Strictly Miss Abigail: Professional Etiquette
Guest Post by Abigail Keam
Etiquette is a fancy name for manners, which are sorely lacking in the writing world from the agent who keeps your ms tied up for months to the writer who badmouths another writer in public.
Examples Of Rude Practices
Wasting Time – If you are not interested in a writer’s work, tell them immediately so they can move on. Time is of the essence to a writer. Don’t just leave the ms on your desk and leave the writer hanging.
I had an agent who kept my ms for eleven months only to turn me down. What angered me was how much time was wasted when I could have been promoting it elsewhere. In the writing business as in any other work—time is money.
The same goes for writers who hold up printing production because they didn’t get their ms in on time.
Don’t waste other people’s time. Just don’t do it.
Badmouthing – We all love to gossip about other writers’ work. It’s human nature, but you don’t have to publicly vent your feelings via Facebook or Twitter or at the next book conference in a drunken stupor. Share your feelings with close associates who will keep their mouths shut about what you say and you do the same for them. Mum’s the word. Venting is allowed. Badmouthing is not.
You may retort that Stephen King went public about how he disliked Stephenie Myers’ work. Well, you are not Stephen King, are you?
When Elton John’s partner, David Furnish, twittered nasty things about Madonna when she beat Elton at the Golden Globe Awards this year, he just looked like a big crybaby.
Of course, if you are old enough to have witnessed the very public feud between Gore Vidal and Norman Mailer, it was simply divine to watch them go at each other’s throats. Mailer head-butted Vidal in the green room of the Dick Cavett Show in 1971 and said publicly that Vidal ruined Jack Kerouac by sleeping with him. Six years later after punching Vidal again at a party, Vidal
retorted, “Words fail Norman Mailer yet again.”
But if you did the same, you would just look . . . petty and be arrested, but I digress.
A true gentleman would have congratulated Madonna and wished her well. It is only in the privacy of his home with a few chosen friends that he should have ripped her a new one.
Of course, a true lady or gentleman would keep their “bitchin’” thoughts private.
The only person allowed to badmouth in public is a critic. A critic is a person who has no real writing talent of their own but is paid a lot of money to criticize the writing of those persons who do have talent.
I never said that life was fair.
Then there are the amateur book reviewers who love to trash books . . . well, I just don’t have enough space to go into them. Besides, I am a lady.
Abigail Keam is the writer of “Death By A HoneyBee” and “Death By Drowning” which both were listed as Finalists on the USA Book News “Best Books List of 2011”. www.abigailkeam.com, Twitter, Facebook.