Thursday, December 27, 2012

Be Memorable NOT Strange

Writers are interesting—no doubt about it. I've been around creative people for many years. I'm always fascinated with the often high energy and creative force behind the storytelling and excitement about their ideas and getting their work into the public. I find this true whether it is a print magazine article or an online newsletter or a book.

As a writer, you want to stand out and be memorable. You want to make an impression but you want that impression to be positive.

During this time between Christmas and New Year, the bulk of the publishing world is silent. I spoke with a writer yesterday who can't reach her New York editor. I'm not surprised since most people are on vacation or holidays.

There is a difference between standing out and being memorable or being strange. Let me give you a couple of recent strange writer examples.

I tend to carry my phone with me. If I leave my office, I forward my desk phone to my cell phone so I'm relatively easy to reach—unless I'm on the phone speaking with someone else. If I am in a meeting, I turn off my phone then return calls after the meeting or the next day. Even on Christmas Day, I carried my phone with me. Most of the day my phone was silent, then I got an unforgettable call that afternoon from an author.

The purpose of the call? This author was calling to tell me he had decided not publish with my publisher and that he had selected a different company. Really? And you are calling me on Christmas Day with this news? I said these words to the author. In fact I had called him a week earlier and left a message—and he “claimed” to be returning my call. But the timing from this author was completely strange and inappropriate. Ironically when I confronted him about it, he didn't seem to think so. I thanked him and cut short the call since I walked out of the room and took it during a family gathering.  You bet this author made an impression that I will remember for a long time.

In these entries, I've written about the importance of making a good impression. As I think about this author's inappropriate call, I'm grateful that he didn't come with our publishing company. I know this author would have interacted with many different people in the publishing house. In a small way, I was seeing how he would interact with others throughout his time with the publisher. If it made a negative impression with me, I expect such behavior will also happen with others.

As an author, you want to be memorable not strange. 

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