What’s in a name? Your reputation.

It doesn’t matter what you do for a living. If you do sloppy work, no one will want to deal with you, especially if they don’t have to.

When it comes to writing, “crap” is subjective.  Can you believe some of the crap being published today? Who would pay good money to read such crap?

Have you ever read a book by an author and thought this? Which pained you more: the fact that you wasted your money or that you wasted your time reading their crap?

Would you spend your time or money reading anything else by that author again? Certainly not, unless you have to for your job or you’re a student. You do have a choice.

The public do not have to part with their hard-earned cash or spend their valuable time reading the sloppy work of others. There is a plethora of books on the market today with literally thousands more being added daily. To say that it is difficult to stand out as a writer worth reading is a gross understatement.

This isn’t about money but about taking pride in your work. “Crap” doesn’t always mean “cheap.” How many times have you bought something that was a generic or store brand only to find it is just as good if not better than the more expensive name brand? On the flip side, how many of us have paid top-dollar for some expensive bling only for it to fail when put to the test?

Speaking of brands, I recently read a book called Brand You by John Purkiss and David Royston-Lee. The book is mainly geared towards jobseekers, but I recommend it for authors because it will help you to start thinking of yourself as a brand, which is important if your goal is to establish yourself as a writer and take the craft of writing seriously. One of their favorite quotes (since they use it more than once in the book) comes from Amazon founder Jeff Bezos who says: “Your brand is what people say about you when you are not in the room.”

Think about it. If your “brand” develops into something that becomes synonymous with “crap,”…what does that say about you? Here’s a bit of word association:

[YOUR NAME HERE] = crap

Don’t let it happen to you. And don’t think that hiding behind a pen name will protect you because covers can be blown. Your name says something about you. It identifies you. It is important for you to be true to yourself and whatever it is that makes you unique. People will either like you and want to get to know you, or they won’t.

I attached this image to this post because one of my Facebook friends posted it on her wall. It made me smile and it also serves as a boost for whenever I’m feeling demoralized. There will always be someone ready to criticize you and tear you down to size. When it happens, it may be very hard not to take criticism personally—even if the person hurling it intends for it to be taken that way. If you have put forth your best effort and someone doesn’t like it, consider it a difference of opinion and taste. “If you don’t like me…”

Nevertheless, I would hope that when it comes to your writing—or any work you do—that you take pride in it and make it the best it can be.

©2012 Zetta Brown

[Originally published April 25, 2012  for my “Reality Check” feature blog at SheWrites.com]

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