Many years ago I graduated near the top of my law school class and I had offers from very big and prestigious firms that offered me a lot of money upfront. Instead I wound up eventually working for the Defender Association of Philadelphia for less than half as much. Why? Because they were one of the best criminal defense firms in the nation and I wanted to be a truly good attorney more than I wanted prestige. I also knew that I would have to sell my soul to those big firms in exchange for that big payday.
Now I’m in my mid-forties, and in a different career entirely, but my personality hasn’t changed much. I want to be a truly good writer, more than I want to be a famous one. So – I’m not motivated by the trappings of celebrity. Best seller lists are nice – I’ve made a few and I think that’s great. I don’t pretend that means something about the quality of my writing though. I have plenty of people willing to stroke my ego. It’s nice to hear good things about yourself. But I don’t pretend that’s the same as a reader telling me that my writing meant something to them. I’ve got thousands of page likes and followers and “friends” and “fans.” It means something to me that people felt good enough about my writing to seek me out, but I don’t feel like that makes me a better author than someone who has fewer. I have a great book recommendation for folks who don’t understand this concept – The Emperor’s New Clothes.
What prompted this little diatribe, you might ask, (other than my general cynicism.) What prompted it is that I have decided that I’m done with selling empty prestige. I write good books. If you like them, read them, review them and tell somebody. That’s the PR I want – real endorsements from real readers. I want to know if I’m really a good writer and not just a good salesman. Call me greedy, but it’s not enough for me to be to be in the cool clique. I want to be the kind of author who really brings people joy and who they remember a week from now.
So, don’t give me five star reviews unless you really think the book deserved it. You don’t do me any favors by doing that. Don’t ask me to trade page likes so that we can both have higher numbers. Meaningless page likes don’t get my book into the hands of people who might genuinely enjoy it. In short, be real with me and I’ll respect you for it.
I’ll continue to work hard on becoming the best writer I can be. I’ll send out a newsletter when I release a new book. My newsletter sign-up is on my webpage http://nmsilber.com. I am hanging out on Facebook in my group called The Jury – I really talk to real readers there. I show them my writing as I write it and get their feedback. I crave that real, quality interaction with people who genuinely enjoy my writing and get me. This is the link if you want to join. https://www.facebook.com/groups/469901006424747/
I hope that you’ll continue to check out my writing. It means a lot to me that so many people enjoy it.