Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Plotting the Story They Tell About You

“Your ability to get a job could turn on the stories they tell about you.” So says film director Steven Soderbergh in the February 4th issue of New York magazine.

He’s talking about getting a gig in movies. I’m talking about getting a gig as published author. He goes on to say “If I’m an a-hole I don’t get the job.” I say “He’s got that right.

Authors way too often sabotage their chances with their behavior. At the beginning of your career especially the story publishing professionals tell about you among themselves is crucial.

That is why I am sharing with you Alice’s 10 Commandments for Making Agents and Editors and All Manner of Publishing Types Love You for Life.

Commandment # 1: Thou shalt be reasonable. Think before you make a demand. Ask yourself – Is this absolutely necessary to my career at this moment?

Commandment # 2: Thou shalt be revisable. Choose carefully which revision suggestions you challenge. Ask yourself – Is this the hill I’m willing to die for OR strain this relationship for?

Commandment # 3: Thou shalt be realistic. Maintain perspective on your power position – especially at the start of your career when you have little or no clout.

Commandment # 4: Thou shalt be impressive. In person or by phone or email – sound and look like a serious savvy business person. Never whine or beg. Never let them see you sweat.

Commandment # 5: Thou shalt be retiring though not shy. Modesty – not to be confused with self-deprecation – is attractive. Boasting is unattractive.
Commandment # 6: Thou shalt keep it professional. Personal references – to your life or to theirs – are less than appropriate.

Commandment # 7: Thou shalt keep your cool. Display of temper is counterproductive. Stick with cooperation rather than confrontation. No prima donnas need apply.

Commandment # 8: Thou shalt keep your mouth shut. Do not complain out loud about the pub business in general and this pro in particular. Gossip spreads and this business loves it.

Commandment # 9: Thou shalt – and this is crucial – come across as an ally. Human beings respond best to appreciation and helpfulness and publishing pros are definitely human.

Commandment # 10: Remember the good sense Grandma gave you. You catch more flies with honey than with vinegar.

That is spoken like the proud grandma I am and this grandma says that if you follow these good sense guidelines the story told will be that you are not an a-hole – You are A-Number-One.

Meanwhile you may feel free to find out more about Alice the commandment-giver at my website www.aliceorrseminars.net.

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