How to avoid drowning in the sea of mishegas

Mishegas, Noun

Also spelled mishegoss

  1. (slang) MadnesssillinessEtymology  Yiddish מישעגאָסס (mishegoss), from משוגע (meshuge), “crazy”, from Hebrew משוגע (meshugga`), “crazy”, from שׁוּגַּע (shugga‘) (“be driven mad”), שִׁיגַּע (shigga‘) (“drive mad”).  –

I’m teaching you a new word if you didn’t know it already – Mishegas – craziness. Practice saying it a few times. Now say it loudly – Mishegas! Throw in an Oy – Oy! Such mishegas! Very good! So why am I teaching you this word? I’ll tell you why. It’s part of an Action Plan I have developed to guard against burnout.  Here is …






While I appreciate all of them, there’s something really special about 5 Star reviews from random readers who just bought my book and loved it. They make everything else I put up with in this business seem unimportant. They often seem to appear at just the right time, much like fan letters from people in countries, that I couldn’t find on a map if I tried, arrive when I need them the most. Let me ask you this, has someone ever tagged you in comment when somebody else asked for book recommendation, even though they weren’t on your street team, and you didn’t ask them to do it? Have you ever met a reader who made you feel like a celebrity, rather than someone who was picking gum out of the carpet and rummaging through the sofa for change the day before?  Have you ever screwed up your courage to make a visit to Goodreads, just to find out your book was voted to some list of best (whatever) books by someone not related to you in any way? Every time one of those things happens, no matter how small it may seem, and no matter how busy you are, save it, take a screenshot, write in crayon on a napkin or a small child if you have to.  Keep it somewhere safe, where you can get to it and look at it whenever you need to, because sometimes it’s good to remember the people who really matter in this business, and what your books mean to them. I’ve gotten mail from people who have told me I made them laugh during difficult times. They helped me feel better during difficult times too.





My grandfather, may he rest in peace, was a very wise man. He survived more challenging things than his book ranking falling on Amazon, (like the Great Depression for instance), mostly by having a sense of humor and by repeating one word at appropriate times, “Mishegas!”  On a daily basis, authors face stresses that have nothing to do with writing. Sometimes they originate with other other authors, sometimes readers, bloggers, or people who work in either the indie or the traditional publishing world. For example, there are people who anonymously make up stories just to cause drama. (Sometimes between two authors who have never even heard of each other.) There are mysterious One Star reviews that appear by people who joined Amazon that day and only bother to review one book ever and it’s yours. (What a coincidence!) There are people who rip off other people’s ideas. (Hey, my character has a different name and lives in a different city!) There are readers posting that they want others to send them pirated books and actually tagging the author. (I swear to God – I couldn’t make that up.) There are book signings where indies are called “aspiring” authors and have to go to a different room than “real” authors. (I guess since I’m both, I would have to sit in the hall.) There are people who offer to sell you their review, (and there are authors who take them up on it.) There are people who expect to be given free copies of your work and then don’t take five minutes to review it. (The RC in “ARC” stands for “review copy” by the way.) There are people who charge you lots of money for very little work. (Trust me, I’m the magic bullet for success.) There are people who won’t invite authors to events unless they’re famous enough, even if they have a great fan base. (And actually write good books.) Worse, there are people who will bump an author from an event if a more famous one suddenly becomes available. (Yes, really.) There are people who game the system and list their books in crazy categories, (or just the wrong categories), to gain visibility on Amazon. (I’m a Bestselling author in Erotic Ukrainian health & beauty textbook sagas .)  There are people who complain about the price of a $0.99 book that took you months to write. If you took all of this stuff seriously, you could go crazy.  So, don’t. Take a step back and look at how silly and pathetic these people are! And every time you run across some scam, or snub, or drama just yell “Mishegas!” Then get off of Facebook and go write. In fact, consider blocking the source.


Now, I’m not naive or insensitive; I know that trolls, bullies, thieves, snobs and saboteurs can have a negative impact on someone’s career, and on someone’s peace of mind and emotional well-being. I’m not dismissing that. I’m just saying that you should remind yourself frequently that these people can’t stop you from writing, and won’t stop you from succeeding, if you write good books, are interactive with, and accessible to your real fans, and you don’t stoop to involving yourself in their mishegas. If they seem powerful, give them less ammunition.



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