Your Image

Warning… I need to vent.

Your image. Guess what….it counts.

No, I’m not talking about your physical image.

I’m talking about your author image, your professional one.  If you are a pubbed writer, you have a professional image.  What you do with it is up to you, but if you go around acting like a fool or having temper tantrums online…even if you think it’s private…you stand a good risk of wrecking that image.

Once you destroy your professional image, it’s almost impossible to get it back. 

I don’t expect authors to move around online acting like Miss Manners.  The Good Lord knows that I don’t.  But if you’re going to voice complaints, make sure you think it through before you actually post it online.  Nothing is guaranteed to stay private.  Even if it does stay private (and how private can a list be if it’s got more than a couple of close personal friends?) if you’re talking with a lot of people within that private list, you need to think through what you’re saying  and remember that you might be insulting some list members when you have your little rant.

There’s a lot of heated discussion going on among romance authors right now.  Myself, I’m not too pleased with some decisions that RWA made.  I think it’s something the people in charge did to make themselves more ‘exclusive’, trying to weed out out those that they don’t take seriously, or those that they don’t feel belong within their ranks.  So yes, I completely understand why some of us are disgusted by what’s going on.

But some of the name calling and insults I’ve seen going on among those who’ve been affected by this is also disgusting me.

Insulting an entire group over the decisions of a few just smacks of immaturity.  Ranting over it and stomping off in a huff is a certain way to get people to take you more seriously-(note the sarcasm) 

Rants have their place.  If you need to blow steam, by all means, do it.  But don’t insult people who had nothing to do with whatever it was that pissed you off.  If you plan on using your rant as an argument to try and change what’s happened…rants won’t do it.

You’re a professional. Or at least you should be. You don’t have to spout off flowers and roses and you don’t have to toe whatever line has been drawn in the sand. Voicing your complaints in a calm, rational manner is going to do a lot more to change things than having a tantrum.  Tantrums belong in private…and offline

The thing with RWA right now, yes it sucks that they are unrecognizing publishers.  It sucks big time.  But from what I’ve seen, they might already be doing some backpedaling.  That means there is probably a way to convince them that they need to rethink their decision.  Write out your complaints.  State why you disagree.  if you insult them and liken them to murderous zealots, you might want to delete it and start over.  Voice your complaints in a reasonable manner and email it to the board members.  They are the ones who did this.   They are the ones who need to hear we’re unhappy.

But keep the insults out of it.  Think about it, imagine you getting an email from somebody that read one of your books and they called you a whore, a slut, the worst writer on earth and why on earth did somebody publish that pile of horse crap?  What’s your response…you get defensive.  Even if you don’t reply in a negative way, it’s your kneejerk reaction and how open are going to be to advice coming from the person that insulted you?  Well, unless you’re a saint, you’re not going to be very open.

Why should they be?  Was the board wrong?  Yes.  Empahtically, yes, in my opinion.  Do they deserve to be pilloried and gunned down over it?  No.  If you feel that strongly about what’s happened, drop out.  Or try to change things for the better.

But don’t ever forget that you have an image to maintain and you never know when something is going to come back to bite you on the tail.  That person you unwittingly insulted could have been the person to recommend you to their agent, to a friend, to a bookseller…but if they were an innocent bystander that you shot them down in rant…why should they?  You lacked professional courtesy.  No reason you should expect it back.

Okay, I’m done.  If you agree, disagree, feel free to state your opinions… but if you go insulting me or flaming anybody on my blog, don’t be surprised if you end up deleted.