Writer's Beware! Don't Shoot Self in Foot

Lately I've been hearing horror stories about writers doing things that in the long run are going to harm their writing career if not kill it all together.

If someone has a problem with his or her publisher the smart thing is to contact the publisher and see if you can't figure out how to fix it. Never, never broadcast it all over the Internet. Why not? Besides the publisher who has your book seeing what you had to say so will other publishers who will remember your name.

Publishers and editors talk to one another--and it is so much easier now with the Internet. Putting yourself on a black list doesn't seem the smartest thing to do.

Don't bug your publisher or editor. I don't think authors realize that the publisher and or editor has far more to do than listen to all your problems. Of course if it's a big one, sure, but if you've pestered the life out of your publisher or editor, the chances of getting a timely response lower quickly.

All authors need to realize that promotion is mostly on their shoulders. Yes, some houses will do some promotion, others do very little. When you're with a small house, it may be the publisher (owner) and perhaps one or two other staff members--or maybe the publisher only. Once the publisher has got the book out there then the author needs to get busy with the promotion. Actually he or she should have been working on the promotion once the contract was signed.

Don't get on Facebook and bad mouth your publisher, your editor, other authors in the publisher's house, or what you think may be a fault of the publisher. It's just like getting on Facebook and badmouthing your boss, your husband, your friends--it is the wrong thing to do and it will backfire.

If you're not happy with your publisher go somewhere else for your next book. Or self-publish, goodness knows, there are plenty of avenues to do that these days. Of course the promotion will be totally on your shoulders then.

As for me, I'm quite happy to allow my two publishers to do the part they are best at: seeing that my book gets edited, formatting it for the paper and e-book editions, doing the promotion that they do, and sending me my royalty checks. I'll do the rest.

To use another cliche--I know which side my bread is buttered on.



Jennifer Wilck said…
Yeah, I'm on an author's loop and I've been seeing a lot of publisher bashing--it's one of those things I truly don't understand! You know, there is such a thing as a learning experience. If you're fortunate enough to get published, appreciate it, and keep a list (off the Internet!) of things you like and don't like. You'll know better for next time! Never hurts to be classy; always hurts to badmouth publically. Great post!
I've seen this happen way too many times. I've had all sorts of publishers who weren't the best, two that were totally crooked, one who never sent a single royalty even when I knew books were selling, but NEVER did I bad mouth any of them. In the days of the Internet everything you say stays forever for all to read. Publishers and editors do google authors names to see what they are up to, don't do or say anything that'll make them not consider you as a potential author.

Jackie King said…
Marilyn, These are such wise words and these things needed to be said.
Jackie King
Good points! The downside of social networking...once it's out there, you can't get it back....
Yes, Jackie and Laurel, people need to be careful what they say online, it can sure end up hurting you.
Jean Henry Mead said…
You're right, Marilyn. Mutual respect is necessary in a good working relationship. Writers shouldn't malign their publishers and publishers should never libel their writers. It has lasting consequences for both parties.
It's a tough business, Jean, and getting tougher for the writer (though new opportunities have certainly opened up--Amazon's publishing program, Kindle, etc.) and also tougher for the publisher for the same reasons I just named.

Anonymous said…
Good post, Marilyn, and a timely reminder. What goes onto the Internet stays on the Internet -- and shows up on Google. It's just too easy to sound off and then hit the Send button -- so writers beware indeed!

Pat Browning
Pat, indeed a good reminder. Impossible to take back anything that we've put out on the Net.

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