By Sarah J. Maas
So, you’ve decided you want to get published. AND you’ve decided that you want to share every step of the journey with your friends, family, and random internet acquaintances. You’ve set up a blog, a twitter, a facebook account, etc.. Great.
Well, only if you know the rules.
No, there’s no official list of aspiring-author-protocol, but there ARE some things that I think a lot of aspiring writers forget when they decide to share EVERY detail, every rejection, every revision request with the world. So, I figured I’d give you three pointers that will hopefully save you a lot of grief.
1) Do NOT, and I repeat: DO NOT post your agent rejections on your blog. And do NOT say who rejected you. It might seem like a great way to accurately portray the difficulties of getting published, but you’re actually hurting yourself. Why? Because:
Agents. Will. Google. You.
They will read your blog. And they will see not only who has rejected you, but WHY. And if they see that their competition is rejecting you, the “must-snatch-up-new-writer-before-any-one-else” pressure goes bye-bye. AND, seeing those rejections could make THEM see the faults in the manuscript, and reject you, too.
Not to mention, it comes across as pretty unprofessional if you’re posting agents’ rejections, and then providing commentary about how much that agent sucks, or how unfair and stupid they are. It doesn’t make you seem like an ideal potential client, does it?
BUT that’s not to say that you can’t privately share these rejections, and your feelings of hurt, anger, and despair. Just keep those entries friends-locked. Trust me—it’s for the best.
2) Going on that note, Facebook. Before you set out on your Publication Journey, decide what kind of Facebook presence you want. Do you want your fans to only see the writing/books/business side of you? Or do you want them to have access to your personal information, to see your private pictures, etc.? Pick a side, and then keep it.
But for those of you who decide to link everyone to your pre-existing Facebook account with all your high school and college photos and embarrassing wall posts, take a couple of hours to look through your account. Look at how you’re portraying yourself: is this how you want your new writer friends, your agent, your future editor, to see you?
3) Remember that how you portray yourself online is most likely the way your future readers and fans will get to know you. Word of mouth is the strongest PR tool out there—don’t ruin it with poor internet behavior. Don’t start drama with ANYONE online.
Drama will get around, and the last thing you want is for you to find yourself with a bad reputation. I’ve heard of a few would-be writers who publicly criticized a published author—and what do you think happened? The published writer was always fine, but it was the aspiring author who suffered: not only did other authors hear about the aspiring-author’s behavior, but agents and editors most likely heard, too. So, I will repeat it again:
Drama. Gets. Around.
There are a bunch more things that I could list, but I think that covers the big points. I hope this doesn’t make publishing seem like an industry where you have to keep your head down and put on a sugary-sweet persona. It’s not.
But there are ways to make your personality and uniqueness shine through without damaging your career and isolating yourself. Have fun, but be smart!
Sarah J. Maas is the author of several novels, including QUEEN OF GLASS, a YA fantasy retelling of Cinderella that will be published by Bloomsbury in late 2011. Sarah resides with her fiancé in Los Angeles. You can visit her blog here.