Though writing is considered a solitary pursuit, an author must eventually communicate with others. Whether it is through email, social media, on the telephone or in person, an author will have contact with agents, editors and readers. Therefore, she must remember that writing is a business and she needs to conduct herself in a professional manner.
Whether she is going the traditional or self-publishing route, it is the plot and the author’s ability to pull it together that grabs people’s attention. However, editors and agents also consider the author’s attitude when deciding if they want to deal with her, and readers can get turned off by someone who is too full of herself.
Is this author a diva? Does she expect her agent and editor to drop everything to cater to her? Is she demanding that they hand over, not only Earth’s moon, but Jupiter’s, as well? If so, they may consider passing on the author’s work, especially a new author who does not have over a million in sales or a following.
When it comes to the public, every person an author meets is a potential buyer. Yes, a writer can have a bad day in which she does not want to deal with the ‘little people.’ However, before she dismisses someone, she should consider whether it would be worth losing a future sale. She should also remember that she never knows how a person could help her in the future.
When communicating with others, an author needs to remember the manners she was taught before she started school. This includes, saying ‘please’ and ‘thank you’. She should listen when others speak and not interrupt conversations so all the attention can be focused on her.
An author should be reasonable when it comes to communicating with her agent or editor. She should not expect someone to walk out of meetings or hang-up from other calls to speak with her. She should allow her editor or agent twenty-four hours to return communications.
Also, an author should strive to meet deadlines. She needs to remember that she is not the only author an agent or publisher has. They have hundreds of other people they work with, and missing deadlines can throw off schedules that effect those working at the company and other authors as well.
Finally, an author should treat her fans as she would want to be treated. Listen to what others have to say as that ‘little person’ may have wisdom that could help her in the future. Also, if someone asks for advice, she should not act like she is doing the person a favor when answering, as a condescending attitude can be as much of a turnoff as snubbing someone.
An author needs to remember that publishing in a business. Agents and editors do take an author’s attitude into consideration when deciding whether or not they want to work with her. Likewise, readers can get turned off by a diva and decide to spend their money on someone else. Therefore, acting in a professional manner at all times can help advance an author’s career.♥
Ursula Renée is the President of RWA/NYC. She recently sold SWEET JAZZ, a historical romance, to The Wild Rose Press. When she is not writing, she enjoys photography, drawing and stone carving. Visit her at www.ursularenee.com.