Wednesday, November 6, 2013

The False Sale

I know it's very easy to exaggerate.

"If I've told you once, I've told you a million times!"

I'm guilty of it myself.
Hyperbole makes for good stories.

"And then I was swarmed by a thousand bees!"
(there were three)

I've come to expect it from my kids - but I'm going to issue you a warning where you should never, ever, ever, ever exaggerate.

In the publishing business.

I knew a writer who I hadn't seen in a while, and when I asked her how things were going, she went on and on about how she was working with an editor on her Middle Grade novel, and how she had a development deal with a major publishing house on another idea - and how things were going super duper fantastic for her.
I was impressed.

Until - I asked her what publishing house her editor was at, and she balked. Not just balked, but she actually tried to avoid giving me an answer. Now that seemed weird to me at the time, because usually authors don't announce they're working with an editor until after the publishing deal had been signed, so I initially thought that maybe her deal hadn't been announced yet, but when I asked her if that was the case, this turned out to be not true either.

She was working with a freelance editor on her Middle Grade. This is all well and good, I've had many friends do this, but she had left that part out of her initial sentence in an effort to sound more impressive, and being the skeptical bitch that I am, I did a little digging and caught her in the lie.

Oh, and that development deal she had with the major publishing house? The conversation I had with her was TWO YEARS ago and nothing has shown up in Publishers Marketplace, so I'm willing to bet that deal fell through, if it even existed.

Now, when my agent or editor or writerly friends meet this person and ask me what I think of her, what do you think my response will be?
Positive?
Or negative?

Or, how about when I meet an author who brags about his multi-book publishing deal, his sales at Barnes and Noble, his thousands of Twitter followers - and then OFFERS ME ADVICE on how to market a book - and when I go home, I do a little (not even a lot!) bit of digging and find out his multiple book deal was with a vanity press, that his book is being sold at Barnes and Noble.com (not the stores), and that I have more Twitter followers than he does…

NOW - don't get me wrong.
I love Barnes and Noble.com, my first book came out with a vanity press, and I don't even have 2k Twitter followers - I am not judging the truth of this man's accomplishments.

I'm judging the sales pitch.
The lying, really.

Just tell me the truth - why are you trying to make yourself sound more successful than you are?
You're just making yourself look bad!

Case in Point: 
My 2 book deal is with Harlequin's digital first imprint Carina Press - YAY!

If either one of those other two writers had shared the same news with me, they would have had a multiple book deal with Harlequin - which is a whole other type of deal - and it would have been part truth, but mostly a lie.

Just stop with the false sales.
Just stop!

Don't oversell.
Don't overreach.

Tell the damned truth and be proud.
Because by lying, you are only shooting yourself in the foot.