Thursday, April 17, 2014

Professional Etiquette

I know this is ST's area of expertise--seriously, if you ever need the PERFECT appropriate outfit for any occasion, she's the Indie girl for you to ask--but I thought I'd take a minute to talk about etiquette. We all know the basics. Don't feed the trolls. Don't respond to negative reviews. Don't over publicize. But let's talk a little in depth.

We're writers. For the vast majority, that means we're also readers. But these aren't just authors any more, they are our colleagues. So you read a book and you don't like it. Do NOT leave a lengthy review detailing why you don't like it. Just check it off your list and move on. I don't even give stars if I can't give 3 or more. Because frankly, I don't want drama that comes with hurt feelings or fans who LOVE the authors I don't. Every book isn't for everybody--that's true when you get reviews as much as it is when you give. But let's all play nice in the sand box, ok?

Social Media Presence:
SOOOOO. We all have one. And that's great. It can be a lot of fun to connect with other authors and fans. And I get it--its your social media. You should be able to post whatever. But you can't. Can we just agree on that? I mean--you can but let's agree that it's a bad idea. Here's a few things I'd suggest you be aware of and avoid.
Politics: Unless you are writing a book about politicians, probably stay away from them. It's a hot topic and quickly devolves into fighting. And it's just not worth it.
Public rants: We all have bad days. We all have days where we want to curse and scream and flail like a five year old. But you are in a professional space here--and I promise that if you throw a public tantrum, people will remember. Your colleagues and peers, and readers. Don't be that girl.
Criticism: We are mostly Indies (And if we're not, we should maybe rename the blog...). We fight an uphill battle. For review and recognition, to be taken seriously, to sell. What we don't need to also fight is each other. So you didn't do a cover reveal. Or pre-release buzz. I might have opinions about that, I'll keep them to myself or have a private conversation. But publicly criticizing the way other people do or don't do things is tacky. And its hurtful, even when you don't intend that. We don't need to do that to each other.

No one wants to work with these people. The ones who think they're flawless and their words are amazing and that they can do no wrong. The ones who expect everything while giving nothing. They aren't fun--and they get a reputation for it. It's good to have confidence in yourself and your work. But do it with a dose of humility and the knowledge that you will never have it all down. There is always something more to learn. :)

Basically, friends, it comes down to this. You are a professional. For readers, agents, and other authors to treat you as such, you need to act like it. All. The. Time. So before you drop a status filled with random cursing or post a review about how unstructurally sound a book is--before you post about everything a publisher did or didn't do wrong--stop and think about it.

Keep it classy, y'all.


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