Sunday, July 30, 2023

Kindness Always Counts


By Terry Whalin @terrywhalin

The incident happened years ago when I worked at a different publishing house. I dont recall the author but the reaction of our editorial assistant is seared into my memory as well as the internal discussion.

“What a rude author,” she exclaimed. Our editorial team worked in an area with cubicals and the various editors could easily hear such an outburst. This author made a lasting impression on each of us and marked themselves as someone no one wanted to work with on any additional books. 

While infrequent, these types of conversations happen within the publishing house. In these articles, Im committed to write about my journey as an editor and writer. As writers and authors, we only see our side of the interaction yet with each exchange you are making an impression. Its the focus of this article that kindness always counts.

As an acquisitions editor, some authors submit a second book. To my surprise my colleagues will respond with details about this author like they were not happy with anything we did for them or no way we want to do another book with this author.

From working with different editors and publishers as a writer, I understand many details in the process are outside of our control as authors. Its why I wrote 10 Publishing Myths to give authors realistic expectations and action steps every author can take to suceed with their book. Follow this link for a special offer to get it. 

Heres some insights for authors as you interact with editors and agents:

--Realize every conversation counts. If you are upset or angry or fiesty about something, walk around the block or some action to calm down before you unload on the unsuspecting editor or agent. 

--Publishing Is A Small Circle. While to the outside, the publishing community appears large and diverse, it is actually small and inter-connected. As a member of this community, I understand how we speak with each other online, email and phone conversations. Ive watched one bestselling author couple bounce from publisher to publisher with fewer books selling each time. The difficulties were always someone else rather than the author. These authors have faded from the marketplace and if you asked them probably dont understand it. They would blame others when the challenges are their own actions. 

--Never burn a bridge or relationship. No matter what happens to you, take whatever necessary steps to preserve and continue the relationship. I have a long-time publishing friend who brought me into a publishing deal then months later called to cancel my publishing agreement. The experience hurt and cost me financially--yet my relationship continues with this friend. Since that experience, we've done other work in the publishing community. I encourage you to think about each relationship as you start them and as you continue them. 

--Dont be a knucklehead. While likely unknowingly, some authors have made a bad impression. Internally they may be called a “knucklehead” or something worse. With each conversation you are making an impression whether good or bad. 

It is not easy to write these details but my emphasis and reason for writing them is to affirm kindness always counts. We need each other and I encourage you to keep expanding your relationships within and outside of the publishing community.

As you read my article, what am I missing or what else comes to mind? Let me know in the comments below.

My Recent Articles In Other Places

In various articles, I have encouraged you to publish outside of your blog. Its a practice I do on a regular basis and heres three recent articles as examples:

One of the most important relational skills for every author: An Important Skill for Writers: The Gentle Follow-up.

If you want to be published, every author needs to learn: How To Write What The Editor Wants

On the surface it may seem like a simple distinction but writers need to learn this aspect: The Difference Between a Fiction or Nonfiction Proposal


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