Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Etiquette Lessons

Being a new player at the publishing game means you have to learn more than just the sentence structure, plot holes, and technical aspect of writing a novel. It means you also have to learn the basic principles of etiquette in business.

Don't laugh, business etiquet is a vital part of any publishing deal you make. Say the wrong thing and you're looking like a dumb novice. Write something that you aren't entirely sure of the details and suddenly you're being questioned about your research techniques.

When it comes to publication there are moments when a little white lie is acceptable. I learned this myself not that long ago. I had a publisher that I'd been talking to about a contest send me an email wondering how things were going.

Being the dumb, inexperienced novice that I am I was bluntly honest with her and told her if the publisher that has it now refuses it, I'd send it to her. Of course I haven't heard back from her and don't expect her to actually be willing to publish anything of mine for a long, long time... a lesson painfully learned.

Today, I thought I'd share the experience with anyone out there so that you're not making the same mistakes as I did. You can be polite, tell a little fib, but don't make the publisher feel like they're second best!

Let me know what you think is the proper etiquette for dealing with anyone in the business world be it a publisher, editor, or agent. How do you deal with a situation where you're not comfortable being brutally honest? Let me know!


Debora said...

This may not have been all bad - many publishers don't want to look at simultaneous subs - so don't go crossing that pub off your list just yet. You never know in this business. Good luck :)

Patrica said...

Thanks Debora,

I appreciate your kind words and am keeping my fingers crossed that I haven't burnt that bridge. I really like that pub, she's got a great website and the feel to it is good so I'm hopeful.