This used to be a post I never thought I’d have to write (like the 5 query faux pas post I wrote over on my own blog a while ago, too), but after working in publishing for nearly a decade now it seems it would be useful to write this post. So here is a pub tip to all the authors out there: be mindful of the publishing world, it’s awfully small.
Pub Tip: Publishing is Small, Be Kind
Publishing is an extraordinarily small world, to be honest. It is becoming (slowly) less and less centralized here in New York City, but largely it still is here and because of that agents and editors mingle often. Thanks to the increased use of social media over the years, even agents and editors outside of NYC have the ability to stay well connected with each other.
So what does this mean for you, the author?
Publishing is small and people talk. When an author behaves badly to a literary agent — for example, is extremely rude to them after rejection — there is a likelihood that they will warn their fellow agents. This is not to be vindictive or cruel, this is simply to protect their colleagues from the same sort of behavior. The same is very true with editors too, once you have a reputation as an author who is difficult to work with, unprofessional, and refuses to work within the boundaries of publishing as a business, you will have a very uphill battle.
So why do that to yourself? Just be professional and be kind.
Tomorrow’s publishing leaders are already working in publishing today. Be kind, be mindful, and remember that today’s marketing or editorial or literary agent assistant (or even freelance editor) will be tomorrow’s marketing director, publisher, executive editor, or literary agent.
It can be painful to have your art, your book, critiqued by readers and agents and editors but remember that is all part of the process. You need to be able to accept this and move toward the future instead of getting stuck in the past.
If you can’t, publishing is not the place for you.