So you want to write a book

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by Suzanne D. Williams

A lot of blogs start off this way and then proceed to give the ins and outs of writing. This isn’t one of those. Instead, what’s impressed on me is less the how-to of creating a book than what I wish I’d known when my life as an author began. Anyone can write a book, given they take enough time to learn the process, but not anyone SHOULD write a book unless they are willing change their lives to fit the profession. And by that, I don’t mean time and money spent, though those are both important. Instead, I’m talking about character.

I witnessed an exchange on social media, an author and her friends roasting a woman for leaving her a 1-star review. Apparently, the buyer purchased her book by mistake, only to discover the content wasn’t what she expected. The review said nothing about the book but was the buyer’s complaint about how she felt deceived. I get the author’s frustration. Any 1-star review is hard to receive, and, yes, I agree the buyer shouldn’t have left a review because she was unhappy with her own shortsightedness. But after reading the comments the author made, I would never purchase any of her books (and thus support her) or share any of her book sales posts (and help her find new readers). I have no respect for her at all.

There’s that little word – respect. As your mom and dad would tell you (or your coach or teacher or grandparent), respect is something you earn through right behavior, and as an author, the term “right behavior” encompasses several things.

Keep your mouth shut.

You cannot talk negatively about other authors, readers, agents, editors, etcetera, openly in any public forum. What you say in public, someone like me will read. I guarantee it. There’s no replying to reviews, trashing another writer, or venting because you feel justified. Just keep your mouth shut and your opinions to yourself.

Contrary to popular thought right now, what you think about anything or anyone is no one’s business. The authors I have the greatest respect for do their job to make others feel better, not worse. They “turn the other cheek” when offense comes or, at least, keep their thoughts between themselves and trusted friends. Social media is not the place to air your dirty laundry.

Be generous.

I’ve written 127 books to date. I can afford to give them away. Sending out an ebook to my subscribers is painless and, furthermore, I love doing it. Not because I expect a review, although those are nice, but because it makes someone happy that day. I also give away paperbacks, from time to time, and will correspond with anyone who contacts me with questions or comments.

This is part of being an author. I’ve chosen to put my thoughts in a public arena and must acknowledge they are out there, that people will read them and have something to say. You cannot write a book with a chip on your shoulder, holding a sign, “leave me alone,” because I can guarantee you 100%, readers will not hang around long.

But WHAT you say and HOW you say it is important.

Grow a backbone.

This was the hardest thing for me, and frankly, when I got started, I wasn’t prepared mentally for the challenge of being an author. It’s more than stringing sentences together, more than seeing your name on a book cover or a top-100 list. You must hold your head high when the mud starts slinging. Someone will buy your book and not like it. Someone will criticize your intent, your style, your genre. At some point, that story that twenty people gave 5-stars will receive 1-star from someone who shouldn’t have bought the book in the first place.

I remember with my first book, MISSING, a male reader picked it up expecting a war novel, not a romance. It’s aggravating to be misunderstood. Another 1-star I received, the reader only wrote “boring” as her review. That’s it. One word and all the hard work, all the positivity I’d received, felt like so much hot air.

“Spine” is developed through time and effort and hardened through hearing the criticism. Though some people are less bothered by what others have to say, everyone has a weak point. Know yours, weep and cry and wail with your friends, then pick yourself up and pretend like you didn’t notice.

You’re not alone in your pain. I’ve been there, and so have my writer-friends. Be proud of what you do, no matter what anyone else has to say about it. But “act right” when trouble comes your way. Because this is a public profession that requires skill and strength. People can and will act crazy. How you respond to it is as important as your ability to write. 

How could God make anything good and lasting of this? 

Samson was a Renegade, a gunslinger.  

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The Gun Slinger

About the Author:

Suzanne D. WilliamsBest-selling author, Suzanne D. Williams, is a native Floridian, wife, mother, and photographer. She is the author of both nonfiction and fiction books. She writes devotionals and instructional articles for various blogs. She also does graphic design for self-publishing authors. She is co-founder of THE EDGE.

To learn more about what she’s doing and check out her extensive catalog of stories, visit or link with her on Facebook at or on Twitter at

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