A Reputation: Hard To Get And Easy To Lose


  • the beliefs or opinions that are generally held about someone or something

 A reputation can make you or break you. Cultivating one is hard work, destroying one is easy. Just take a look at the definition above. Think back to any moment in your life; the first day at a new school, the first day at a new job, any date you have ever been on. How important was that first impression? I know we always hear that the first impression is the one that counts, but have you ever really thought about why it is so?

The first meeting, however fleeting it may be, sets the foundations for the reputation you will build.

I mean sure, the first meeting is important, but even if it goes disastrously wrong, it doesn´t spell the end. It just means that it is going to be that much harder for you to get the reputation you desire.

One good deed deserves another, and when on the hunt to build your reputation, one good deed demands another. Take being a (full-time)writer for example. To be a writer there are two things you need to do:

1) Write (good) books; and

2) Sell said books.

Ok, there are a number of other important areas, but if you skip either of the two steps above, I can as good as guarantee that you will not achieve your ultimate goal.

One important thing to remember in your quest to build a reputation, or Author Platform (if you are into buzzwords) is to do so slowly. You don’t just jump into a situation head first. You test the water, take it one step at a time.

I call it the ‘Don’t order spaghetti on the first date’ rule. It’s just messy and asking for trouble.

Laying the ground work is just as important, if not more so than that actual size of your reputation. Start with small steps; a blog, or some other outlet for your thoughts. Then slowly you can add social media to the list. By adding one layer at a time you are giving yourself the chance to acclimatize to your surroundings. You can show those that follow you that you are here for the long run.

A sure-fire way to ruin a reputation, regardless of how well established you have become is to over sell yourself. Nobody wants to have a product jammed down their throat at every given opportunity. Why do you think people hate adverts so much.

Take time to actually interact with those that follow / befriend or otherwise add themselves to your circle. Get to know them as people, and show that you too are a human. A real person with likes and dislikes, hobbies and *gulp* a day job. By introducing yourself to people in a controlled and dare I say civilized way, you are building a solid foundation. In years to come people will be able to say. I know them, instead of I’ve heard of them, I bought one of their books once.

Another great way to help build your reputation is not to just befriend fellow writers, or fans of your chosen genre. Sure, the end goal is to build your platform and increase your name as an author, but it is just as important to interact with people who are separate to your writing People who share hobbies or support the same sports team. It shows that you are a multi-dimensional being, and will ultimately win you far more fans.

As much as it is hard to build a solid reputation, to be known as more than just a faceless writer who hangs around the social sites but never gives any signs of acknowledgement to their fans. Destroying all of your hard work can be achieved in the blink of an eye. If you say the wrong thing at the wrong moment, whether it is a poorly timed joke, or as someone – not me – did, a snide comment at a former employer, the solid pillar of your name will wither like a house of cards and leave you in tatters.

That is not to say that a reputation cannot be restored to its former glory, or even surpass its previous incarnation. I mean just look at all the celebrity scandals in the press each week, or disgraced politicians or cheating sportsmen who somehow climb back up to the top. It can be done, but the road back to success is a much thornier one that you will remember.


One thought on “A Reputation: Hard To Get And Easy To Lose

  1. Great points, Alex. I would just add that it’s of utmost importance to always act professionally on any public forum. That doesn’t mean you can’t be fun, goofy, and let your personality shine through, but at the end of the day, we are writers, and despite differences in opinion, we should never be rude publicly. If we have issues with a specific person, it should be dealt with privately via email, dm, etc.

    I’ve seen some terrible ‘cat fights’ on Twitter, and mean-spirited comments on Facebook walls. It’s just not appropriate and certainly does not make for a ‘good’ reputation.


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