Gotta Please the People #IWSG

I think many writers are people-pleasers. We want other people to enjoy our work. You get that review where the person states your story is their favorite, and you just swell with pride.

That happened to me.

You may or may not know of a project I participated in a while back called The Seven. We released an anthology called The Ancient. My story, Smokeless Flame, was first and one of the reviews said it was their favorite. Reading that made me giddy.

But they didn’t call my story by name.

Then The Seven shifted around. Some roles changed. They corrected minor errors and typography issues and released a second edition. I cracked open the new version on Amazon and my heart skipped.

The order had changed.

It no longer appeared like the review was about my story.

I fretted silently for a while. It was just one review. It shouldn’t matter. Still, it niggled in the back of my mind. What if people didn’t know this person liked my story? There was that people-pleaser aspect of my personality coming out. And yet, I didn’t want to cause problems. I hate conflicts in real life. I’d much prefer to read about them. But I took a deep breath and emailed about my concern, terrified that I might be labeled a difficult child. (Gotta love insecurity, eh?)

Thankfully, the person in charge is very understanding. She hadn’t realized the review didn’t call my story by name. She even bolstered my spirits by saying they wanted a strong end to the anthology, which is why mine was moved. We discussed via email and since we didn’t know the person who left the review, she left a comment specifying the order change and my story.

I don’t know how many of you are like me—people who don’t like making a fuss, don’t like causing problems, don’t like inconveniencing other people. But getting my concerns out in the open helped calm my insecurity.

Have you ever been in a similar situation? Did you speak up, or did you keep quiet? Did it work out well in the end?

If you haven’t picked up a copy of The Ancient, it will be on week-long sale for 99 cents starting tomorrow (3/3 – 3/10). I’d love for you check out my short story contribution, Smokeless Flame, and let me (and others) know what you think.

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You can find the sign up for the IWSG here. We owe Alex J Cavanaugh a huge thank you for thinking this blog hop up.

Loni Townsend

About Loni Townsend

Wife. Mother. Writer. Ninja. Squirrel.

50 thoughts on “Gotta Please the People #IWSG

  1. Were we cloned? I am so much like that, though you get higher marks for addressing the issue. I’d have worried, whined, and never said a word. Add wimp to my resume.

    Congrats on the story, btw!!

  2. I probably wouldn’t have said anything, either. I absolutely hate any kind of confrontation. Good for you for addressing the issue!

  3. Firstly, Congrats! Secondly, I think speaking out is necessary at times. It doesn’t need to be confrontational (unless the other person makes it so). I think you did the right thing and you obviously approached it in the right way – RESULT!!! Well done!!

  4. I would’ve felt the same way! I’m glad you said something and that it all worked out. It’s not easy to do, but it’s important we stand up for ourselves and as long as we approach the issue and the people involved with respect, we can be proud.

  5. I don’t like making a fuss either, but it’s a good thing you did. I’m better now that I’m older at saying something if I’m stressing out about it, and I hope that when I’m white haired and wrinkly, I can say whatever is on my mind without a worry! ๐Ÿ™‚

  6. That was nice of them to note the order had changed. She did say yours was at the end because it’s the strongest, so you should feel proud of that.

  7. I personally wouldn’t have said anything. That would have been admitting that I wrote something, and I kind of fail at that a lot. ๐Ÿ˜‰

    But it’s great that a) the reviewer loved your story and b) you did say something and c) the comment was added to clarify the order change.

    Oh, and Dโ€”that your story was moved to the end because it was the strongest. That’s awesome.

  8. It would have bothered me, too. I’m glad you brought it up and had a satisfactory result. Better than satisfactory, really. They changed the order because of your story’s strength. That’s awesome!
    I have The Ancient on my Kindle. I enjoyed your story. I have a list of books that I need to write reviews for. One of these days I’ll get to them.

  9. It would have been hard for me not to say anything, but in the end I probably wouldn’t have said anything since I tend to be a “don’t rock the boat” kind of person. I can definitely see why it bothered you, though. We writers need every bit of encouragement we can get.

  10. It’s great that she left a comment on the review so everyone would know it was your story the reviewer was talking about. And how great that they thought your story was the best one to end the anthology. That’s a huge compliment. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  11. I would have felt the exact same way (giddy with the review and heartbroken with the story placement shift). But, unlike you, I wouldn’t have said anything. Not because that’s what I feel you should’ve done, but because I’m like WAY anti-confrontational.

    I’m glad you said something. Obviously the concern wasn’t outrageous.
    And yay! I’ll need to pick up my copy of the Ancient!!

  12. A few years ago I wouldn’t have said anything. Now is a different story. I guess I’ve become bolder with age, or have realized I don’t have time to be namby pamby about my work and how I feel. Good for you for following through and sticking up for yourself. Just because one chooses to stick up for oneself doesn’t mean it has to be done in a “mean” or righteous way. Obviously you did it in a way that was heard, and produced results. Good job!!

  13. Yay for being a favorite!!! I get twisted about things like that too. It is always best to voice your issues I think, but respectfully. I’m glad you spoke up and found resolution. That would have bothered you forever if you hadn’t, right?

  14. I think that’s awesome that you spoke up! I don’t know if I could have done that, but I for sure would have worried and complained (to my husbandโ€”poor guy hears everything :)) about it. Kudos to you for speaking up and getting it off your chest! It takes courage to do that, I think.

    And how awesome that yours is a favorite! Yay!! ๐Ÿ™‚

  15. It’s tough. No one want to be labeled the trouble maker. But hooray you said something and things worked out. AND congrats on the review!

  16. This information is worthy of passing on. Reviewers aren’t always writers and even if they are they might not expect the order of an anthology to change. So my new rule (thanks to this post) is name the stories I’m reviewing.

    Good for you for standing up and setting things right and your story sounds like one the publisher wanted to help boost the sales. Very positive.

  17. Awesome she made a note that your story was now at the end. I tend not to make a fuss and probably wouldn’t have said anything.

  18. I’m generally a pretty laid-back person – it takes a lot to ruffle my feathers. That’s a good thing, because I also tend to be really passive aggressive. If I get pissed off at something, I can be snarky and mean without actually doing anything positive about it. It’s a weakness in myself I’m fully aware of and try to work on it, and usually I’m pretty good at letting things go after I stew for a little bit.

    So good on your for being assertive and turning an icky situation into a positive!

    IWSG March

  19. I likely wouldn’t have said anything, but then I hate being a bother to people, my anxiety kicks in big time just emailing anyone. Doing what you did would’ve made me physically ill.

    But hey, congrats on being the strong end everyone will remember!

  20. Yeah, it’s funny the things that will bug us. But I think she need to evaluate those and not just blow them off. I’m glad you spoke up.

  21. Love the cover of The Ancient. I went ahead and grabbed my copy. When it comes to story I am sure I am, but its natural to want people to like your writing. We depend on it, so I get the concern. I think you did right in saying something.
    Juneta @ Writer’s Gambit

  22. Oh, yeah. I hate making a fuss too. I wouldn’t have sent that email. But you were right to do so, I and I’m learning from you.

  23. Good for you for speaking up. I’m too much of a coward and probably wouldn’t have said anything.

  24. Proud of you for saying something. What a good lesson for all of us when reviewing an anthology. Be specific about the author and the name of the story. I’m a people-pleaser too. But if a problem occurred about my kids or grandkids, I would speak up. Otherwise if it only affects me, I doubt it.Enjoyed your post.

  25. I wouldn’t have said anything. But it would have bothered me. It’s so nice when people pick your writing out as their favorite. I’m more of an internal validation kind of person but that doesn’t mean I don’t appreciate a compliment. Good on you. Both for the review and for speaking up. I can be wimpy. Is it writers in general or introverts? (Wait…aren’t you an “E” on the test?)

  26. I’m very much the same way. I’ll avoid conflict even when it’s not always in my best interest. Sometimes, though, it just doesn’t work and you gotta say something. I’m glad you spoke up. ๐Ÿ™‚

  27. Depends on what it is, if it is something big I’ll make waves, confrontation be damned haha

  28. You just have to pick your battles Loni and it seems you made the right choice.

  29. So happy you addressed your concern! You deserve the review ๐Ÿ™‚

  30. Ugh.
    This sounds so familiar.
    I hate making waves!

    You did the right thing! I’m looking forward to reading your story!

    Best of luck!

  31. Oooh, I’ll pick that up this week!! I’ve learned some valuable lessons over the past year regarding that very thing–trying to make everyone happy. If it compromises your priorities, pleasing be damned, speak your mind and don’t ever regret it!

  32. It’s never happened to me, but I’d like to think I’d speak up. It gives the other person a chance to help. I find most people are there for you if you let them know you need them. ๐Ÿ™‚

    Anna from elements of emaginette

  33. I’m non-confrontational…actually I’m the peacemaker, always willing to see all sides of the issue and get people to reconciliate.
    But I’m learning to speak up if needs be. Took a long while for me to get to this point, though.
    Congrats on the review! ๐Ÿ™‚

  34. I think I’ve spent too much time in customer service that even if I’m upset about something, I’ll approach with a level head and try to work with whoever gets stuck with me. They’re human too and not their fault.

    I’m so happy that things turned out well. I’m always afraid that even with my approach I’m bothering someone and will be seen as a royal pain.

  35. How nice that the editor respected your worries and took you seriously. I’d have been to shy to say anything, so Go You for standing up for yourself! ๐Ÿ™‚

    (Thanks for dropping by my blog! I added fontsquirrel to my list as per your great suggestion!)

  36. It’s really hard to make waves and ask for a change, to speak up. But, sometimes we need to. We have to be our own advocates. You did great. I’m learning to be braver, just like you.
    Mary at Play off the Page

    IWSG co-host. Thanks for stopping by my blog.

  37. I suffer with the people pleaser gene too. Sometimes it comes in handy but mostly it is an insecurity incubator.
    I remember reading about the Seven. I will read it tomorrow, looking forward to it! .

  38. I am very much like you,Lori, in how I feel. I’m not sure I would have been able to say anything about the order change. Or I would have done in it a not so good way because of all the emotional turmoil I would have been feeling. You deserve many kudos for how you handled it.

  39. I would have felt bad, but not had the guts to comment. Glad that you did as you were totally in your rights, especially if the review was so good.

  40. Like everyone else, I feel the same. It’s part of being a writer, being sensitive, I think. But I’m so glad you spoke up. I don’t know if I would have. You handled it professionally. I would have come across as a huge whiner. Kudos to you, Loni. It worked out.

  41. We’re the same. I don’t like kicking a fuss either but if it really, really, really bothers me, I just might speak up on it. It’s not writing related but after years wondering and being a little irked by it, I finally asked my husband why he didn’t just turn up the street and turn at the light instead of waiting for traffic to slow down so he turn left, down our street. He just gave me a look and said, “You know what? You’re right. Why didn’t I think of that?” He’d always gone down our street because it was the shorter path but it’d take longer with all the traffic coming down. There are times when speaking up results in good things (like you) and when they don’t. Hopefully, good things happen more often.

  42. I think it’s fine for you to speak up if this is bugging you. It depends on what your comfort level is.

  43. I would have fretted and fussed about it but wouldn’t have had the guts to speak up the way you did. Good for you!
    I totally missed this anthology but just checked it out and it looks awesome. I’m definitely going to take advantage of that sale.

  44. That’s brave of you! In a situation like that I would most likely keep quiet to avoid confrontation.

  45. You did the right thing, even if it was hard. There is always a way to approach these issues without sounding bratty, and I bet you did that. I just ordered the book and if I can figure out this new Kindle update, I should be able to read it.

  46. Glad all was resolved to your satisfaction. ๐Ÿ™‚ That’s always a pleasant turn in events. ๐Ÿ™‚

  47. I name authors or stories if I’m naming favorites of an anthology. A blogger who left positive reviews for my books apparently closed off her account, which saddened me, so all her reviews vanished, not just for my books. I can’t do anything about that. ๐Ÿ™

  48. I’ve been there. The one short story I got published, many years ago, there was a review for the magazine it was in that said some good things about my little tale. That review no longer seems to be online, so the one positive review I’ve ever received is now gone. >_<

  49. I can relate so much to this. My novella was recently released in a collection, and whenever a review named mine as the favourite, it was a huge thrill.

    I also hate the risk of being seen as “difficult.” When I got the proof of my first book cover, I hated it. My editor’s email said, “Tell me how much you love it.” It was extremely hard for me to tell him I wasn’t feeling the love. Not even a little.

    Other authors in the same publishing house told me to speak my mind, and I’m so glad I did! While my current cover isn’t perfect, it’s light years better than the first version. I’m glad you spoke up too.

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