Watch Those Bridges Burn!

My agent blogged about this last night.

Though momentarily shocked that someone would commit such blatant career suicide, it reminded me how often I’ve seen a lack of professionalism in the writing industry.

Obviously this person is operating under the delusion that the big guns are going to buy their book regardless of the agent’s rejection and oh boy won’t the agent be sorry when they see the writer’s name on the bestseller list.

I have seen stuff like this so many times over the years. and I simply don’t understand it. I started out in the corporate business world where I learned how to accept criticism with dignity and professionalism. I had to sit in front of my boss and listen to complaints about my division not meeting their budget numbers, was told to cut stuff, to increase profits, given a long list of everything I was doing wrong. And I had to learn to sit there and take it and listen objectively. And hopefully, learn something in the process.

No, it’s not fun to be criticized. But it’s a part of life, especially for a writer.

Rejection hurts in any form. There’s no way around it. And writing is more personal than business. This is our heart and soul on the paper, our baby, the work we poured countless hours of work into. It’s personal.

But bottom line, to an agent, editor and publishing house, it’s still a business. When they reject your work they aren’t rejecting YOU, they’re rejecting that particular book at that particular time. They don’t hate you, they may not even hate your work. But for whatever reason it doesn’t work for them. Some are nice enough to tell you why. Some may just say ‘it doesn’t work’.

So what should a writer do?

Act like a professional. If you believe in your work strongly, then market it somewhere else. If you keep getting rejections and you’re fortunate enough to get some feedback, then LISTEN to the feedback and do something about changing whatever the problem is. But most importantly, thank whoever took time out of their very busy day to read your work and offer their opinion. Because an opinion from an agent/editor/publisher is a valuable tool in the writing process.

Trust me, an agent/editor/publisher will always remember someone who said what that particular person did. Rude, unprofessional comments stick in a person’s mind for a very long time.

Wouldnt’ you rather be remembered for your professional reply? So that the next time you submit to them, your work will be considered on its merits instead of the agent/editor/publisher rolling their eyes and thinking….Oh. I remember THIS person.

Not quite the way we writers want to be remembered. 😉