Our guest blogger today is Tiffany Colter, writing career coach. Welcome, Tiffany and thank you for sharing your knowledge with us.
If you write for any length of time and achieve any level of success in your writing, you'll soon discover that you need to work with a variety of people in publishing in order to become successful. These people will include:
This is not a complete list, but these are some of the first people you will start to get to know outside of your inner circle of writers and freelance editors. It is important when you start to transition from writer to professional writer that you observe a few things. While some of what I say below may seem humorous, it is very serious and it is meant to help you convey at professional image when you get to the place where your writing is ready for prime time.
1. It is a small industry, so watch your mouth!!! It is remarkable to me how many writers feel it is okay to simply spout off at the mouth about this editor of that agent. They seem to have the crazy notion that it is their right to blame their level of success [or lack of success] on a "mean" industry professional. Please, I'm not trying to be harsh, but I'm trying to help you, publishing in a small industry. People know each other. People talk. If you get the reputation of being rude it will be hard to shake. I don't always agree with everything a person thinks about my writing, but I have the good sense to give them the benefit of the doubt and KEEP MY MOUTH SHUT. Remember, these are human beings. Treat them the way you'd want to be treated.
2. No one person will make or break your career--except you. Don't get nervous meeting editors and agents. They're truly eager to find great new talent. That is why they take the time and spend the money to attend writing conferences. They are there to meet you, get to know you and your writing. If they decline your work, ask them if they know another publishing house that may be interested in seeing it.
3. That leads to the third tip...do your homework. Don't take a medieval romance to a publisher who specializes in spec. fiction. Don't take a children's book to a romance line. That will immediately show you as unprofessional. Now, if you take that medieval romance to a ROMANCE line and they pass, ask them if they know anyone look for medieval romance. That shows you to be a professional. If they don't, thank them and keep going.
4. Have a one sheet, a variety of projects that you've completed or are working on, something that tells your publishing credits, and a bit about you. You can give these EASY TO READ sheets to the editor or agent during an appointment, but don't expect them to read an entire manuscript or to read everything you give them. They're great props, but be ready to share a bit about you, your writing, and your professional credentials.
5. Don't follow them to their room or into the bathroom. You laugh, but people do it.
6. Be gracious and thank them for any help they give. Don't be a suck up, but do be polite.
7. Keep thing is perspective. People can smell desperation on you. Make sure that you have confidence that that you recognize this is a PART of being a professional writer. It isn't the event that will determine the trajectory of your entire career.
This isn't an exhaustive list, but keep these things in mind. This is particularly true if you'll be attending a conference in the near future. You want to make a good impression and demonstrating these simple bits of professionalism and keep these few things in mind will give you an edge over the other people you may encounter.
Tiffany Colter, The Writing Career Coach
Don't miss a single posting! Subscribe here to receive these postings by e-mail. Tiffany Colter is a writer, speaker and writing career coach who works with beginner to published writers. She can be reached through her website here.