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Wednesday, July 1, 2009
Wednesday Spotlight: Jax Cassidy
Count your blessings
I belong to about a dozen Yahoo groups, not including local and online chapters, and my inbox is usually stuffed with daily digests. You can learn a lot about an author by their responses and I have to admit that sometimes I cringe at what I discover. I may not be a Nora Roberts, Sherrilyn Kenyon, JR Ward or Janet Evanovich but I count my blessings every day that I am published, that I am doing what I love most—and I even get paid for it! I am extremely grateful that I write for small press and ePublishers because it’s a great way to learn about the publishing industry while building my readership. It’s also preparing me for the intensity of what is in store for me when I finally sign those NY contracts. No matter where you’re published, it doesn’t get any easier and I treat my writing as a solid professional career with a desire to stay in the game for as long as possible.
Recently, I’ve noticed common mistakes made by some newly published authors and witnessed their lack of regard for professionalism. One thing I’ve learned about being an author is to stay humble, be appreciative for the opportunity, and hold your tongue when you’re compelled to lash out. Unfortunately, what I’ve seen is writers publicly voicing their displeasure about agents, editors, and the publishing industry via their writer’s loop, twitter, myspace or blog. This reactive response may come back to bite them in the butt. These days it’s easy to scream your injustices to the world but it takes a lot of professionalism to calm down and turn the other cheek. I’m not saying that authors shouldn’t stand up for themselves but there are other outlets to vent. In this close-knit industry word gets around pretty quickly and being overly vocal may become a permanent label. No one is going to work with a ‘difficult’ author and you may have just written yourself out of future contracts and new readership.
Here’s some advice I can offer new authors to help them start off on the right footing:
1. Always be professional. You never know who’s watching, or reading about you. How you act is representative of who you are and reflects your level of professionalism.
2. Count your blessings. There’s so much competition as it is, so being published in any form is a major accomplishment. Be grateful for the opportunities and by disrespecting the publisher you’re currently with won’t get you too far in this industry.
3. Do your research. Understand the guidelines, learn about the market, get feedback on publishers from other authors and never stop learning. As I mentioned before, first impressions always count!