By now you know that writing a good book isn’t the only thing you need to do to make it in the publishing industry. You need to build a platform, have a website, a blog, engage in social media. But here’s something maybe no one has told you: you have to play nice.
Remember when your mother taught you manners? She meant that to be a lesson you used into your adulthood.
I’m sure you also know that being polite doesn’t get you noticed in a hurry. Being controversial does. And it’s not hard to be controversial. You could join the ranks of those railing against the publishing industry, the gatekeepers, the well-paid authors of books you hate. But is that what you want to be known for?
Yesterday, author, blogger and twitter pal @LaurenBaratzL blogged about coming across a nasty post by a would-be author about one of her books. She took no issue with the writer’s objections to the book, but took offence at the personal attack, which solicited several similarly mean comments from people who felt that her bad writing (though they’d never read Baratz-Logsted’s books) was rampant. Baratz-Logsted took the opportunity to advise others that this was probably not the way to go to build a professional profile or endear people to you.
And if you want to be a professional in this industry, that is something you’re going to have to think about. Here are two personal examples.
1) My editor for ANGEL’S GRACE once said that some other writers didn’t take criticism or editorial comments as well, or as easily as I did. Though we haven’t found another project to work on together, she has expressed that she would be happy to work with me again.
2) When my agent told me about one acquiring editor who is reading my current manuscript, two editor friends offered to call up the acquiring editor and tell her what a great working relationship they had with me. (We decided it would be best to make those calls only if she decided to take on the project, but you get the point.)
This is the kind of impression you want to leave on people. That you’re a nice person. That you’re professional. Why give anyone the impression that you might be difficult to work with, or that you might turn on them if you don’t like something they’ve done? This industry is hard enough as it is. Don’t make life any harder for yourself.
And make your mama proud.