A few days ago I saw an author ‘rant’ posted on social media (for the sake of anonymity I won’t mention the author or the social media platform!). It was a full-blown tirade against insensitive publishers and their treatment of authors and their submissions. I don’t know the author personally but the post highlighted for me the dangers of airing grievances online. While I certainly have a great deal of sympathy – the whole process of writing and trying to get published is not for the fainthearted – but social media is definitely not the place to air your frustration or bitterness.This particular rant seemed to be aimed at the fact that certain publishers had not bothered to even respond to a full MS submission. Now, I know silence is horrible and the waiting to hear back on a submission is nerve-wracking, but unfortunately it’s all part and parcel of the (traditional) publishing process. The online post reminded me of the rules I try to follow when it comes to social media and dealing with the publishing process…because you never know who might read or share your online post. These rules include:
- Maintain Professionalism: This goes for all online posts related to employment, the publishing industry and the submission process. If you want to be taken seriously, you have present yourself as cool, calm and professional. No agent or editor wants to deal with an unprofessional author. They don’t want tantrums or drama. They want great quality work delivered on time. Equally well, I’ve never met anyone in the publishing industry who doesn’t love what they do and who doesn’t have the utmost respect for the work that goes into writing a novel. This is, however, an industry (hey, publishers want to make money) and, though it can be brutal, if you want to participate in it, you have to deal with rejection and frustration like a professional. Which leads to my next rule…
- Never air your grievances: Even though the publishing process may drive you to drink/despair/chocolate bingeing…never resort to telling the world how awful such-and-such agent/editor/publisher is…unless you’ve encountered truly unethical behavior or a scam. Only then do I feel an author should legitimately alert the online community to what has happened.
- Be careful of venting your frustration online: Not just because you never know who might read or share you post but also because it has a tendency to lead to a downward spiral of comments/reactions/flame ups that never end well. It may seem cathartic at first but I’m not sure it helps. While I admire honesty (I’m certainly not suggesting authors lie or present an unrealistic picture of the publishing process), I think restraint is usually the best policy. Cry, vent and scream all you want in private but don’t do it public.
So TKZers do you have ‘rules’ you follow when it comes to social media and discussing your experiences with publishing or the publishing process? How do you react when you see a post that rants and rails against the industry? Do you agree authors should keep their frustrations to themselves or would you prefer to see more venting for the sake of honesty?