(part 9–being a professional)
81. Remember that publishing is a profession, and as such, you should, at all times, act like a professional.
82. Say thank you. Show your appreciation. I’m very Southern that way (my mother raised me right), and I’ve been amazed at how appreciative people are when I thank them for all they do for me. It’s sad that we’ve reached a point where “thank you” constitutes going above and beyond, but we have, so be one of those people. Please.
83. Meet deadlines. My editors are probably having a good laugh over this one and pointing at me and saying “have you forgotten 2006-2007 and the debacle that was CROSS MY HEART AND HOPE TO SPY?” Because I don’t always make my deadlines. At all. But I always try with all my might.
84. If the writing is going badly, be honest—at least with yourself. And with your agent. Let people on your team know that you’ve hit a snag and you’ll need either help or more time (if that’s the case.)
85. If you’re unhappy with something (a cover, an edit letter, etc.) talk to your agent before you discuss it with your editor. ALWAYS. Your agent’s job is to be “bad cop”. Let her be the one who has the awkward call with your editor.
86. Stay informed with what is happening in the industry. Don’t write a book that follows a particular trend just because that’s hot, but if you’ve written a book that is in a cold genre then you need to know that and understand that the chances of your book finding a home are not as good.
87. If you blog (or maintain an Internet presence) then be discreet and professional. Don’t list details of your deals. Don’t bad mouth people in the industry. Just…when in doubt…don’t.
88. When attending industry events dress and act like someone a business can feel comfortable entrusting with a large sum of money.
89. Keep people in the loop. I try to always CC my agent on emails with my editor. Is this mandatory? No. But it does keep her from feeling like an idiot when my editor mentions something that she doesn’t know anything about. Just a quick heads-up email can save a lot of time and frustration in the long run.
90. Be respectful of people’s time. Don’t send a dozen emails a day. If you have a dozen questions, fine. Write them up in one email and send that instead. Understand that these are VERY busy people and their time is their most precious resource. Don’t waste it.