Better to Be Nice than Not

We all know the old adage that you catch more flies with sugar than vinegar (though I never really understood why anyone would want more flies) but the meaning is clear.

It's far better to be nice than mean.

I'm going to use this in the writing world and give some examples.

If you read someone's books that has lots of typos or other problems do you send them an email and berate them?  Well, guess what some people do. Of course the author probably would like to know, but this can be done in a nice manner.

What about authors who jump all over their publishers for one thing or another? Yep, that does happen. How long do you think the publisher is going to want to work with that author?

Readers do have opinions--and I've heard readers say I'm never reading so and so's books again because of how rude she or he was to me. Okay, that was only one reader, but don't you think that reader will tell another and so on?

And what about the stuff we writers put on Facebook or Twitter? Do you worry about offending readers? If not, say whatever you want. But, believe it or not, I know that readers have quit reading an author's works because of what they have said on Facebook.

Frankly, I want readers to like me and I hope they'll want to buy my books.

I love to meet readers too, whether it be at a signing of some sort, a talk I'm giving or at a conference. I love to meet new people--and I hope they will enjoy meeting me too.

Anyway, that's my opinion. If you have another, feel free to say so.



Earl Staggs said…
Great advice, Marilyn.
I quit reading one popular author because she said that having small press authors on panels at a big mystery con kept the big name authors away.

Another I never did read because she constantly snubbed me even though I saw her at many events and always smiled and spoke to her.

Never hurt either one of them, I'm sure, but there are plenty of authors to read who are nice.
Billie Johnson said…
My sentiments exactly, Marilyn. MOst times, being nice is just the best approach.

Thanks for highlighting this!

M.M. Gornell said…
Actually, Marilyn, I've never understood why anyone isn't nice (especially as a starting point)on anything. What's the point of being nasty unless someone has "done you bad?" It's not healthy for you either (they say!) Good blog.

WS Gager said…
Great post Marilyn! I've never understood the need for nastiness. You're a peach!
Patricia Gligor said…
I think we should all try to be nice. Actually, it shouldn't be all that difficult unless, as Madeline wrote, "someone has done you wrong." But, even then, we need to be careful how we react. A nasty comment on one of the social sites - even if it's deserved - might give a potential reader the wrong idea of what we're like.

Awhile back, another author sent me an email asking to do a post on my blog. The reason he gave for wanting to be my guest is "you seem so nice and thoughtful on FaceBook." I was thrilled! And, of course, responded that I'd love to have him as my guest.
Palmaltas said…
I agree completely, Marilyn. And on Facebook I go out of my way to avoid any kind of negative conflict. It's much more fun to have a kind and positive outlook and much more productive.
Sunny Frazier said…
Okay, I'm going to be the brat here. Nice is, well, NICE, but it's not necessarily memorable. I like to read posts that are a bit edgy, not aimed at any one person but that says something about the writer's personality and strong viewpoint. That's an author whose books I want to read. I want witty, challenging, provocative. I want to see that on panels. I think too many people censor themselves in person and on paper.
All I can say is I agree with you. If only everyone were nice to one another.
Anonymous said…
Great post, Marilyn, and I do agree. I know for certain that my publisher refuses to work with what she calls "difficult authors" and in some cases has figured out how to pull their contracts or if not possible, says she never works with them again. I have a great publisher and believe me I know which side my bread is buttered. Sounds like your statement about files and vinegar. Wouldn't we all know which side our bread is buttered. :) Oh, well, great seeing you at the Nipomo event.
marja said…
I couldn't agree more, Marilyn. In fact, there is one author whose work I quit reading because she put a nasty note in the front of one of her books about suggestions from readers. It just wasn't necessary.

And, Marilyn, I've never seen you be anything but nice and pleasant.
Marja McGraw
Thanks everyone, for your great comments. I do want you to know when I get angry about something, I can definitely stand up for my--and others'--rights. But so much of what I see at times is just downright meanness for absolutely no reason whatsoever.

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