Over the past few months, I have been labeled by some, as being an “Ass” or being too ‘harsh” in the newsletters that go out to the membership. While some of you can say that is the case, you need to know I am coming from a place of love and support, even when it appears harsh. It’s called Tough Love.
We are all grown-ups and, in most cases, have raised families. I am sure, at some point in time, you have had to use Tough Love to get your child or loved one in line and off a road that could damage them.
It is no different for me in how I am approaching you now. I see you as a member of my family and not a bag full of money waiting for me to reach in and take from you. When I have to pass on to the membership increase, the cost of events and programs, I do so with high anxiety, for I know most of you cannot afford the extra expense. But, at the same time, I have no means to foot the bill for all the programs and opportunities I have created that are designed to help YOU!
It is when I see family members sitting on their behinds and expect to be handed things without working for them, that I get frustrated and discouraged. After eight years of this, it’s time for some Tough Love. Therefore, that is why you are seeing my emails becoming a bit more forceful and direct. Consider them as a strong verbal wake-up call.
You joined this organization to become better at marketing and selling your books. To have access to more effective ways to get the word out that you exist and that your books are worthy of being read. That’s great and are the right reasons to join.
My job is to find new and innovative ways that are most effective for you to do that. And, I work hard every day to continually discover new and better means to help you succeed.
However, if you don’t use the services and programs, you will never find out what works and doesn’t work. You have to get off your ass, stop waiting on someone to do it for you, and get to work! Writing the book was the easy part, now it’s time to market it!
If you want to sit back and just write, that’s great! You need to plan on hiring people who will charge you thousands of dollars and let them rip you off while you get nothing in exchange for your money. But, when you do that, you give up all rights to bitch and complain because they didn’t do anything to benefit you or further your writing career.
There have been members who have joined our organization and expected us to sell their books and make them rich (no matter how many times I tell them we are here to help, NOT do the work for them. We simply provide effective tools for them to use). They seem to ignore that, and when they don’t sell hundreds of books or get rich quick, they complain that we are the problem and that we ripped them off.
I created all the various organizations, events, and programs to help YOU! I am not in it to get rich. If I was, the membership dues would be outrageous, and I would limit the number of people I help to a small number.
No other organization in the WORLD does what we do! I have been saying that for years. I continue to stay at the forefront of technology, programs, and other newsworthy items to give you the tools to stay one step ahead of the hundreds of thousands of other authors in the world.
There are over 9,000 published Texas authors, and it is my goal to help as many of them as I can. The reason for this goal is very simple. It builds a stronger family that supports each other. It creates opportunities that otherwise may not exist. However, we cannot continue to do all that we do if we are forced to raise prices or cut back on services due to limited funds. We MUST have more members working with us to help the family as a whole.
Most of you have been members for years and have grown extensively through the various programs and events. Share with your fellow authors in Texas and beyond the state line about what we do and what we have created.
As a family, we are stronger. As individuals, we have to work harder to achieve more. The choice is yours - Help us become a stronger family that includes some Tough Love at times or be the selfish individual who seeks their own personal glory!
Below are a couple of definitions of what Tough Love is:
Webster Definition of Tough Love: love or affectionate concern expressed in a stern or unsentimental manner (as through discipline) especially, to promote responsible behavior
Urban Definition of Tough Love: Another version of "being cruel to be kind." To show somebody some tough love today will save them heartache in the future but may cause a small amount of upset for the receiver immediately after the "Tough Love" has been dispensed. They would suffer more if you let them get on with their life with no interference from third parties.
Below are responses from fellow authors to the above article:
As a fellow author AND publisher, I have worked so hard to lead new authors in the right direction for marketing their book. It is not easy to get them out of the mindset of “my book is published, lets watch the money roll in”. So often they sell to friends, family and acquaintances and then wonder why no one else is buying. They can’t fathom why they aren’t being found on Amazon and end up giving up after about 6 months to a year. I spend so much time educating them on the marketing possibilities, and trying to push them to sign up with TAA BEFORE their book comes out. The ones who are willing to learn, eager to market and really WANT it, they have the staying power. The ones who don’t – well, let’s say, I know who I won’t see publish book number 2. Kathleen J. Shields -
Before I get into my response to your comments about Texas Authors and tough love, Thank You!
To my surprise, the engineering culture in which I have spent 40+ years tends to be somewhat subdued when compared to the unfettered emotions of the literary world. I should have realized this long ago, but personal experience is a great teacher. With that said, the people I have met through Texas Authors have been remarkable and a source of tremendous encouragement. If for no other reason, that by itself more than covers the membership fee. Even at the old rate, I could skip dinner and a movie with the kids just one time a year and make up for it.
In my opinion, the resources and opportunities offered by Texas Authors are a bargain at almost any price. I now have access to more information than I could ever fully utilize. I didn't join the organization, or write a book for that matter, to strike it rich. I did it to make a difference, and Texas Authors has enabled that. Through this organization, I have achieved (quite literally) a fifty-year dream: write a novel that changes lives and then make it available to the largest audience possible. But could I have imagined that the work of a first-time author would win an award for best book in a state-wide contest? Not a chance without a group like Texas Authors.
Alan, do not assume that your efforts aren't noticed or appreciated (or even understood). Regardless of what the future holds, you have already ensured a life-altering change for at least one author.
JMA Ziegler (and Yes, winner 2019 Best Book Award in Women's General)
I wholeheartedly agree with your Tough Love policy for TAA. I appreciate all that you do for us and know that there is much going on behind the scenes about which we authors are not aware. I thank you for being our fearless leader and helping us to succeed with our book sales and promotions. Texas is lucky to have you!
Sincerely,Suzanne Gene Courtney
From the heart of a Texas Authors member:
I joined Texas Authors a few years ago. I sought the organization out because I had met an author who was a member and was happy with what the organization provided.
To this day, I’m very happy I became a member. It is because I am a member of this organization that many opportunities have been opened for me. I never once was led to believe Texas Authors would do everything for me. I went in KNOWING I had to do some work in order to move myself forward. Texas Authors never was and never has been a “handout” organization and it baffles me that anyone would join believing that. There is not a single word written anywhere that implies Texas Authors will do all the work for you and will make you a best-selling author.
What Texas Authors DOES and has ALWAYS said is basically the following…Texas Authors was created to HELP Texas Indie Authors have opportunities to sell their books at events created by Texas Authors and other groups. To clarify, this means Texas Authors puts the book event together for us. Once we sign up for the event, everything else falls to us. It is OUR job as THE AUTHOR in attendance to sell OUR books, not Texas Authors.
While I understand some events are a bit pricy and hard to attend due to distance and possible hotel expense, Texas Authors can only help us so far. Events go up in price because everything else goes up in price. Texas Authors understands this and that is why they offer the Book Festival Package to help with the cost of the table for these events. This package allows you to sign up for multiple events for the following year at one time for a discounted rate. So, my question here would be…why aren’t you taking advantage of that????
Now, I’m going to get a tad more personal. I would say please forgive me, but Alan is right it is time for Tough Love. So here goes mine…
Because of the success I have personally obtained by being a member of Texas Authors, I get highly irritated when I am at an event and authors start to break down early because they aren’t getting any sales or they’ve only had one sale…um…excuse me but…DON’T DO THAT!!! When authors start breaking down early it creates a domino effect and makes the event look sad and not worth walking into for the rest of the day.
And before you go blaming Alan for YOUR lack of book sales at the event. HE CAN’T MAKE PEOPLE BUY YOUR BOOKS and guess what NEITHER CAN YOU!!!!
You have to accept that not every event is going to be successful. If you are unable do that, then don’t sign up.
I don’t know what the magic solution is for all of us to be successful in selling our books. What I do know is this…Alan has done everything possible he knows how to do and then some. Alan has given up more than most of you know to see this organization continue to live and grow and thrive. He’s so good at what he comes up with, maybe we tend to put too much on his shoulders to get things done. So often, we gripe and gripe and gripe, but we don’t do anything ourselves to fix it.
My experience with Texas Authors has been nothing but positive.
Compared to the many other websites, agencies, or author services that offer to help promote and market Indie Authors, I have found that Texas Authors gives more bang per buck than any others, by far.
My experience with others has been that they always have their hand out -- wanting a large initial fee before they do anything.
By contrast, for my minimal yearly fee to Texas Authors I have: done two 30-minute radio interviews, my books in the e-store, my books in the Museum, gotten notifications of upcoming sales opportunities, won awards, gotten great press releases, had numerous networking opportunities.
Furthermore, my response time whenever I have a question or issue with Texas Authors is minimal to nil. With others, I have waited a long time for a response, or sometimes never gotten a response.
I feel that Texas Authors has MY best interests in mind -- that is something I can not say about other author services or marketing platforms.
I wish Texas Authors the best of success in growing our Author base, and its readership.
Multiple award-winning Author and satisfied Texas Authors member. Multiple award-winning Author and satisfied Texas Authors member.