like dealing with thunder and lightning.

But there are a few authors who I loved following for awhile, but they've become too um, well, they're a train-wreck waiting to happen because they've become too free on the internet to check themselves. Or they have strong opinions. Nothing wrong with that, but are you alienating readers with differing opinions and willing to deal with the consequences? In person, it's easier to work alongside people with differing opinions, but on social media, they just write you off without realizing your opinion on that one differing thing doesn't define who you are.

But then, I think you can err on being too professional. Social media is not a billboard for advertising. If there is no authentic "you" to follow and it's all business, business, business, you might as well not waste time on social media, no one's going to care to follow you.

Please enter me in the giveaway, I can think of several places I need some smell-um-goods.

May the K9 Spy (and KC Frantzen) said...

We don't need no stinkin' boundaries... Do we?!
OH! ;)

VERY true Missy (and Tina)... Excellent points, each and every one.

Thank you!

Sure, please enter me. Can almost enjoy the fragrance from here. YUMMO!

may at maythek9spy dot com

Virginia Carmichael Munoz said...

This was great!

Just a few days ago, I saw a huge venting going on in a friend's facebook thread. It wasn't the friend, but HIS friend. I moused over her icon and she was (waited for it!) a freelance public relations expert for authors!!

I laughed out loud! there's nothing wrong with an opinion, and we all have to speak out at some point, but the f-bomb and typing in all caps about laws that are being passed, is just not cool.

I think living through this last election was hard enough. I'm thankful for all my social media friends, whatever their opinions, as long as they keep it clean, kind and thoughtful.

Virginia Carmichael Munoz said...

P.S. Sometimes I hate twitter because I see so many agents and bigwigs tweeting crazy and venting.

Professionalism should apply to everybody, not just authors.

Jenny Blake said...

I was waiting for the tip smart authors have smart readers :)

I agree about social media and also about being careful what you share and not venting. I know some blogs where authors have aired things they may regret later as it can be a turn of for readers and also hurt them professionally. There are a few authors I am not now wanting to read there books now cos of the way they have vented on line about readers and other issues and have disparaged readers opinions.

Narelle Atkins said...

Missy, great post! I agree with all your tips, especially the over sharing and venting. I have a policy of waiting 24 hours before replying when I know I'm reacting emotionally. A day later I can be more objective and think about whether or not it is wise to respond on a public forum. Once I've calmed down, I can work out how to reply to an email in a way that is constructive. It's never okay for authors to criticise readers on public forums, and I'm not sure why they do it?

Dorothy Adamek said...

Jenny Blake -'smart authors have smart readers.' Love this!!

And I love the wisdom on not ranting. I'm always telling my kids there's no place for public venting. Tell a trusted friend in private. They'll fade out your emotion because they know you. The public won't. They'll remember and form an opinion, and it won't be nice.

Great post. Thank you. :)

Michelle said...

oops... just ranted on my blog... oh well... sometimes it's fun... but I guess it's a personal decision.
Great post. xx

Jenny Blake said...

Thanks Dorothy. (I have my moments).

kaybee said...

MISSY, what a good way to start the week!
I learned my lesson years ago, before social media, in several different ways. I was reproved for criticizing a supervisor -- okay, the whole company -- and while it wasn't the reason for me being laid off due to budget cuts, I believe it factored in to why they didn't try harder to keep me.
I also cringe at the time I had a partial out, the editor was "too slow" (whatever that means), and I went over his head to his supervisor. Blew a chance there!
I also learned about posting about my kids back in the 90s, when I had a weekly personal experience newspaper column. In my hometown paper. Which their friends and their friends' parents read. I didn't publish anything really damaging, but they were teenagers, and the fact that I was writing about them at all was enough.
I learned my lesson about social media by reading other people and thinking, "Do I want to come across like that?" I will post about funny or quirky things I observe, kind of like Seinfeld's "What's the deal with that," but I never rant and I never get into politics. There are better minds than mine to fight for causes. Except for pro-life. I'm so pro-life I won't even eat at a salad bar. joke.
I think it dovetails with something Ruthy said a few weeks ago (yes, RUTH, I listened), "Be yourself. Maybe a little bit better than yourself."
We do need to learn to take criticism. I think I'm okay with the contest judges and "revise and resubmit" feedback. I'm bracing myself for the time I'm published and I get a bad review, either from a reader or professional reviewer. That will be hard. I know I'll be thinking, "Hey, it was good enough for someone to want to publish it, what's your problem?"
This is an inexact science, and again I have to compare it to the pastoral ministry, or any ministry. It's not putting greeting cards in boxes on an assembly line (one of my earlier jobs). It involves people, in all their messy, scary and wonderful people-ness.
Put me in the drawing, I haven't won anything for a while and I love essential oils.
I'm posting early today. Got up early, crisis in secular job involving an arrest of a public figure, police reports and possible Freedom of Information Act. I will be glad to be done with journalism (three years, five months and twelve days). It taught me some valuable skills, such as meeting deadlines and not waiting for inspiration, but I am ready to do something else -- write full-time, get a MFA, or make hats for the DAR, anything but this.
Kathy Bailey
Up early in New Hampshire
Kathy Bailey

kaybee said...

Oh, MISSY, I just reread this and it IS good. I've made just about every mistake on the list, except for the one about being sensitive to reader criticism (I don't have readers yet). And I've got the "keep writing" one mastered, I do SOMETHING on my books every day, even if just for a half hour.
There aren't any mistakes left to make, so I guess I'm ready to be published.
Kathy Bailey

Jackie said...

Thanks for sharing these great tips Missy.

I am always amazed at what others post on FB when they are disgruntled. You gave us some good things to consider.

Thanks again. (BTW I have tons of allergies so don't add me to the drawing.)

Julie Lessman said...

WOW, Missy (and Tina), what a short, sweet and GREAT post this is!! I have to admit, you totally shocked me with each entry, because I was trying to guess ahead of time (before reading the piece) what the 7 things might be. But DOUBLE WOW ... you not only stumped me, you enlightened me a great deal!!

LOL I especially appreciated #4: Teachable Spirt because when I read the first line of "Who here is willing to admit failure in this area?," I thought -- "Me, me!!! That's because my failure rate is SO high, I like the shock factor involved in revealing it! :) If that makes me "teachable" -- YAY!! ;) Either that or real, REAL stupid ...

On a side note, Missy -- how did you sleep last night???


kaybee said...

Oh, HERE'S another one. Smart writers DO NOT misspell the last name of an agent who requested a partial.
From experience,
Kathy Bailey

Kav said...

Great points, Missy. I'm working on #7 Be Ready When Opportunity Knocks (says the sheepish critique winner who hasn't sent her critique in yet!)

I'm especially intrigued with the social media point. I've followed a few authors who have surprised me with their all-too-candid opinions aka rants. It made me uncomfortable. Definitely something to think about -- even when posting comments to blogs.

Janet Dean said...

Excellent post, Missy! Lots of meaty points to chew on.

I can vouch for the importance of #7. In 2006, I read on a loop that Love Inspired planned to launch a historical line. I immediately polished my proposal and sent a query and the first three chapters and synopsis. That led to my first sale.

Thanks for the omelet, Missy! I'll pass on the grits. :-)


Missy Tippens said...

Melissa, excellent point about not being all-business. Otherwise, what's the point? I keep hearing over and over that social media is for a back and forth conversation. Not, like you said, a billboard for "buy my books."

I"m still cracking up about you saying you like dealing with thunder and lightning. :) I say you're just very honest and open and often say what other people are thinking. :)

Missy Tippens said...

Virginia, you're right! I didn't even mention clean, non-offensive language, because I assume that's given! I truly do think people forget their in a public forum when they're on social media.

Missy Tippens said...

KC, I got you entered. We sometimes need that little boost of fragrance when we have pets around, don't we? :)

Missy Tippens said...

LOL!! Jenny, I lOVE that tip! I should add it. :)

See, it's very telling what you said. That you've quit reading people over disparaging things they've said online. Thanks for sharing that. It's a good reminder that readers really are watching and listening.

Missy Tippens said...

Good morning, Narelle! Or, gosh, I bet it's evening for you and Jenny.

I LOVE your 24-hour rule! Such a smart thing to do. That prevents those knee-jerk reactions. :)

Missy Tippens said...

Dorothy, very good point. And it's similar to what Melissa said about being able to have those conversations in person. It's because they people know us. And they can also hear our tone of voice and see our facial expressions to know we're teasing or whatever.

Missy Tippens said...

LOL, Michelle. Well, you made me curious. So I checked out your rant. :) And I didn't think that was truly a rant at all. Just a little humor. I enjoyed reading! And now I want one of your little fragrance thingies! I'll be checking them out... :)

Janet Dean said...

Laura, Smart to have two facebook pages. Good for you!

Helen, your sale still has me smiling!

Excellent points, Melissa. Balance is key. That's true for most things.

Jenny, in case you're wondering. Smart authors appreciate their smart readers.

Virginia, who'd want to hire that person? Wow, not smart at all!


Missy Tippens said...

Kathy, this is a great quote you said:

"...It involves people, in all their messy, scary and wonderful people-ness."

Very true!

And yes, we often have to learn from our mistakes. :)

Janet Dean said...

Narelle, if everyone followed your 24-hour rule, this world would be a far better place.


Missy Tippens said...

I'm glad you told me, Jackie! I would not want to send anyone into an allergy attack! :)

I know Janet will want to stay a mile from this stuff. :)

Missy Tippens said...

Julie, I stayed up way too late reading. But when I did go to bed, I fell asleep fairly quickly! And I slept like a log. Thanks for asking! :)

Sherri Shackelford said...

Well said!

I think this is one of the reasons it's a good idea to set up social media and act like an author even before you're published. It's a nice way to test the boundaries and work out the kinks on a smaller level.

Missy Tippens said...

Kav, I should have added a point about being brave and going for it! :)

Great point about blog comments, too. I've googled myself before and come up with ancient blog comments. Very strange!

Missy Tippens said...

I've got to run! Time for getting my hair cut and colored for the conference this week. :)

I'll catch up when I get back shortly. Enjoy your grits! :)

Ruth Logan Herne said...

I just want the potpourri.... I can smell it up here, Missy!!!



I loved this blog and it's just chock full of excellent advice. Missy, awesome job!

And words to live by for writers and non-writers alike.

Is anyone else tired to death of families fighting on facebook????

What a way to crush a good thing!

Julie Hilton Steele said...

Very true post. Like Melissa J, I can be a bit snarky. Like Virginia, I can be turned off by political rants.

I also think it is possible to rein one's self in so much or post only things we think that readers of our genre may want to hear that we lose ourselves in the process. It's a fine line.

I also have a writer friend who is published who has pointed out that we tend to go with the belief that writing involves pain and we tend to embrace it too much, focus on it too much. Focus on the creativity rather than the rejection. Embrace the creativity, not the rejection.

I think it is also really important as a smart writer to take care of one's health. Boundaries are a part of that. Prioritizing our health along with the time to write is also important.

Off my own soap box! Can't wait to see you soon, Missy!

Peace, Julie

Mary Hicks said...

An excellent post Missy! Thanks for reminding us how important it is to behave like the professional we profess to be.

Professionalism is not something we put on and take off. That's a dangerous game to play—you might get caught naked one day! :-)

Thank you too, Tina!

Mary Hicks said...

Ruthy, I got so tired of people I didn't really know using FB to be unkind to one another! I was amazed. I don't go on much anymore.

This is a much better crowd to hang out with!! :-D

Cindy Regnier said...

Facebook can be great and not so great. Amazes me what some people post. . . Great tips Missy. So appreciate it. I have an author page along with my personal page (likes welcome) but I sure need some "real" books to talk about there! Would love a whiff of that Summer Romance but leave me out this time. Allergies rather persnickety this time of year.

Jessica Nelson said...

Great post, Missy! I know I need to learn from this. Thanks for the smart tips. :-)

Mary Connealy said...

These are all really good points, Missy. But I think you need something here....can't quite figure it out....maybe a ruler to slap across naughty fingers when we forget.

Or no recess.

Or we have to stay after Seekerville School.

Or maybe a very small whip to crack.

Or wait, I'm old school. We don't punish bad behavior anymore, we reward good behavior. Perhaps you could bribe us with ice cream.


Send the bill to, Missy.

Jeanne T said...

These are great tips, Missy. Due to my hubby's line of work, I'm pretty careful about what I mention about him or our kiddos. Most of my posts are about life, etc.

Boundaries are always a good thing—in writing life and real life. I really appreciate your post!

BTW, I'm not surprised Tina inspired your post. She's so wise!

Ruth Logan Herne said...

Kathy Bailey, I want to write that story as fiction!!!!! Stinkin' crooked folks....

And KB, we've traveled similar paths of stupidity so I'm living proof that if you just don't quit!!!! You can survive, LOL!

And thrive, actually. :)

Sandra Leesmith said...

Hi Missy, I"m at the airport ready for the next leg to Atlanta. woo hoo. Can hardly wait to see you and other Seekers at RWA.

Oh yes, That was one of your points. Too much info. LOL. Oh well. Can't help it. I'm excited.

Ruth Logan Herne said...

Mary Hicks, I concur. What I've learned is to have fun with all o' youse on facebook... friends, family, writers, readers...

And I gloss the rest. Because eewwwww.....

No one should air their dirty laundry in public rants. I'm a bellowing Irish lass, and even I know better than that!

Now I've got a different situation than Missy. I use some of my kids... the ones who are comfortable with it/me/facebook/blogs, etc. to show glimpses of my life. I love writers who do that, and since we are all traceable with a push of a button on the computer now, I love that my daycare moms and kids think it's fun to be on blogs and book covers.

So I shamelessly exploit them, LOL! They fit my "brand" of family-loving All-American stories beautifully and I'm always grateful to them for allowing me into their lives. Their lives reflect those of every American around us, and it's fun to use that blessing.

Marianne Barkman said...

I must say I was in for one big shock this last winter. I do have a Facebook account, mostly to keep up with friends ( authors ARE my friends). My brother dislikes it, for reasons mentioned in your comments. Anyways, I had messages, privately, to a friend about Moms illness last fall, and she say my brother and said she had read about it on Facebook. Now, it's all true, but it scared me, and I have definitely backed off from that too!

Marianne Barkman said...

Thanks, for the coffee, Helen. Always a morning treat. And don't enter me...I sensitive to fragrances, Missy

Melanie Dickerson said...

This is a great post! That Tina. She is very generous. :-)

I agree with you, Missy. I'm not comfortable talking about my kids or posting pictures of them on facebook. I worry what creepers might be following me. Sometimes I feel bad abut this, though. I worry that my personal friends will think I'm not into my kids and that I think "it's all about me." I would love to post pictures of my girls for them, but I am wary, since I know other people can see what I post, and also because I don't actually know a lot of my 2,000+ facebook friends! They could be creepy creepers (as my 15-yr-old says)!

One thing I used to struggle with is not commenting on blog reviews and Amazon reviews when someone says something negative about my book. Sometimes I can think of just the right comeback! But I know full well that it is a mistake to say anything! Now it isn't as hard because I don't read a lot of my reviews anymore. Which brings me to one of your other points. No, I'm not very teachable when it comes to 1-star reviews! Reading them does not give me feedback I can use, and one reason is because it stymies me. For the next few days after I read one, whenever I sit down to write, all I can think about is that scathing review and how bad my writing is! How some people will HATE what I'm writing! Not helpful. But I did try very hard to learn from my critiques, and I try to learn from whatever my editor tells me. So does that redeem me?

Did I tell you that I'm coming to the conference this year? Yay! I'm so excited!!!

Playground Monitor said...

You are spot on! I've always said if you wouldn't want something posted on the front page of the NY Times, then for goodness sake don't post it on your blog or on Facebook or Twitter.

And as I head to the RWA conference tomorrow I need to remember all these things too. Loose lips sink ships and one must be careful not to sink one's career before it even starts sailing.

Please enter me in the drawing. And have a good week, Seekers. I probably won't be able to check online much if any this week. Not taking a laptop with me.


Myra Johnson said...

Oh, this is so spot-on, Missy! Sometimes I am in total shock by what people are willing to post on Facebook and Twitter! It isn't that we shouldn't have opinions or aren't entitled to express them. But we need to remember that once we're published, we're public personas with reputations to protect. We DO NOT want to become the next Justin Bieber!

Myra Johnson said...

MARILYN, you make such a good point about watching what you say at a writers conference. You just never know who might be standing behind you in the elevator or around the corner in the lobby.

Hope to see you in a few days!

Glynna Kaye said...

GREAT "Smart Things," Missy! (And kudos to Tina!) Setting boundaries for ourselves is so very, very imporant in every area of our lives.

Mary Hicks said...

I enjoy the little fun, loving, 'life sketches' shared by my online friends and people of like interest. Isn't that a way to build an online relationship?
Ruthy, I enjoyed the young girls and their hair-doing session on your blog.:-) I remember those times...

I look at the cover, then flip to the back to see if an author put a photograph on their book. I love it when they have. Bloggers are advised to have a head-shot on their blog. Our human nature wants to see...

That's what I was taught when building my photography business.

And I know that is different from going overboard with personal information. :-)

Sandra Leesmith said...

MARILYN, Come meet us after our workshop. We would love to meet you in person. :)

Missy Tippens said...

Janet, I had forgotten that's how you made your sale! More proof of the advantage of staying in the loop. Also a reason why Tina's weekend editions are so valuable!

Missy Tippens said...

Sherri, that's true! And planning ahead also gives you the option of keeping you profile page for family and close friends.

Missy Tippens said...

Ruthy, amen ending family squabbles on FB! I mean , really?!

Hair is now done--hallelujah! No more white temples and dark roots. :) Now I'm waiting my turn for a pedicure. Will have glamorous red toenails for RWA. :)

Missy Tippens said...

Julie, it is a fine line. I think we need to be personable and fun and interesting. We just need to be thoughtful and smart as well. As I'm sure all of you here are!! :)

Looking so forward to seeing you too!

kaybee said...

James 3:5-8 should be our standard in all public conduct, and most private, too.
Kathy Bailey

kaybee said...

It's tough. I have a very dry wit, and it doesn't always come across in print or even on the telephone. I often have people mad at me when I was only joking. So I have to be especially careful. But it's worth it.
Yeah, humanity is messy. Which is kind of the point. We are not perfect.

Missy Tippens said...

Mary H I agree. I often can't believe how unkind I see people being. Especially when they're fired up over some divisive issue.

Missy Tippens said...

Jessica, thanks for stopping by.

Cindy, you too. I'm sorry about the seasonal allergies!

I can't believe how nice the weather is right now. I'm actually seeing a little sunshine, and there's a cool breeze!

Missy Tippens said...

Mary, I like that idea! Or how about some of Pam's heaven in a crockpot she share at the cafe on Friday? YUM! I like that chocolate reward.

Missy Tippens said...

Jeanne, I'm the same way. Would be careful anyway.

Yes, our Tina is wise!!

Missy Tippens said...

Lol, Sandra! Conference travel doesn't count. :)

You're not arriving until tomorrow. Do you have an overnight layover?

Tina Radcliffe said...

LOL. Humanity is messy. Love that!!

Missy so glad you are now gorgeous again. I was concerned.

Janet Dean said...

Couldn't agree more, Missy! I wish I'd had Tina's Contest Update way back when.


Janet Dean said...

Can't wait to see everyone who's going to RWA! Have safe trips all!


Janet Dean said...

Marianne, I'm sensitive to fragrances. Not fun, is it?


Piper Huguley said...

Hey Missy,

Thank you for the great post. I agree with some others that people should be more thoughtful before they post emotional things that might hurt other people's feelings. I had not come across this situations with authors as of yet, but there was an agent who posted a ranty blog post and that person's rep as an agent has changed a great deal. The post was taken down, but the damage had already been done. Narelle's 24 hour rule is a good one because it involves thinking....

Looking forward to later in the week!

Missy Tippens said...

Ruthy, I think you have FB nailed. You're fun, inspiring, entertaining and...ALWAYS POSITIVE! I think that's what makes your interaction so great.

Y'all be sure to check her out on FB!

Missy Tippens said...

Marianne, that is scary. You know, sometimes, especially if you're using the FB app, it's difficult to tell if you're sending a private message or posting on a wall. At least it is for me! :)

Missy Tippens said...

Melanie, I don't think mean reviews count! I'm mostly talking about constructive criticism--especially editors, etc. :) And to keep from stalling, just avoid reading the reviews. I read reviews if I happen on them. But I rarely go looking. And I never comment if it's negative. I've even worried about thanking people for nice ones.

What do y'all think? Is it okay to thank someone for a nice review?

Mel, I'm so glad you're coming to RWA!!

Missy Tippens said...

Marilyn, I'll see you in Atlanta!!

Virginia Carmichael Munoz said...


"I also have a writer friend who is published who has pointed out that we tend to go with the belief that writing involves pain and we tend to embrace it too much, focus on it too much. Focus on the creativity rather than the rejection. Embrace the creativity, not the rejection."

This is awesome. I take rejection so personally, it kills my creativity. I'm getting better, I think, but it still hurts.

I got a one star the other day that called my book 'rubbish'.

I actually didn't completely fall apart. I could even laugh a bit.


And sometimes I look at old rejections and criticisms and see how far I've come. Sort of screwing up my courage of new projects!!!

It's the writer's version of a primal scream!!

Missy Tippens said...

Hey, Myra and Glynna!

Mary H, I think Ruthy does it very well. And I agree that those life sketches are nice. I try to do some of that as well. I just don't post my kids' names or photos in doing so. Although that's kind of tough to do without the photos! :)

Missy Tippens said...

Hey, Myra and Glynna!

Mary H, I think Ruthy does it very well. And I agree that those life sketches are nice. I try to do some of that as well. I just don't post my kids' names or photos in doing so. Although that's kind of tough to do without the photos! :)

Virginia Carmichael Munoz said...


Big hugs. :) I'm with you on those moments where you MUST speak out.

Missy Tippens said...

LOL, Kathy!! I just saw your post about spelling an agent name wrong. I'm so sorry! Ouch. Don't you just hate when something like that happens?

Sandra Leesmith said...

Hi MISSY, Yes, I'm leaving Oregon today and heading for Phoenix so I can get my conference clothes. I don't drag them along in the motorhome. I leave Phoenix tomorrow morning and will see you in Atlanta. Hip hip hooray

Getting my boarding pass in 5 minutes. Southwest.
Again tmi LOL

Sandra Leesmith said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Missy Tippens said...

Sorry to worry you, Tina. ;)

Yes! I'm now officially all prepared. Well, except for packing.

Lindi texted me a photo of her ridiculous pile of shoes she's taking. And I know mine will probably be just as bad! I'm thankful we're not flying. :)

Missy Tippens said...

Virginia, I think it takes a while to develop a tough hide. But it does get easier. And Ruthy's always there to give me a kick in the pants and remind me it's just part of the process. :)

Nancy Kimball said...

#3 - Boundaries.
Because I need to do better about that myself but especially need to not internalize it when I encounter another author's boundaries that result in a "no."

Ask me how I learned the hard way not to contest anything before I have a decent proposal ready to go? Missed opportunity resonated with me too.

Thank you Missy and Tina. =)

Missy Tippens said...

Piper, can't wait to see you in your new gown on Saturday!

Missy Tippens said...

That's true, Nancy K. It's difficult not to take it personally when someone establishes boundaries. But we all need to do so.

I'm sorry about the missed opportunity. I've done the same thing.

Ruth Logan Herne said...

You guys remember my story about taking things personally, don't you? About 30 years ago a woman was so rude to me... just ridiculous. Angry, obnoxious, and I was a Tupperware Lady (Laugh, go ahead, it helped buy shoes and you know I can sell ice to Eskimos!!!!).... I was hurt and half-mad and half-disgusted and then...

She tried to commit suicide three days later. That taught me to not pay attention to others' negativity because it might have nothing to do with me...

And everything to do with them.

I learned to block it, because they might be at a place in life that I'd never want to be.

"No one can make you feel inferior without your permission." Eleanor Roosevelt.

I love that woman.

MISSY, THANK YOU FOR YOUR KIND WORDS!!!! Now I'll smile all day that exploiting small children isn't a bad thing, LOL!

Dianna Shuford said...

Hi, Missy! Great post, and thanks to Tina, the brains behind the genius idea!!

As I read through these I tried to take stock of where I'm at, am I doing (or not doing) these things.

I have set boundaries. I don't blog and I've told many that. I've done some guest blogging, but my time is so limited that I made the choice not to start my own blog that would need new posts on a regular basis. I have a hard enough time trying to find time to write without adding to it. Now, finding a workable writing schedule...still working on that.

I've thought about the social media quite a bit. Right now I do post generic things about family because a lot of my "friends" are from family and others from NC where I'm from. I try to keep it upbeat. There was a time when I caught myself being negative all the time because of high family and job stress. When I noticed it, I made the decision to either post scripture on days like that or not post anything at all. That helped because I wasn't being confronted with it all the time. When I'm published, I know I'll have to limit my posts even further.

I love the teachable spirit! My belief has always been that everyone should learn something new every day, no matter what. If your not changing, learning, growing, then you become stagnant (metaphorically of course) and your writing (and other areas of life) will suffer.

Anyway, thanks for making me think today. I feel like I've accomplished something. :-)

Don't enter me for the drawing. I don't really use sache-type fragrances.

Mary Connealy said...

Seven Things Dumb Authors have in Common:
Oh we do NOT want to go here!!!

Sherida Stewart said...

Great author and aspiring author suggestions, Missy and Tina. Thank you! Each one speaks to me. I especially want to be ready for #7! (Yay, Helen!)

Cheering for TEAM MISSY, PIPER and MARILYN during the week. And praying for safe travels and great experiences for all attending RWA! Please send pictures so we all feel like we are there with you! :)

Missy Tippens said...

Dianna, I'm glad it made you think! Gotta keep those teacher minds cranking during the summer months. :)

Missy Tippens said...

Ruthy, that's so very true. There's always more going on than we realize.

MARY! A new blog post idea for you! That would be hilarious! You have to write it. Only you could do it justice. :)

Missy Tippens said...

Sherida, thank you!! I'm planning to send photos to Tina to post. I'll try to be a roving reporter. :)

Tracy Krauss said...

Every single tip resonated with me. thanks for boiling it down to such a succinct list.

Debby Giusti said...

Missy, you and Tina are a great combo!!!

Love today's blog. All important points to remember.

I brought ice cream and toppings for sundaes so everyone can stay cool!

Need to pack for RWA!

Waving to all those who will be in ATL! Safe travel! See you WED! BTW, the sun is finally shining in GA. Should be a good week.

Nancy Kimball said...

Thank you, Missy. I'm with you. Mary C needs to write that post for sure.

Brandi Boddie said...

Great post, Missy! Navigating the social media world can be a little stressful, to say the least. Using a bit of self-restraint goes a long way for our sanity and those of our friends.

Jan Drexler said...

Great post, Missy!

The on-line and facebook thing, along with blogs, always gets me. My husband reminds me all the time that once something is on the internet, it's there for all time.

But there's a fine line between being open enough to engage with readers, and private enough to have a personal life. I hope I'm learning how to walk that line!

And #7 - another thing I strive for!

And put me in for the drawing. I love smelly stuff!

Vince said...

Hi Missy:

I’m totally overwhelmed in all areas right now and this wonderful post woke me up to the fact that their will be life after the chaos.

I tried to guess what you were going to put as your seven commonalities and I did not guess one of them. I think I’m too much into makerting and zen. : )

I think yours need to be in a row by themselves of easy cutting and pasting.

1. They Don't Over-share on Social Media
2. They Don't Vent in a Public Forum
3. They have Boundaries
4. They Have a Teachable Spirit
5. They Want IT Badly and are Willing to Pay the Price
6. They Keep Writing
7. They are Ready When Opportunity Knocks

Here are my seven which probably should be called: "7 Things Wise Marketing Authors Have in Common"

1. They know their readers and are always trying to learn about their readers with each reader interaction. (“What is it you liked best about “Winter’s End”? “What would send a book to the top of your TBR pile?”)

2. They try to give their readers the best reading experience they are capable of producing. (They ask themselves: “what is a reader feeling at this point on this page?)

3. They know what their readers especially like about the kind of book they are writing (e.g. hidden child) and they give it to them in spades in the same but different way (i.e., they provide an original way to the HEA).

4. They understand that a prayerful life plus excellent work has a way of making opportunity fall into one's lap as well as knocking louder and faster.

5. They understand that boundaries serve as a gauge to measure how far they are expanding the envelop. (It is very important to know where the edge is, cf. Julie Lessman.)

6. They have learned to enjoy the price of success as the tuition for enlightenment.

7. They are writing even when they are not writing. (Their muse does not have an off switch.)

Sorry if this is a little too zen. : )

P.S. If they are writing inspirational romances, then the subtext in their novels tells the reader ‘I love you’ on every page. (Like in Missy's books.)


Yes, I'd like to win something.

Vince said...

P.S. I know that should have been 'there will be life' ... I'm just too stressed to get everything right. " I need to post a picture of my office on FB!!!

CatMom said...

AMEN, Missy!! Great post, and I especially loved your words: Be teachable, not defensive. WOW--this could apply to lots of areas in life.

Cannot wait to see you at RWA in a few days! (AND cheer for you at the RITA Awards!).
Hugs, Patti Jo :)

CatMom said...

P.S. @Sandra L. - May I go ahead and say: WELCOME TO ATLANTA!!! (okay, I realize you're not actually here yet--but as a native Atlantan I wanted to be the FIRST to welcome you!). Cannot wait to meet you in person!!
Hugs, Patti Jo

ooops! Also meant to say I'm leaving some Peach Shortcake with real whipped cream--it makes a yummy afternoon snack.

Walt Mussell said...

As much as I love giveaways, let a lady win the potpourri. :-)

I talk about my kids all the time (though I'm not a well-known author yet). However, I always leave out my kids' names.

Chill N said...

MISSY the entire post resonated with me -- and reassured me about a few things, too.

After years of journalism, I don't have public opinions :-) so I am astounded when I hear what some people share on the Internet. And that's my point -- I don't do Facebook or Twitter and yet I hear via email or word-of-mouth from people who have read something on a social media site. After those words are released there's no predicting where they will roam.

Teachable spirit. I have a more teachable spirit than I did when I was in my 20s and knew everything, does that count?

Wonderful post, Missy. Safe travels. Cheering you on!

Nancy C

Melanie Dickerson said...

Oh, sorry, Missy! I meant I'm coming to ACFW! Not RWA. Although I would like to go to RWA some time.

I think it's a good idea to thank someone for a great review, if you see one on a blog, especially if that blogger tells you about it. I always leave a comment on the post thanking them. Unless of course the review is negative. I do my best to ignore negative ones. But I remember Siri Mitchell saying she likes to read her negative reviews because she wants to see what she can get out of them, how she might improve, to see the readers' reactions, etc. But I'm not that emotionally strong. LOL!

Chill N said...

P.S. Don't enter me in the giveaway ... but isn't that packaging pretty!

Nancy C

Melanie Dickerson said...

OH! And since you're up for a RITA, Missy, I hope you enjoy every minute of the celebration this week! And I hope you win!!! :-)

Missy Tippens said...

I'm back! Got sidetracked reading!

Missy Tippens said...

I'm glad it was helpful, Tracy.

Debby, I need to pack, too! That's next on my list. :)

Missy Tippens said...

Brandi, self-restraint is a good way to put it. :)

Missy Tippens said...

Brandi, self-restraint is a good way to put it. :)

Missy Tippens said...

Jan, I'll add you to my list. I knew there probably wouldn't be many takers. So those of you who entered have a good chance of having your name drawn! :)

Missy Tippens said...

Okay, Vince, I have to admit you did get a little zen on #6. :) I read it three times and am still not sure I get it. :) But the rest were great!

How's your hand doing?

Missy Tippens said...

Definitely, Patti Jo! Being teachable instead of defensive could definitely help in relationships.

See you soon!

Missy Tippens said...

Ah, come on, Walt. We know you collect potpourri. :)

Missy Tippens said...

Thanks, Nancy C!

Melanie, I'm disappointed you won't be there.

Jenny Blake said...

Thanks Missy. I don't think some authors realise when they are critical or disrespectful to a reader on a public forum they actually are not just potentially losing one reader but many as a negative remark or rude remark to a reader will often be shared with other readers.
When an author complains that readers are not buying there books for what ever reason they also do a disservice as someone like me will think. This author doesn't appreciate me but I know many others who will so it makes me want to support others more.
I have to say in the past year I have had so much support from the Seekers and there friends (as well as LI authors and others) that I want to support you all by buying your books. I have been disrespected on a public forum by authors on a different forum and it has actually made me not want to even read the books which makes me sad. I know I have liked previous books but because of the comments Its totally turned me of reading the books.

Ok puts soap box back in laundry. Missy will be thinking about you at the RWA Will be cheering from Australia.

Pam Hillman said...

Great topic! I relate to all of those.

AND...I can vouch for the fact that you don't want to put the potpourri pouches on your really old antique piano...

Just sayin'

Missy Tippens said...

Oh, no, Pam!! I'm sorry to hear that. Y'all be careful if you win! Only put in a glass bowl. :)

Playground Monitor said...

When is the Seekers' workshop? I'll see if I can fit it into my schedule.


Playground Monitor said...

Found it! Thursday morning bright and early!


squiresj said...

Would love to be entered in giveaway jrs362 at Hotmail dot com
I don't agree totally with sharing personal information. I have gotten to know some authors and we pray for each other. You are an author I love. I pray God's continued anointing on you.
But I learn more on website than facebook and know facebook is getting less and less secure.

Missy Tippens said...

Marilyn, I hope you can get up that early and come. :)

Jane, you're sweet to say that. Thank you.

Audra Harders said...

You are so wise, Missy. I loved each of your reasons to keep your wits about you in this ever shrinking world.

What you said about saying too much on social media had me nodding along with you. Too often I've read "rants" that make the author feel better, but now the world knows what that author thinks of her editorial staff. Less is far better than more when it comes to exposing your true feelings to cyberspace!

I loved your points on Teachable Spirit and Keep Writing, too. This whole post was filled with such sound advice, I think I'll always ask your opinion on dicey moves before I make them, LOL!!

Melissa Jagears said...

Missy, I happened upon a discussion board of readers asking what they thought of authors commenting on their reviews.

The census seemed to be, stay off book review sites--they are for readers to talk to each other and advise other readers and they feel like if you're there, they feel inhibited, even if you're only commenting on nice reviews. (So Amazon and B&N and Goodreads, etc) it's like you're being big brother...

BUT they said they like being acknowledged for posting good things about the authors on their blogs or something where they are hyping you up on their own turf, because then they feel special. So if you find someone blogging about how much they love your book, it seemed they'd love to have you "drop in and visit" and maybe that goes for social media too. (But NOT to protest a bad review.)

So, what I got from that was, Never comment on bad reviews, never on a book review site, but if someone raves about the book on their blog or social media I'm privy to, I should try to thank them and drop in a comment related to what they're talking about. Because if they love your book enough to talk about it on their own turf, they're going to be thrilled you came by to chat.

Christina Rich said...

I'm late, but glad I stopped by. I'm one, that because my facebook is family and friends I tend to share family things. I used to be real careful. I do try to be careful about things I say and careful to post political opinions. Politics drive me crazy anyway so I try to ignore it.

Thanks for a great post, Missy.

Jenny Blake said...

Melissa. I would agree with what you said. I put reviews up on the review sites to give an opinion Im not looking for comment on these sites. But I do appreciate comments on my blog, especially if its an interview with an author and there are comments directed to the author.

Melissa Jagears said...

Glad to hear you agree, Jenny. It's my plan going forward anyway, so glad to hear a reader confirm it.

Edwina said...

Great tips Missy. I try to be careful about what I post and never post anything that would allow my family or me to be traced and found.

I would love to have the giveaway for today!