Holding up your author commitments is important because the repercussions of not holding them up will damage your reputation…to other authors, to publishers, to other book world professionals, and to your fans. Remember, you author brand is your business, and you have to make sure you don’t damage your reputation because you did something like flake out on a commitment.
Before You Make A Commitment
Make sure it’s something you CAN do and WANT to do. Don’t sign anything or agree to anything that you know might not work out. Check to make sure you have the date of the event available. Be sure the cause is something you believe in or are okay with. Make sure it’s something you are comfortable doing. You need to ensure you are physically capable of doing a project before signing on and that it’s not something that clashes with your brand.
When Emergencies Come Up
The only time it is acceptable to back out of a commitment is when an emergency comes up. When this happens you need to let the person in charge know immediately. Be brief, but specific about what is happening (simply saying “something came up” is not a valid reason for you not holding up your commitment) You need to apologize for not being able to do what you said you would do, and because you’ve likely left them in a bad spot and they will have to scramble to fill your place. If at all possible, finding a substitute will help smooth things over. I know for a fact that when people have to drop out of my show at the last minute, I’ve had to scramble to find a replacement for the live broadcast, and at times I’ve had to cancel the show. For something like RT TV, I can fill in as the replacement, thankfully, and teach about a topic for the episode. unfortunately for Young Adult Edition, I can’t bring on an author at the last second because they haven’t had time to let their fans know and that’s not fair to them so I’ve been forced to cancel for the week, leaving our loyal fans very sad.
If You Don’t Hold Up Your Commitment
If you flake on a commitment without an emergency being involved, you crush all trust you had with the person you were working with. You will not be asked back, you will not be recommended, and you probably won’t be respected by their friends/fans too…especially when an event was advertised and the public knows you didn’t show up. Most events will have your name attached to it for advertising purposes, which means more than just the person in charge will know you weren’t there. This causes fans and book world professionals alike to take notice. Most companies have policies in place that will prohibit you from returning to future work with them if you bail on a project without an emergency keeping you away.
When You Hold Up Your End of The Deal
When you stay true to your commitments, show up and do what you promised to do, this raises your value in the book community. You become more trusted, you are given more responsibility and you’re given more time to market your book and brand without having to do it on your own. Even more than that, you’ll be asked back again and again. There are several professionals I know I can trust when it comes to my shows and I invite them back over and over and never have to worry about them. They get lots of screen time, which translates into more authors/fans that trust them and start to follow their brands and buy their books/commission them for their professional work. When people trust you like that, they recommend you and help get your name out to more people. I can’t even tell you the number of connections I’ve helped people make because I recommend my authors/professionals to my new friends, they bring their friends to me, and it’s all because we’ve developed a trust because we hold up our commitments to each other.
Keeping your commitments is imperative to protecting your reputation. Before you sign anything or commit to anything, make sure it’s something you will actually go through with. Don’t ever agree if you aren’t comfortable or aren’t happy with it. If it involves a contract, make sure a lawyer looks it over (specifically a publishing lawyer if it’s about a book.) It’s okay to say no to something if it isn’t in alignment with your brand’s mission and direction. No one will think less of you for saying no but they WILL think less of you for saying yes and then backing out.
Let’s make this coming year great and only commit to the things we know we can do to the best of our abilities.