I'm Not Nice, I Just Have Manners

Personal Note: I really hope I'm missing something in Kelly Clarkson's new song, "My Life Would Suck Without You", because if not, WHAT A HORRIBLE MESSAGE!!! Girls, your lives will totally NOT SUCK without a boy, I don't care how awesome he is.

Whew! Now that's out of my system, to the point of this blog post. The chances are good that if you're reading this you've never actually met me which might make it more difficult to believe that I am NOT a nice person. Trust me on this one, I'm not. I'm selfish and lazy, and a lot of other completely horrible things. Socially awkward, impatient, judgemental, insecure, and sarcastic (maybe that one's not sooo bad) to name a few.

But I do have a great deal of this little thing called 'respect for others' and it goes a long way to make it seem like I'm a nice person. So let's talk about manners and respect as they pertain to the soul-eating steps of breaking into the writing business.

First off, remember how when you were a kid, a student, and you saw your teacher outside the confines of your school. If you're still a student, even better; you're more fresh for this analogy. So weird! Your teacher--for all intents and purposes--seemed to be an actual human, and stranger still, a human with at least something of a life. You couldn't quite put the two entities, your teacher and the person before you, together. Now, take that 'alternate reality' feeling and apply it to your concept of 'Literary Agent'. Yeah, somewhere on the other side of that inbox you just mailed a query to there is an actual human with a life outside of office hours. You didn't mail your query to a program. You mailed it to an individual with personal tastes, preferences, and dislikes. Be mindful of that. When you query an agent take the time to research him or him. Not only does it clear you of a major hurdle (not following submission guidelines=instant rejection) but it helps you better understand the fit you might have with the agent. Plus a little initiative is bound to go a long way. If you think of them as human they are more likely to do the same with you

Secondly, I am quickly learning that this business is no different than many others in that it is absolutely flooded with resources such as 'how to's' and insider info (the kind that might get you published, not arrested). But one of the biggies is 'connectivity'. Simply put, who you know, or even better who knows you. You've got to get your name out there, in the business public's eye. Facebook, Twitter, Blogs, all fantastic. But you can't virtually gang-bang them. There's an etiquette. Don't cyber-stalk an agent to the point he or she is considering a restraining order. Don't get up in faces. Don't be clingy. Remember, these are people who are spending their time and energy to get a job done well and what time you take from them better be worthwhile and contribute something of value, otherwise you will get a reputation as 'best avoided'.

And last but not least, if you wouldn't use that kind of language with your mother, don't use it with a potential connection. The agent will appreciate it, and your Mama will be proud of you.


Michelle said...

You're such a liar. You are nice. But I'll keep your secret. *wink*

Amethyst Greye Alexander said...

Yet another of my flaws.

Apparently I'm a liar.

A liar with a KILLER HEADACHE.

Brianne said...

Ame, I SO don't know who your trying to fool. But you most definitly are a HORRIABLE person.
All of us can be...mean sometimes. :D hahah.

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