A lot has changed in the many years that I’ve been in the publishing business. One thing that hasn’t changed is people who want something for nothing. This occurs in all walks of life, but I want to focus on publishing today. I want you to take a cold, hard, honest look at yourself and see if you are being a leech, then stop it if you are.
Inconsiderate, Lazy Leech
This is a common type of publishing leech. I was helping an aspiring author who had a million questions. After about two hours on the phone, she still had a billion questions. I informed her that my book, Become A Successful Author, answers most of her questions, then I gifted her my book and told her to read it first, then ask follow-up questions. The following month this author sent me a ridiculously long email with questions that were answered in the book and asked if we could speak on the phone again. I asked her if she had read the book (maybe she had comprehension issues), and she said she hadn’t had time and wanted me to just tell her what she needed to do.
She didn’t have a few hours to read a book that would answer her questions and give her a good base of knowledge to conduct her own research from, but wanted me to spend hours of my time spoon-feeding her information. Yep, that’s lazy and inconsiderate.
If you expect others to do more for you than you are willing to do for yourself, you are a leech.
Something For Nothing Leech
This is also a very common publishing leech. Editors, graphic artist, proof readers… anyone in the service industry suffers from leeches who want something for nothing. Don’t get me wrong, we all want a good deal, but there are a lot of authors who are trying to make money (increase book sales) on the backs of the editors, graphic artists, proofreaders… If someone has the skillset you need to get the best product out there, you need to pay them for their talent. If you are not willing to invest in your business, why do you expect others to invest in your business by purchasing your books?
Me, Me, Me Leech
We’ve all experienced these. I run two reading groups on social media. I’m shocked—not really—how many authors IM me because I only allow promos two days a week. Somehow I’m responsible for them not making the NYT best sellers list. I’m tempted to share some of the messages I receive from authors whining because they can’t treat the reading groups like their billboard. They don’t care that they are promoting to the wrong genre. They don’t care that we are there to talk about the books we’re reading, not be bombarded with their promos. If it’s not about them, they don’t care. Those type of authors suck the life right out of a group.
This is one of the more rare publishing leeches. Or maybe they are better at hiding. I was at a writer’s conference a few months ago and overheard an author talking about a concept she had for a novel. I thought, great idea, then went on about my business. Later that day, I heard a second author talking about the same concept with a few differences. They were too similar to be a coincidence. This is exactly why I do not tell people about my book concepts. You never know if there is a concept leech around.
This one is very harmful. Be carful. These are the authors who are so negative and nasty that their vibe throws you off. It’s like they suck your spirit dry. You’re trying to be and do positive, but all they see is the negative.
These are the authors who hang around a more popular author in hopes of syphoning new readers from the more popular author. This one is hard to explain. We are authors and we hang out in the same places. These leeches are users. Once they get what they want, they move to the next target.
What’s the cure for leeches? I know none of you see yourselves in anything I’ve said, but if you are the victim of a leech, remember, you teach people how to treat you. I’m not saying to stop being a giving person. I’m a giving person and will continue to do so. That doesn’t mean you have to stand there and be sucked dry by leeches.
I wrote this article so you can keep an eye out, but there is good news. There aren’t as many leeches out there as one may think. Social media has made them more visible, so they seem to be in greater number than they are.
Keep your focus without falling into the “It’s all about me” mode, and you’ll be fine.
Much Joy Peace and Love,
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