I was talking to a friend who was asked to review a book by a writer and when she gave her honest review the writer had a go at her because it was a glowing one. If you go over to Cinta Garcia’s web page you will see all about this amazing writer who is not nasty of vicious at all. Cinta is one of the kindest people I know. I’ve also read the review and its a well written and direct review. Heres her website, which is new by the way http://www.facebook.com/l.php?u=http%3A%2F%2Fcintascorner.weebly.com%2F&h=3AQHmYSjH
This got me thinking about something that the Mighty Mur Lafferty says on her podcast I Should Be Writing, basically being professional is the best way to be. Please go and check out her website because she’ll express it better than I can http://www.murverse.com/ She is of the mindset though that trying to be a professional is the best route because its rare that being rude and unprofessional will just get people’s backs up and put them off you and your work. I think a good analogy is if you buy a car and its nothing but a pain in the backside you tell people about it and rarely buy another car of that make. Or a rude staff member at a coffee-house or something. These things annoy us and we are more than likely to talk about a bad experience then we are a good experience.
Mighty Mur puts forward a lot of good points. Like not trying to get into a discussion with someone who has left a bad review. I quite like the sound of this piece of advice. If the reader did not get what you were trying to say in the book its kind of like explaining why a joke is funny. If it’s a nasty review then surely it’s not even worth the time to post a reply. I know in the early stages of our careers we’ll reply to almost anything because we’re building our online presence but its easy to get sucked into a heated exchange and I think that I will probably steer clear of the people leaving nasty comments when I have my work out in the world for people to read and talk about.
Mighty Mur also talks about things like not asking for critiques from editors when they reject your work as they have slush piles to read etc. Seriously if novice writers have not at least checked out Mur’s I Should Be Writing podcast then I’m surprised as I have learnt a lot from it.
Lets not forget our writing too. When we submit we have to be sure that what we’ve written is not only good but our spelling, grammar and presentation is also correct. If it’s a paper submission then make sure that there are no coffee stains or handwritten notes on it. Follow the submission guidelines, I’d imagine doing research on where we’re submitting is a good idea. I have a list of websites, some of which were recommended to me and some were even searched out for me (thank you Cinta 🙂 ) This is knowing our audience. Finding the right places to submit and who the editors are has to help our chances of getting noticed, of course our work has to be good at the same time but from what I can make out slush piles are big so we do have to stand out and or find an editor that loves the genre or type of story that we write. I wouldn’t send my space opera stuff to an editor or agent who hates space opera, that’s just daft.
Being a writer is not just about what we write, it’s about who we are as well. How we come across to the people in the industry and most importantly to the people who read our work who one day may become fans of ours.