Use Your Head

So when I saw we were going to be blogging this week about how to help yourself as a writer, my immediate thought was, huh? Because I avoid helping myself in any way, shape or form, generally, and just blunder around hoping something will catch on. Seriously. You want career advice from a woman who drives around listening to the soundtrack to the Buffy musical episode? And singing along?

But then I started thinking about it, and realized not only are there a couple of things I know something about, but they're things I've already written about, which means less work for me. And I'm all about the laziness.

So here's my tip. Don't be an ass.

Seriously. Before you do something, stop and think. Is this what an ass would do? How would I feel if someone did this to me?

This is inspired in part by last night's post at Dear Author. This one is good too. But I feel they can be easily condensed, into "Don't be an ass".

Now, let's face it. We're all human. We all act like asses at some point. We say something flippant and realize it was a lousy thing to say. We get a little drunk and comment somewhere we shouldn't. We kill a guy and then later realize it wasn't a good--oops, never mind.

But when you've done it, don't make it worse by constantly showing up to try and justify it. Let it go. Try to move on. And learn your lesson. Don't do it again.

But that's all internet etiquette, which really isn't the subject here. The subject here is helping yourself, presumably to sell books. The principle is the same. Do you like having flyers stuck under your windshield at the grocery store? Do you enjoy spam emails or comments? Do you eagerly click on any random link that shows up anywhere on that crazy, incomprehensible maze that is the internet?

Similarly, do you often visit websites you see advertised on the sides of cars or on the corkboard at Target? Do you find people who constantly interrupt conversations to talk about themselves and their book charming and fun? Are you easily swayed into buying books because someone gives you a piece of candy?

Is junk mail the main source of shopping inspiration for you? Do you often notice the books other people are carrying and stop them to ask about them? When the person behind you in line tries to shove a business card into your hand, are you delighted by their pep?

Right. I didn't think so. So don't be swayed into thinking any of these tactics will help you to sell your book, either--whether it's after it's been published, or before. Spamming agents and editors (either through mail, email, or conversation), or showing up on their blogs or websites to constantly talk about yourself isn't a good idea. Like assitude, we've all done it--or at least most of us have, because it's easy to get really excited that Agent Fantastic will actually see your comment (and hence see you) and let your fingers do the running before your rational mind catches up--but try not to make it a habit, okay?

Oh, and don't encourage other people to spam websites, agents, or editors either. It's a bad idea. Seriously. (I'm pretty sure all identifying articles are gone from the site, so I'm linking to it. The poor girl in that case went through enough, even if she did handle it rather ungracefully.)

And one more thing: Study the market and know what you're doing, please. I did a series of posts about researching publishers back in June. They start here. Read them. Apply that knowledge. It can be easily adapted to an agent search as well. Don't be anyone's guinea pig.

Comments

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