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Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Don't Burn Bridges

The publishing world can appear gigantic but don't make the mistake of assuming it is so big that the things you do or say will not be noticed. This goes for good and bad things. The path to publication is a long one and it is paved with frustration and heartache. With footing like that it is easy to become disheartened and say or do things you might regret later. When this happens always think before you speak and think twice~or more~before you tweet, blog, or write on one of your network pages. Trust me, do it, you'll thank me for it later.

People in the publishing world all know each other, and even if they don't it's safer to assume they do. Agent and editors go to a lot of the same conferences, workshops, and book fairs. Just like writers, they hang out with their own kind, and they talk. If you send an agent a rude, abrupt or threatening email after a rough rejection you can bet he/she will talk to their colleagues about it. They're not evil, they're just human. They don't want their friends and colleagues to have to endure the same lashing they did.

Don't worry, this doesn't mean you can't vent, you just need to be cautious about where and how you do it. The safest way is to call your friends, or to send them an email. Don't DM, IM, or PM on a social media site though. Those sites often have glitches and sometimes private messages are seen by the public. Your best bet though is, if you don't want someone to see or hear it, don't say it.

31 comments:

  1. This is such an important topic -- but that photo you used made me laugh out loud. It's so dramatic! I love it. Very apocalyptic. But also appropriate...because burnt professional/relational bridges can feel like that.

    Thanks for the smiles and the wisdom. :)

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  2. Oh, and I already tweeted you about this, but how much can you say in 140 characters? Anyway, I'd be interested to know what your day-to-day writing routine/schedule looks like. As in, how do you get from pajamas to productivity?

    Thanks!

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  3. That's awesome that the picture made you laugh out loud Beth! You're right, it really is an important topic.

    The key to productivity is not taking off the pj's! LOL! Just kidding. I take a notebook with me everywhere and hand write everything first. Then when I'm home and have time I enter that into my computer. Once the first draft is done I have a four stage editing step that I follow. It keeps me on track!

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  4. Great reminder Heather. I'm paranoid, so I try to make sure I only say nice things or nothing. I don't like being publically (well, privately, either) eviscerated and I figure nobody else does either. Anyhow, great post!

    Quick question - where did you find your WIP metre - or did you come up with it yourself? It's sooo much nicer than any of the ones I've found online!

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  5. Excellent insight, as always, Heather. Building bridges takes thought and effort. That's worth appreciating, and part of that is letting go of gripes.

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  6. SO true DL, no one likes being eviscerated in public.

    I totally flattered, I created my WIP meter!

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  7. Thank you Linda. You're right, it does take a lot of effort and it's something that we should put a lot of thought into.

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  8. Great advice. I use my husband as a venting board, but to everyone else, I keep my mouth shut. Just good policy.

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  9. This is true in all aspects of work-related life now that we have social networking sites...I even heard a story about a lady who thoroughly insulted her boss on Facebook, forgetting that she had added him as a friend...

    Good advice.

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  10. SOOOOOOOOOOOOOO true. It really is a small world and it's better to be safe then, yaaaknoww--sorry.

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  11. Me too Elle! It's the safest way to get all your frustrations out!

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  12. Great point Kari! It really does apply to pretty much every part of life. I've heard that story! In fact, I've had someone at my workplace do it!

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  13. Totally true, and thanks for the reminder. I've seen emails before that I wasn't supposed to see, and I fear that happening to me too!

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  14. This is so important to remember! I follow someone on Twitter who shares way too much info, in my opinion. Not sure how agents will take that.

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  15. I know what you mean Julie! It's amazing how much we may change our response to emails, rejections, tweets, if we just take a moment to process and breathe.

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  16. I hope it's not me Melissa! LOL! Just kidding, I know it's not me. If anything I don't share enough sometimes. I think it really depends on the agent in regards to how they'll take it. It could turn some off and yet others might think it's a good thing. We just have to make sure that no matter what we say, it is how we want to be seen.

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  17. Heather, Excellent advice! For everyone in this social media world. Anything on the internet is written in pen for life. And remember... don't blog drunk. Thank you for looking out for us. When Heather speaks, we listen. Thank you.

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  18. Ha, that picture is funny. I feel like that picture -- sooo burned out. LOL.

    But it does amaze me how some people post their frustrations on the web. I work in the software web development and pretty much ANYTHING posted on the web can be saved and/or viewed potentially by the public. And once it's out there in cyberspace -- it's just out there. Even if you delete it...

    So yeah. Vent on the phone or talk to your therapist. LOL

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  19. Well said! When I was working full time as an editor, word always got back about writers and sources. It's a small, small world!

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  20. Karlene, great advice about not blogging drunk. I'll add tweeting or updating any of your social network pages. I've had friends that did that and seriously regretted it!

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  21. I know exactly what you mean Karen. I've been feeling that way lately too! Thank you for the great reminder that hitting delete doesn't undo it!

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  22. It has a way of doing that doesn't it Portia? You realize just how small the world really is when someone says or does something bad.

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  23. What a terrific post, Heather. That is an awesome burning bridge photo. Dramatic, indeed.

    Overall, just keep it professional. All sides of this industry should behave professionally.

    He he, "talk to your therapist" "don't blog drunk". Thankfully I don't need/do any of these, but they're funny to imagine. :)

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  24. Thank you Lola! It is a pretty dramatic picture isn't it? I knew it was perfect when I saw it. You're right, professionalism is a two way street. It's one that I want to make sure I'm always on the right side of. ;-)

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  25. So very true!! I'd even go so far as to say don't do email. I know I've accidentally sent things to the wrong person with the same first name for example. Nothing incriminating though, don't worry!! :P I'm usually pretty nice. Or so they say..

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  26. That's a safe idea Lisa. I haven't accidentally sent the wrong email to anyone yet but I know it would be easy to do. What they say about you is all true! I can't imagine your ever saying anything incriminating! :-)

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  27. Great post, Heather. It's very easy in the Internet age to just put things out there, without much thought to consequences!

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  28. Thanks Talli. That's so true, that happens all too often!

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  29. My mother always says if you can't say something nice, say it behind close doors, which I try to avoid as well. Great post and I love that picture! :D

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  30. I like that Brenda! Great advice. Thank you!

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