Sunday, March 21, 2021

The Dangers of Being Pushy

By Terry Whalin @terrywhalin

From working with many different authors over the years, I know some authors can be pushy. They may or may not be aware of the way they come across (to give them the benefit of my doubts). Yet they still come across as pushy and demanding. In this article, I want to caution you about such an attitude and hopefully you will take a few minutes to look inside and see if this is how you come across—and make steps to change.
There are several aspects of the publishing world that may seem common sense at first—but I need to make explicit in this article. While you may think there are many people in this community, in some ways it is a small community—and we talk with each other (at events, through email and on the phone). Also within a publishing company like Morgan James Publishing, we are speaking with each other about our authors. Most of the time those exchanges are positive but not always.
As you work with your editor or assigned person within the publishing house, I encourage you to be aware that you are making an impression—positive and negative. When I worked inside another publisher, I always remember the complaints the “editorial assistant” who answered the phone took from prospective authors. This editorial assistant worked in the next cubical and sometimes I could overhear her side of the conversation. These pushy authors were making an impression—and not a good one.
If you are an author with multiple book projects that you want to publish, that is normally a good thing. Publishers and literary agents are looking for authors with multiple projects. Here's the exception to this general rule: pushy authors, difficult authors, demanding authors—do not get another opportunity. Hopefully you see the danger. In the heat of the moment, you were pushing on some aspect (timing of your book, the cover design, the title, or whatever) and this conversation made an impression—and not the one you wanted.
Now fast-forward in time to when you pitch your next book to this agent or publishing house, you get an unexpected “no thank you.” The response is surprising because you wanted to continue the relationship—yet it has suddenly gone into a pause. You've forgotten the easiest answer for any editor or agent is no thank you. Yes takes time and is built (at least partially) on your relationship with this person. If you are pushy, that action plays into future books. 
Here's some basics in this area:
1. Never burn a bridge to a relationship. None of us can see our future and that person may be important to you or your work at a later time. Always keep extending not limiting your relationships.
2. Every interaction is important so have respect. Whether a person is brand new or been in the industry for decades. Your interaction is important so treat others with respect.
3. Kindness and respect is always valued and remembered. Your actions may not have an immediate return but will pay off in the long-run. Always express appreciation and gratitude—verbally, through notes and many other ways.
I've rarely seen this aspect of publishing discussed but it is important. Maybe I'm missing a basic concept or something you have learned. I look forward to your comments and feedback.

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