Tips for author etiquette (a shared post written by editor Jon Bard)

Today I am sharing a post written by Jon Bard and posted on his blog. Jon is one of the editors of Children’s Book Insider, the Newsletter for Children’s Writers. He wrote an interesting article – actually a rant – to which he received a deluge of responses. Because of requests to share it, he gave permission to do so through tweeting or blogging, so here it is. I thought you might enjoy it also. You can also check out his blog here.

Sorry folks, but I’ve *really* got to vent about something

Complaint!

Note: This rant is almost assuredly not about you, dear reader.  It’s about a small percentage of folks who are really getting under my skin.  But even if you’re not in that group, please read on — just don’t take it personally!  :-)

If you spend a fair amount of time online, perhaps you’ve noticed it:

People are becoming ruder.  And angrier.  And more entitled. 

Really, I’m simply amazed at some of what appears in my e-mail inbox.  Folks with whom I’ve never corresponded are sending me demanding messages such as “SEND ME THE EBOOK!!!!” and “I WANT TO GET PUBLISHED. TELL ME WHAT TO DO!”

People (non-customers) send us long, detailed questions out of the blue and expect immediate responses.  If they don’t get one, we often receive an abusive message as a follow up.

And then there’s the magic words that many people seem to be using as a justification for curt, nicety-free missives:

“Sent via my iPhone”

Look, I’ve been doing this a long time, and I’ve got a pretty thick skin.  So I raise this not to prevent my feelings from being hurt, but rather as a cautionary message about how *not* to sabotage your writing career.

As a 21st century author, your ability to communicate is paramount to your success.  Editors, agents, bloggers, book reviewers, distributors, promotional partners and readers are just some of the people who are important to your career.  For goodness sake, treat them with more respect than “Here’s my new book. Write a review!”.

Here then, are my tips to help you be seen as a courteous author worthy of consideration:

  •  “Dear”, “Thank you”, “Please” and “Sincerely/All the Best/Yours Truly” aren’t archaic leftovers from the distant past.  They’re still as important as ever.  Use them. Please.
  • Composing a message from your phone or tablet is not an excuse for overly-direct curtness.  If you have a business message to send, wait until you have the time to write it properly.
  • If you’re contacting someone for the first time, make the effort to introduce yourself, and clearly state the purpose of your message.
  • If someone doesn’t get right back to you, don’t fire off an angry e-mail accusing them of ignoring you.  Perhaps the message got lost.  Maybe they’re on vacation.  Perhaps they’re ill.  Calmly send another friendly message restating your request or comment.
  • Remember that you’re dealing with human beings.  In our case, every piece of e-mail is read either by me or by Laura.  We don’t have a building full of underlings to take care of that for us.  When you send us kind words (and many of you do — thank you!), it feels great.  When you’re rude or angry, it stings.   Treat me with respect — I think  I’ve earned at least that.

The vast majority of you are nothing but gracious in your communications with us.  That bodes well for your future success.  Keep at it, and gently work to correct those who aren’t minding your manners.

For the few of you who may have let your etiquette slip, please take heed of the points I’ve laid out, and make a resolution to make the online world just a little bit more courteous.

That’s it — venting over!  :)     Onward….

What is your opinion on what Jon Bard had to say above? Most of you will not be in his job situation, but do you find people are more impatient in today’s modern methods of communication? Tweeting, texting, and emailing are quick. Do you find people to be more demanding of you, or do you find yourself waiting for a reply and getting impatient when it does not come immediately?

Thanks for reading, and … Creative Musings!  :)

 

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7 responses to “Tips for author etiquette (a shared post written by editor Jon Bard)

  1. The first point Jon makes is so true. I really do think people have forgotten about the use of please and thank you. A little politeness goes a long way!

  2. This is a great post. We writers have got 21st century technology at our command but it never hurts to remember a little old school courtesy.

  3. I agree with all of the commentators! I always TRY to be polite, have respect for adults, and use my manners! :D

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