Wednesday, September 27, 2017

More Lessons From Shark Tank (and other reality tv shows)

I have talked about Shark Tank here in the past and I want to bring up something I often see on this show, as well as some of those competitive cooking shows and then to extend this to what we often see from writers when working with editors and agents.

Every now and then, as we watch these shows, we see people who get rejected by the Sharks or eliminated from the competition. For many they are pretty humble about this and walk away saying they learned a lot from the experience and are planning to use what they have learned for future projects. However, there are always those few who make comments as they walk away about how "they will just prove those Sharks wrong" or how "They know what they do works and is the right thing." This is where the problems lies.

When these people come to these shows, they are coming there to get feedback from "the experts." These are people who have been successful with what they do and know what they are talking about. If those Sharks or judges said something did not work or was not going to be successful, there was a reason for it. This was not an issue of people "just not getting it" or someone who doesn't know what they are talking about. Remember, these are the experts.

Every now and them as an agent, I get a response back from an writer that I rejected who intends on telling me that I was completely wrong and that I will be proven wrong when they make millions of dollars from the book I rejected. I just passed on a writer just recently who submitted a story that was not romance or women's fiction. The author still proceeded to write back to tell me I clearly did not understand why the book was perfect and why I needed to sign it. Arguing is not the best approach.

I have even heard authors at writing conferences telling me the reason they were self-publishing their books is because the traditional publishers clearly didn't know what they were doing. Let' think about that comment for a minute? Really?

I also work with other companies providing reviews and critiques for authors. Even in these situations, we hear authors, after not getting the information they wanted to hear, proceed to argue that the specialist, who they went to in the first place, just doesn't know what they are doing.

This is a business where getting feedback is a a part of the process. Sometimes, the feedback we get might be different, or simply not what we want to hear. This does not mean it is wrong.

When I talk to authors about moving to being a professional writer, I often ask them if they can handle the fact that people may not like your work, or may give you negative feedback. Can you handle the pressure? Can you handle the truth? It is easy to say yes, but look deep inside. If not, this may not be the place for you!

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