Let me see… Emily Post etiquette book on page…
Hmmm, seems Emily didn’t directly address author etiquette!
But it’s something that should be talked about from time-to-time.
Show of hands how many went to some form of kindergarten? Then we should remember the most basic rules of any kind of etiquette.
But when it comes to interacting with authors, and the vast world of social media, we can apply some details to our inner-author-publisher-reader relationships.
- Be nice, polite and considerate. I know this seems beyond obvious but at times these basic etiquette qualities get trampled. My challenge to us all is to be nice, polite and considerate when no one is looking. When other authors, editors or agents are around.
- Share. In this social media world sharing is easy and almost expected. Social media is about dialog. It’s not a bull horn to promote your book but an exchange of 140 word conversations. Listen to others every bit as much as you want to be heard.
- Watch your words. Believe it or not, people read your Facebook, blog and Twitter posts. I know it seems at times no one is “listening” but trust me, they are. Editors and agents skim your FB profile to see what you’re really about. I’m not saying shy away from posting your view of things — I’ve ventured a political post or two — but I use language that invites a conversation. And I don’t allow rude, cutting and argumentative posts from others. In the publishing world, watch what you post about another author, publishing house, writing group or agent.
- Congratulate the Winner. Listen, I’ve had my share of entering a contest and not being a finalist. I do my best to go to the finalist Page’s and congratulation them. If I final but didn’t win, I congratulate the winner. Tweet about it. Give a shout out. Because one day it might be you and wouldn’t you want the world to rejoice with you. Never, ever publicly put down an author or book that bested you and yours. Even if you think your book is better. And who doesn’t think their book is better? But you know, in reality, don’t put the winning authors and books down at all. In public or private. Why fill our hearts with such pebbles and stones. Even if no one is listening, God is listening.
- Don’t post your stuff on other people’s wall. Once in awhile a new author posts their book news on my wall. “My book is out, buy it.” Wait. This is MY wall, where MY readers gather, and post on my are for things I’m interested in or promoting. I will not post about an author or book I do not know or trust. Indie authors, I know it’s hard to build an audience — been there — but don’t use another author’s Fan Page for your promotion. If you want an author to promote your work, ask them. But the best advice is to meet authors, build a relationship first and they will be more than happy to promote your work.
- Reputation is Gold. Back to #4 and 5, your reputation will take you farther than any amazing writing talent. If you esteem others higher than yourself, if you respect authors and the industry, if you honor the work of publishers and writing organizations, it will show. Somewhere a long the way, someone will report back to you the condition of your reputation. And if you’ve behaved more like Jesus than, well, yourself, you’ll be rewarded. Serve. Honor. Pray.
- Don’t complain. I mean, it seems obvious, but in this industry, there can be so much to complain about it. I’ve tripped over that wire so many times. And it’s just not healthy, or worth it. At the end of the day, publishing is a business. Money must be made for people to be paid. Complaining about how unfair it is gets you no where. Keep focused. Work. Write a great novel. And then another one and another. That will get you way farther than complaining. Listen, editors and authors, readers, love hanging around someone who’s easy to get along with and who works hard at the craft, who is turning out one good book after another.
- Communicate. Let others know how you’re doing. Last year I got in a bit of a bind with a sudden physical issue. I kept it to myself for a a week or two until I realized it wasn’t passing. Then I let my writing buddies know, asking for prayer. I called my editor and gave her a heads up. Eventually, I had to tell my publisher because it was impacting my view of the book. Had I not told them in time, my book would’ve ended up in the wrong sales catalog and while that could be managed, it would not be optimal or idea, and prove to be some what of a set back. So communicate. It’s hard for authors to ask for things or to fess up when a book isn’t working — we tend to feel we’re one foot out the door — but if we wait too long to speak up, it could have unwanted ramifications.
- Be a resource. This one is a bit of a challenge but if you can, provide information on your FB Page or Twitter, your blog, about things people might be interested in. Or things related to your book that your readers might find interesting. I try to post news about the UK royals from time to time. I’m passionate about prayer and worship, so I try to post information about worship and prayer, post things that might encourage others in their spiritual journey. I post book news for author friends. I get “thank yous” from my readers for recommending good books.
- Be involved. As best you can, reply to tweets and Facebook comments. At the very least, hit the Like button. Remember the people who are buying and reading your books.
This is not an exhaustive list, but I think you get where I’m going.
Keep the Golden Rule and you’ll be golden.
Go write something Brilliant!