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Sunday, April 12, 2015

Writers: Never Violate Three Rules!

Pete Rose, one of the greatest baseball players of all time, has submitted an appeal of his 26-year-old lifetime ban from Major League Baseball.  He’s hoping the ban will be lifted, leaving him eligible for consideration as a candidate for the Baseball Hall of Fame.  He broke the cardinal rule of betting – on his team – while managing a team.  I wonder what sins or cardinal rules guide us in regards to writing books, promoting them, or marketing books. How about these three?

First Rule
Thou shall not make up a story (unless it’s fiction!).

Second Rule
Thou shall not plagiarize.

Third Rule
Thou shall make sure the book is edited and spell-checked properly.

After that, there are general rules to follow when it comes to selecting a title, designing a cover, figuring the length of the book, and pricing it.  There are certain times of the year some books should be released and there are certain guidelines as to which format best fits its content.  But none of this compares to the first three rules.

If you break the first one, you are discredited.  If you ignore rule two, you can be discredited, too.  Both could lead to lawsuits and public shaming, not to mention professional suicide.  The third one shouldn’t happen but can be forgiven.

Rose, who collected more base hits than any one of the 20,000 men to play baseball at its highest level since the 1869 founding of the league, won a number of World Series rings and was a perennial all-star who was popular over a career that spanned nearly 25 years.  But in 1989 he was dumped from baseball.  The baseball commissioner who imposed the ban died just days later, forever leaving Rose in limbo.

Many still believe he did something so wrong that he does not deserve to be in a special category of elite athletes.  Others separate what he did post-playing days and believe he’s suffered long enough.  In the world of book publishing, how forgiving or understanding can we be when it comes to writing lies, copying the words of others, or putting out a grammatically-challenged book?

Sometimes we forgive people, but in a different way than they’d expect.  For instance, some people who succeed at being screw-ups, like a drunken actor or an abusive singer, get second careers because of the fame attached to their poor behavior.  Look at reality shows like Celebrity Apprentice, where being a loser is a resume-qualifier for the show.   Writers may want to be famous, but no one really should strive for infamy.


2015 Book PR & Marketing Toolkit: All New

Brian Feinblum’s views, opinions, and ideas expressed in this blog are his alone and not that of his employer. You can follow him on Twitter @theprexpert and email him at He feels more important when discussed in the third-person. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog © 2015


  1. Well, maybe we as writers can forgive other writers for some things. But I think readers are unlikely to forget or forgive--though what they mostly won't forgive is a dull story. Of course, since I write fiction I make it all up, and hope it's not dull! I am not terribly forgiving of bad writing, poor editing, or a lack of proof-reading, though I might give an author a second chance if I had reason to think they'd improved. But I I think plagiarism is inexcusable, and I'm not too keen on those who pass fiction off as truth. I've never forgiven Annie Dillard for that.

  2. Bet on his own team that he managed. I would think that would be a bad thing if he bet 'against' as it might bring up issues of throwing the game.

    Writing, I make stuff up. One person says couldn't happen in real life. Another says sounds autobiographical. Make your own kind of music.

  3. Someone I know (who is not a friend) published a fiction book filled with facts that mostly happened to other people.
    Is that ok?

  4. P.S. I totally agree with the 1st Rule!
    Sherrie Miranda's historically based, coming of age, Adventure novel “Secrets & Lies in El Salvador” is about an American girl in war-torn El Salvador:
    Her husband made a video for her novel. He wrote the song too:

  5. Inspiring writings and I greatly admired what you have to say , I hope you continue to provide new ideas for us all and greetings success always for you..Keep update more information..
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