Wednesday, December 06, 2006

A "No" Mind in a "Yes" Heart

Well, drat, I feel like today’s post is a downer. I just had to say “no”—for the thousandth time, it feels like—to someone who e-mailed me requesting an endorsement.


I hate saying no. I’ve got a heart for helping and encouraging people—I always want to say yes. But I’ve now reached the point where I have to say no to everyone. Problem is, I’m now receiving anywhere from one to three requests for endorsements a week. Some folks ask whom I don’t know all that well. But what makes it hard is when a special pal asks. Thing is, I know a lot of people in this industry, so I have a lot of special pals.

These requests come from the authors themselves, and from agents, and from editors. And yes, many of them are friends whom I really don’t like saying no to. I mean, these people and I have a history, you know? Time is a big factor. My life’s getting even busier. Besides the new contract I recently signed, some other things are in the works I can’t even announce yet, but they’re already having a real impact on my writing schedule. But this issue is more than about time. If I said yes—even just to friends who ask—I’d be endorsing so many books my name wouldn’t be worth anything on an endorsement.

Up until a few months ago, I was doing the rare endorsement. If the timing was just right, and if the book was in my genre, and if I knew the author’s writing. Now that requests have increased, I find the only way I can handle this is to have an “I’m so sorry, but I must say no” policy in place. That way everyone’s treated the same. One friend can’t feel bad, thinking, “But she endorsed so-and-so.”

I wish our industry weren’t so driven by this endorsement thing. I still don’t think endorsements do much good, anyway. As I’ve mentioned before, my first suspense novel with Zondervan was endorsed by two people in my genre. (And these, my publisher got for me.) After that, we’ve never bothered with getting endorsements for my books. And they manage to sell okay.

So, yeah, kind of a downer post. Doesn’t make me feel all warm and fuzzy. But hey, could be worse. After yesterday’s post—at least I didn’t discover I’ve killed off a person in real life.


Grady Houger said...

Hey, don't feel bad about sticking to your principles. You are a role model to us beinning\unpublished authors with your marketing practices.
Don't be average even if all your friends are!

I heard Chuck Norris does infomercials now. You totally don't want to go there Brandilyn.

Mary DeMuth said...

I understand. On a smaller scale. Initially I was THRILLED that anyone other than my cat wanted little ol' me to endorse their book.

But after being buried under books to read, I've had to adopt your policy as well. One of my friend agrees to endorse two books a year in her genre. That's what I will do as well, but I foresee a time when I won't even be able to do that.

Give your time to creating, to encouraging in other ways, to teaching. Rest in the fact that you DO give back.

Kristy Dykes said...

Love your post title. "A No Mind In A Yes Heart."

We're talking about procrastination in our writing on the ACFW loop, and this title speaks to the issue of having to say "No" to things--even worthy things--that are time stealers for us as writers. (Am I making sense? I'm saying my heart wants to do so many things for people and the church, and I have to ask God for wisdom constantly, me, who spent several hours Saturday upholstering the back of an antique credenza at church with velvet and brass nailhead trim because its new position against a bank of pews showed some of its back.)

Moving on...

Mary said it superbly, B: "Give your time to creating, to encouraging in other ways, to teaching. Rest in the fact that you DO give back."

Amen and amen.

Anonymous said...

I understand how that would make a person feel down.

I don't like what it says about the industry, but is there anything anyone can do?

Eden said...

I completely understand about having to tell people "no", even when I'd really like to help and say "yes".

Don't feel down about it though.

~ Brandilyn Collins said...

Michelle, I don't know what's to be done, as long as the publishers and agents are pushing endorsements. I've had this discussion with pubs/agents. Agents say they push for them because the publishers want them so badly. But then I'm thinkin', if the pubs want them so badly, why don't THEY go after the endorsements. While I do receive requests from editors, I receive far more from the authors themselves. And the new authors are overwhelmed at having to ask. They don't want to have to do that. Makes me feel very bad for them.

And Mary, my first pull-back on endorsing was to do exactly what you said--do two a year. Well, by the time Jan. 15 came, and I was already booked for the year... Didn't really work.

Julie Carobini said...

As a new author currently looking for endorsements, reviews, etc., I can tell you that I'm beyond exhaustion. In a way, I almost (not quite) miss the pre-Internet years. The more info we can find on a particular book, the more we seem to need...

Anonymous said...

Brandilyn, don't feel bad. I'm so extremely grateful for what you do here on this blog and that you take the time out of your obviously incredibly busy schedule to teach and encourage that I really don't blame you for saying no! There are pleny of suspense authors out there that don't do near as much as you do that can endorse books for newly pubbed, etc. Just don't quit the blogging and the teaching, please!

Oh, and you'll never believe what I saw yesterday driving my husband home from the hospital (gall bladder surgery, no biggie.)

A license plate that said S&MAN. So, it wasn't S-MAN, but gotta admit after yesterday's post the odds of me seeing this...well...I'll let you figure it out. (I'm not sure what it meant "Sandman"? Maybe he was an anesthesiologist or something. He WAS driving a Lexus.)

ANYWAY, If I'd had my camera, I'd of flagged him down and asked if I could snap a picture of his plate (wonder what he'd of thought of that. I'm not sure he's familiar with author weirdness.)

Just thought I'd share that with

Unknown said...

I know this feeling. I'm not even published yet and I'm overwhelmed! I've got 5 arcs sitting on my bedside table that have to be read. Several I did ask for personally because I heart they were so good. I finally said, enough for now. When it becomes more work then my nursing job, that's a sign things are getting out of hand.

It's hard to lose sight of how much we are doing for others instead of the times we have to say no.

I think people understand. I'm getting ready to have to cut a lot of things from my to do list because of this same issue. God bless.

R. K. Mortenson said...

Two months ago I was asked to consider editing a small monthly publication. I said no. The editor looked at me and smiled. "Good on ya," he said.

So Brandilyn, for what it's worth, good on ya.

D. Gudger said...

I don't understand why publishers want endorsements so badly. I don't read them. I don't have the time to read them, I only want to read the book :). I hope the endorsement thing goes away by the time my ms is done and I have an agent shopping it around.

Stuart said...

As others have said, you alredy do so much to help us all out and encourage us and build us up.

so Thanks for all you do.

Even if it is still hard to say "no".

Bonnie S. Calhoun said...

Brandilyn, you're doing a great job just like you are. Don't stress the other stuff. Let God keep leading your decisions.

batgirl said...

I'm reading at 11:20 p.m., Brandilyn, so I hope by now you've been encouraged. All of us (especially approval-seeking, people-pleasers like me) have trouble with this, whether it be saying no to endorsements or saying no to another committee at church. God gives us exactly enough time to do what He wants us to do. Saying yes to things He hasn't approved only leads to burnout. I think you're wise.

~ Brandilyn Collins said...

Thanks, everyone, for your kind words. :]