Monday, February 16, 2015

6 Things Writers Should Never Wear

The truth is, there are some things authors should not wear, ever, because those things just don't look good on anyone. Those things just are not clothes. What are they?
Not your typical "catsuit," but you could
still rock it with the right book. Better than
any of these looks, by far!

6. Jealousy
Enjoy your own. Nobody's grass is really perfectly green, and staring at their sparkling emerald-tipped blades is just going to make you too depressed to write or work on your own. If you don't work, yours will never grow, never flower. Instead, try celebrating with them, and rejoicing that someone you admire has achieved success. Who knows. Maybe some of their good habits, or just good luck, will rub off on you, and help you find success of your own. But it sure won't if you give up, or worse, hate them for doing well.
5.  Claiming to know what's best for everyone
You don't. You probably know what's best for you. You probably even know, or are in the process of figuring out, what works well (for you). But publishing and writing isn't a one-size-fits-all career, and others will have different experiences.
4. Perfectionism in drafting
Of course your work should be as perfect and polished as you can make it. When it's ready to publish, it should gleam. But perfectionism in drafting will slow you down. Finish the book first, fixing only what you absolutely must in the process, and then go back and fix and polish at the end, when you know what really needs to be cut. Carpenters don't stain their tables or bookshelves while still cutting the pieces.
3. Signing without reading
Exploration and adventure:
virtues you should wear!
Not just bad-looking, but downright dangerous: the author who signs a contract without reading it. Read the fine print. Know what it means, or hire someone who does. A literary attorney or a professional agent can keep you from being ripped off, and seriously save your career. Not signing a traditional contract? Make sure you know the limits of what you can and cannot contractually do with the retailers you are using. 
2. Not editing
Edit! Your career depends on it. Nothing destroys your career faster than posting your 200K NaNoWriMo fantasy murder mystery with gratuitous scene repetition and explicit chapters of introspection. Revise, polish, fix your characterization. Even a well-written first draft needs some revision and typo fixing.
1. Being rude
Don't turn your nose up at anyone
(unless there's a cheese straw on it). 
Everyone makes mistakes, and giving others the benefit of the doubt is to your own advantage. Meanwhile, cutting out on check and insulting someone else's shoes while telling your (former) friends you're too good for them now is a great way to end up as the body in someone else's suspense book... and the laughingstock of real life, too. And those people you cut off at the elevator? Maybe you didn't know it, but she's the acquiring editor of the publishing house you wanted, and he's on the committee for choosing Bookbub ads.

Whatever your style is,
The good news is that these are all common sense. The bad news? Somehow, people still occasionally wear each of these hats.

As for what clothes you should wear? Whatever you love. Personally, I'm a fan of Leanna Renee Heiber's Gothic Victorian style, though I tend to more of a casual business look myself (and, uh, the occasional headlamp or Santa hat). Seriously, your books, your brand. Build the image that fits for you.


  1. Ooh! I LOVE this! Such a fun way to look at it! And you're right; those six things don't look good on anyone. As for what I actually wear? Um, yoga pants and soft, loose, long-sleeved shirts. When I'm writing, at least. Much easier to let the words flow that way. :-)

    1. Comfy clothes are a writer's uniform! I'm the same when I'm writing, comfy comes first, while style... well, let's say the fashion police have an eternal warrant out for me. ;)