Blogger: Rachelle Gardner
I suppose there are several good ways to make sure you don’t get an agent or get published. You could, for instance, never try. Or you could lack writing skill. You could pitch books that nobody finds interesting.
But let’s say you are trying to get an agent, and you do want to get published, and you are a good writer with good ideas. What trait can stop you from reaching your goals?
In a word: Negativity. (Tweet this.)
If you’re negative about the publishing industry; if you complain about agents and publishers and the unfairness of it all; if you’re resentful about bad books being published; if you speak disparagingly of specific publishers or editors or agents… you can be pretty sure most publishing professionals will not want to work with you.
I’ve had the experience of sitting face-to-face with writers who have a ton of potential and may have even published before. Then they start griping about the publishers they were with; and how the publisher never promoted or marketed their books; and how the sales department dropped the ball and that’s why the book didn’t sell; and how their editor “done them wrong.” Soon I am mentally walking away.
It surprises me when a writer (who is not a client or friend) disparages an editor who may be my friend or respected colleague. (Tweet this.) Or when they denigrate an entire publishing company with whom I do business, or vilify a fellow agent who might not have served them well but also doesn’t deserved to be gossiped about.
Don’t get me wrong, there’s a place for honest conversation between an agent and a potential client. It’s possible and even desirable for a writer to express their opinion about their past experience and their concerns for the future. But any savvy agent can tell the difference between someone who’s justifiably concerned, and someone who’s going to be a nightmare to work with, never happy, and always blaming everyone else when things don’t go their way.
Resentment, negativity, and blame can make you incapable of learning from a situation. (Tweet this.) If you’re busy blaming the publisher for your previous book not selling, you’re probably not asking yourself what you can do better to help the sales of your next book. If you’re convinced that all agents are evil because they send form rejection letters, then you’re not going to be focused on writing a better book.
And of course, all that negativity begs the question: why are you trying so hard to be part of an industry that you clearly disdain? (Tweet this.)
The lesson here applies to all of us. Maybe you’re not extreme as I’ve indicated here, but we all have moments of real frustration. We must not let it go unexamined. We don’t want to allow ourselves to get resentful or bitter.
There are enough difficult things to deal with in this crazy publishing industry. Bad attitudes shouldn’t be one of them.
Have you struggled with your attitude? How do you deal with very real frustrations and keep them from developing into bitterness? (Tweet this.)
Image copyright: geotrac / 123RF Stock Photo