Category Archives: Marketing

THE IMPORTANCE OF BEING ENCOURAGED

"Who needs your old opinion anyway!"

“Who needs your old opinion anyway!”

My mother encouraged me to become an actress because it’s what she first wanted to be. She encouraged me to marry and have children because she wanted more of them. She encouraged me to be an artist because I worked as a specialist in black-and-white 19th century illustration adaptation application and she delighted in coloring the pictures.

But she never encouraged me to be a writer.

Perhaps that’s why becoming a novelist came later to me than most.

Even though I was steadily employed as an editor, columnist, and essayist for newspapers and trade journals most of my life, I never ventured beyond being a designer and freelancer until after my mother passed away in 2006.

Only then did I begin writing, Imogene’s Eloise;.

Wanting approval from unwilling parents might be the first obstacle every writer endures.

It quiets confidence.

But if you’re blessed with the talent, or possessed by the desire, or are willing to perfect the skill, you’ll  eventually begin writing to an audience of strangers and delight in their kernels of encouragement.

I publish this piece in the wake of my previous blog, When Bad Reviews Hurt Good Authors, and in light of being told that Amazon, with it’s 11+ million titles, doesn’t begin pushing a book until 50 reviews have been posted by verified buyers.

I don’t know if that’s true, or not. But let’s suppose it is.

Fifty confirmed reviews is a lot to ask of readers and expect for any book, especially when most of us abide by the standard ‘if you can’t say something nice, say nothing at all’ rule of etiquette.

The primary flaw in such protocol occurs when an author knows, or even suspects you’re reading her book. By censoring yourself out of kindness, you inadvertently, (1) contribute to author-angst and, (2) prevent a genre you enjoy from being recognized by the mainstream media.

Trust me when I say, if we’re ever to secure safe haven in all societies and attain the respect we deserve without sacrificing the virtues inherent to our culture, we need the attention and support of the mainstream media.

And, we need it — not just for the token gay spotlight of celebrities who can afford armed guard protection in public, walled estates in private, and a select circle of friends mirroring themselves — but for the vast majority of us who join in exalting those privileged few, while being baffled by continued anti-sentiment towards homosexuals.

Could it be that acclaimed lesbians and gays are elevated as the untouchable ideal, while we who are uncelebrated are seen as the ignobly real?

And, if so, isn’t it time we cease living in their illusory shadows by working to better define our own?

Before he died in 1882, the English author, Anthony Trollolope, insisted a novelist must —  through a framework of personal ethics — inspire readers to identify with a book’s characters and, in doing so, act in a manner that benefits humankind.

I might have failed in doing that.

While vigorously welcoming and greatly appreciating enthusiasm shown for my novel, Imogene’s Eloise, I fear the reviewer who settles on simply saying, “It’s entertaining.”

Yes, novels need to please, first and foremost.

I dare not hope for more.

And, yet.

I do.

I hope for a reader who will ponder both the obvious and the subtext in my writings and feel emboldened, or is healed of hurt, or resolves the past, or embraces the present, or is enlightened to the levity that life seeks as nourishment in order to survive, well.

Not that I won’t rejoice in whatever reviews I get!

And, not that I’m ungrateful for my 1.3 million ranking on a list placing 9.7 million books behind mine.

And, not that I don’t know in my heart, if my mom were alive today, she’d forego the content of Imogene’s Eloise in favor of the cover.

Indeed, it’s all encouraging.

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Copyright by Marguerite Quantaine 2015


Were you encouraged to be a reader, or writer, or not?
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http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00O6BOB2M/ref=rdr_kindle_ext_tmb
IMOGENE’S ELOISE: Inspired by a true story traces the unpredictable journey of a young woman living alone amid the political unrest and social taboos of Manhattan during the 1960s and early 70s, oblivious to her own feelings and those of others until being smitten by the sight of a stranger in town for the weekend whose name and number she’s prevented from getting. In trying to appear calm, she downs a glass of gin she’s mistaken for ice water, awakening the next morning in a fog — but determined to find that one person in a city of millions before time runs out. On a fast paced track towards an ending you can’t possibly imagine, Imogene’s Eloise challenges any doubt you might harbor in the existence of love at first sight and will fortify your faith in the promise of happily ever after.

Now in paperback & always at the KINDLE nearest you.
I urge you to take advantage of the 7 chapter free read to determine the caliber of my writing and worthiness of content before buying.

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WHEN BAD REVIEWS HURT GOOD AUTHORS and what can be done to change that

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Imagine you are Meryl Streep sitting in the audience, nominated for a Best Actress Oscar at the Academy Awards and Golden Globes and Mia Farrow’s name is called instead of yours.

It doesn’t matter that a vast majority of the general public and international acting community think — make that know — Meryl Streep is the finest actress to grace a screen since the talkies. And, it doesn’t matter that her performance far outshines that of any other actress on the planet.

She must sit and smile and be grateful just to know that she’s the superior actress, even when saddled with being lesser so, by those who are not as talented, or as accomplished as she.

(And by ‘she’ I mean those of ‘you’ still up there in my opening line, imagining yourself as Meryl Streep.)

The point is, being the best at what you do is never enough to win the acclaim of those around you.

Indeed, the chances are good it will elicit exactly the opposite results, regardless of your profession. Because that’s the nature of awards and winning and — especially for the craft of writing — book reviews.

I say ‘especially’ because book reviews and letters to the editor are the two areas of the media where everyone, regardless of their intent, intelligence, or lack thereof, can participate as an authority.

And, because of this, both (along with the installation of the five star system) have become the weapon of choice for malcontents.

The question we all need to ask ourselves is simple: Am I complicit?

The answer is YES if you:
(1) Write a good review for your friend or relative, simply because she is your friend or relative, not because her/his book is as good as the review you’ve given.
(2) Award a five star rating to a book because it was authored by a friend or relative, not because her/his book is as good as you’ve rated it.
(3) Issue a bad review for a book you haven’t read.
(4) Issue a bad review for a book you haven’t read because you carry a grudge against the author, or you have a friend who carries a grudge.
(5) Award a low star rating for a book you haven’t read.
(6) Award a low star rating for a book you haven’t read because you carry a grudge against the author, or you have a friend who carries a grudge.
(7) Sabotage an author whose publisher is in competition with your publisher.
(8) Sabotage an author for revenge.
(9) Sabotage an author out of jealousy.
(10) Sabotage an author because you can, and that ability gives you power.

About now you’re wondering how this essay became about you instead of those so-in-sos who gave you a bad review.

That’s the thing.

When it comes to writing — just as when it comes to all other areas of life — it is never about what is done to you.

Rather, it is always about what you did to help create an atmosphere where such injustices flourish.

And, by ‘you’ I mean ‘me’, and ‘us’, and ‘we’.

Like every journey, this one takes one step by one person at a time.

It takes resolve.

It takes a decision by each of us to (1) refrain from giving credit where credit isn’t due, and (2) refrain from sabotaging those we don’t like, and (3) choose to learn from those whom we consider to be more talented, more creative, or more accomplished, and (4) mentor all who are receptive, in an effort to improve our craft and our writing community.

It isn’t necessary to like every writer. But we must try to respect every person who makes the effort, takes the time, and risks the rejection that results from writing a book, regardless of its caliber.

And, if we can do that, we will know
our own worth.

And, if we can do that, we will rejoice
in the success of others.

And, if we can do that, we will accept, as a burden,
that there will always be those whose low self-esteem,
jealousy, envy, ego, or anger won’t allow them
any other recourse
but to lash out.

And if we can do that, we’ll realize, as a blessing,
that the next essay, article, story, or book we write
will be better because of it.

And if we can do that, we will each,
we will all, know what it’s like to be
Meryl Streep.

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by Marguerite Quantaine © 2015

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Marguerite Quantaine is an essayist and author.
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