The publishing industry is an incredibly small world in which relationships often form the foundation of business. These relationships are one of the primary products of an agent, allowing him/her to ensure a manuscript makes it to the right people. However, times are changing and authors can no longer depend solely on others to manage our businesses. So as businesspeople what do we need to know about building relationships?
Rebecca Moesta expresses her view in a very simple and direct manner. Never, ever, ever, ever, ever be a jerk. To anybody. Even if they deserve it. Especially over the Internet (which is really permanent these days).
There are writers who have intentionally built a branding platform off quip and sarcasm. Some do it well, some do it poorly, but all trade the goodwill of certain groups for increased visibility. Myself? I don’t have the right sense of humor for that sort of approach nor is my aim in social matters precise enough. Instead, I have adopted Moesta’s philosophy.
In short, Moesta preaches professionalism. If you were a professional in computer security, would you refuse your services to a customer because their political views were on the opposite end of the spectrum from your own? Would a baker bad mouth a particular demographic to the customers waiting in line to buy cupcakes? Are you happy when the company delivering your furniture is eight hours late? Do you go back to restaurants that give you a meat lovers pizza when you asked for a vegetarian? All the same rules that apply to any other business apply to writers. Be someone customers and other professionals will want to do business with and your professional life will be much smoother.
There’s one story in particular that drives this point home for me. Rebecca was at a conference over seas with her husband and co-writer Kevin J Anderson. As they are climbing into a taxi at their hotel to go to the convention center, they notice a woman standing on the curb and offer to share their taxi with her. The ride passed quickly, and as they disembarked Rebecca and Kevin paid for the taxi. The woman offered to pay her share of the ride, but the couple refused, saying that it was an expense they had planned on in any case and that it was their pleasure to share the ride with her. Rebecca went on with the rest of the convention without giving the incident a second thought. Years later, the woman made an appearance at one of Rebecca and Kevin’s signings laden with shopping bags full of books. As it turns out, she had been so struck by the Rebecca and Kevin’s small act of kindness that she had gone and researched them and had ended up buying and reading their entire library. For the price of a cab ride, they had created an avid fan.Tags: Sequence 04: On the Shoulders of Giants