Some of the best writing advice I ever got was from my recently departed mentor, Nick Pollotta. Granted, just about EVERYTHING he imparted to me was worth listening to! Today, though, I want to talk about the importance of knowing when to keep your mouth shut.
We all know we should remain positive as a public figure. Keep the chin up, be disappointed in a rejection but go after the next brass ring. But what about public forums? While some are fine for a bit of grousing, make sure they’re private forums and not filled with people who work where you do.
It doesn’t matter if we’re talking about a publishing house, a retail store, or an aerospace manufacturing plant. You do not grouse publicly about them. Yes, you want to vent because you didn’t get the vacation time you put in for, or you got passed over for a promotion. But doing so in a public forum (a blog, FB, etc) is going to backfire.
More and more companies are forming social media policies, and will monitor their employees online. If you’re constantly complaining, don’t be shocked if they call you on it.
Nick’s advice to me was to always be polite and professional. No matter what. Sales could be catastrophically bad for six months to a year at a time, but I should always, ALWAYS, maintain a positive vibe about my publisher in any forum they’d potentially see me posting in. In doing so, I’d gain a reputation of willingness to work with my publisher, not against them. I’m not sabotaging my own sales.
There are some that will disagree with me. I realize that. My opinions are just that, opinions. The benefits of holding my tongue, though, outweigh the risks. Reputation is EVERYTHING in the business, second only to your skill as a writer. And it can make people overlook that talent if I were to be snarky.
Everyone has bad days. There are days, yes, I’ve wanted to pull my hair out for various reasons. But I take a step back, walk away from the computer, regain my composure. Then I’ll calmly talk to the person who’s driving me to the brink of insanity. I won’t give up my principles and professional ethics. The high road’s sometime’s lonely, but the view’s a lot better.
In other news….
Things are moving forward with ‘Mark of the Successor’! I’m looking for a few reviewers willing to read an ARC and post their review within 1-2 days after the ebook is available. If interested, drop me a note at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I’ve got a blog tour starting soon, to promote the upcoming release. The grand finale of the week is a visit to Authors on the Air (google them – Pam’s got a fantastic show!) and a virtual release part on FB. Should be tons of fun!