I Don’t Want To Do What People Want Me To Do

It’s amazing to me that no matter how much you do for people, there is always someone wanting more.

I’ve been dealing with a group of new authors, trying to ease their way into social networking, promoting them via my interview blog, teaching them how to blog and whatever else they need to do and yet that isn’t enough. They want me to coordinate a review exchange.

Nope. Not going to happen.

I tried to do an excerpt exchange with one of my Facebook groups, and it worked for a while, but what happened is what always happens. A few people end up posting excerpts for everyone, and the rest go along for the ridesmiley. And posting excerpts is easy. It’s not like having to spend a week or two slogging through a book and then trying to find something positive to say because you can’t say what you really want to: “This book stinks. All the perfume in the world won’t make it any less offensive.”

Unless a review exchange is done right, it comes across as exactly what it is — an exchange. Even if the review is honest, it is still quid pro quo, though considering how many books sailed to stardom on paid-for reviews, it’s a small payoff.

Even if all the authors did what they agreed to do and read the books and posted the reviews, I’m still not going to do coordinate the exchange. I’ve spent most of the past seven years promoting other authors because . . . well, because I could and because I had the time. But with my life about to change in ways I can’t yet guess, I simply cannot take on any more. And more importantly, I don’t want to do what people want me to do.

It seems as if so much of my life was about doing things I didn’t want to do, and I’m tired of it. I’ll still have to do plenty I don’t want to do because there is the small matter of needing to make a living. I’ve been coasting the past five years living with my father and taking care of him, and I might be able to coast a couple of more years, but then . . . well, I’m not going to think that far ahead. Either things will work out or they won’t, and I’m not going to waste my time wondering about something that may or may not happen. For all I know, I could end up selling a gazillion books, becoming Oprah Winfrey’s best friend, or going walkabout and with no need for money.

Meantime, I am doing what I can (within limits — the limits being no reviews and no coordinating review exchanges) to help other authors. If you wish me to post an excerpt from your book, you can find the submission directions here: Submitting your excerpt. I’ll be glad to post your excerpt. Just don’t ask me to review your book. You have no idea how jaded I really am, and I guarantee you would not like what I have to say.


Pat Bertram is the author of the suspense novels Light BringerMore Deaths Than OneA Spark of Heavenly Fireand Daughter Am IBertram is also the author of Grief: The Great Yearning, “an exquisite book, wrenching to read, and at the same time full of profound truths.” Connect with Pat on Google+. Like Pat on Facebook.

7 Responses to “I Don’t Want To Do What People Want Me To Do”

  1. sumalama Says:

    So do only what you want and to hell with the consequences! You have to take care of you, Pat, no one else any more. You’re done with that. It’s time to live your life. Enjoy it!

  2. Jessica Rising Says:

    Thank you for this post. I haven’t had a lot of time to do a whole lot to help my fellow authors, so I don’t ask them to do for me, either. Of course, we’re all exceedingly interested in our own work, but supporting each-other is also important.

  3. Malcolm R. Campbell Says:

    You have always been on the very short list of online author friends who have gone past the call of duty supporting my books. For anyone to ask you to do more is absurd, especially when so many authors see it as a one-sided deal where you do promotion but they have nothing on their blogs, websites or Facebook platforms that’s supporting your books.

    What I don’t quite get (also) is that after it’s pointed out that Amazon forbids review swaps, that GoodReads users will trash the books of anyone they catch doing that, and that the practice is generally considered unethical, some authors still want to risk their careers and reputations swapping reviews anyway. There are many other ways authors can support each other that don’t include this practice. But if that’s what they’re going to do, why–I wonder–do they need a co-ordinator? They can e-mail each other and set it up as needed.

    I’m glad you didn’t sign on to do more.


  4. Phyllis Ring Says:

    Grateful for both the timing and the candor of these thoughts. Very.

  5. lvgaudet Says:

    It sounds like you are letting yourself get pulled into doing too much. You need to take a step back and a well deserved break. Being busy can be a good diversion from the more personal problems, but it can also all add up to burn you out.

    Take care Pat. I think most times when people ask for more they have no idea how much you are doing already.

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