This is a an example of the types of emails we occasionally receive from authors. They’re greatly abbreviated, of course. This type of offensive correspondence can, of course, result in a breakdown of negotiations, or not receiving a contract offer at all. And, just because you’ve already been offered a publishing contract doesn’t mean you can’t lose it through bad behavior.
1. THE MISTRUSTING AUTHOR
“I’m not going to send you my manuscript unless you offer me a contract first. How do I know you’re not going to steal my idea?”
Of course, the publisher can’t make a decision about your manuscript until they’ve actually SEEN it.
2. THE HAND HOLDING AUTHOR
“If you want to publish my book, I’ll need your personal cell phone number, and access to you 24/7.”
When a publisher starts receiving a dozen phone calls in one day from one author (or more), calls late at night, and calls on Christmas Day, they stop giving out their number, of course. If you do receive a publisher’s personal phone number, don’t abuse it.
3. THE PRIMA DONNA
“I am a very important person and I expect to be treated as such!”
This doesn’t refer to just the “me” generation of teens being raised today. There are plenty of adults who think they deserve better service and more attention than anyone else. In my opinion, no amount of money is worth working with prima donnas or narcissists. Just because somebody pays you for a service doesn’t give them license to treat you like a servant. Most people respond much more favorably to good manners. Rude demands can quickly lead to a terminated publishing contract.
4. THE FUTURE “BEST SELLING AUTHOR”
“My book is better than the rest, including those by your other authors, and I expect to be treated like the best selling author I know I’m going to be!”
Oh, if I had a nickel for every author who swore their book was the next New York Times #1 Best Seller. A statement like this is a sure sign the author is an amateur.
5. THE “NEXT STEPHEN KING!”
“I’m the next Stephen King / Nora Roberts / Tom Clancy / [Insert Any Best Selling Author Name Here]!”
Publishers also find it offensive when new authors compare themselves to one of the most famous celebrity authors of all time. This type of statement is also common among new authors, and is another sign of an amateur.
6. THE FOUL-MOUTHED AUTHOR
“I’ve written the best (bleeping) book and I don’t give a (bleep) if you like it or not because I’ll (bleeping) find someone else to publish it if you don’t!”
Just because you say a word in front of your friends doesn’t mean it’s acceptable language in business discussions. Furthermore, if someone must resort to profanity in business negotiations, a publisher may consider them immature, aggressive, and even potentially dangerous. If it’s a word you wouldn’t say in front of your grandmother, then it’s not a work you should say in business.
7. IF I HAD A NICKEL FOR EVERY PRISON LETTER WE’VE RECEIVED LIKE THIS…
“I’m in prison because I was railroaded by the prosecutor/sheriff/my ex-wife/the federal government/[insert anybody who cooperated with the prosecution here]. I’ve written a book about what happened and, if you reject my book, I’ll know you’re one of them!”
You know what they say about prison. Everybody’s innocent. Far too many prisoners pen revenge books, intent on destroying the reputation of the prosecutor, the sheriff, or anyone else who helped put them behind bars (including ex-friends and relatives). Not only are these books potential legal problems for publishers but, when they are rejected, the criminal occasionally threatens the publisher. Do they really think they can scare a publisher into accepting their manuscript? On the contrary, it usually has the opposite effect.
8. THE SOUR GRAPES AUTHOR
After a rejection letter, which included encouragement about future work – “Your loss! I’m going to make millions and you’re going to go out of business because you didn’t publish this book!”
In order to maintain a good reputation in the industry, authors need to be gracious and mature when receiving rejection letters.
9. THE BIGOT
(The bigoted correspondence we’ve received over the years is too offensive to quote.)
Disparaging comments about individuals or groups that are different from the author are deeply offensive, and will quickly destroy a business relationship. Not everybody was raised a bigot…so bigots should keep their opinions to themselves. If you hate a person or group just because they are a particular race, religion, or sexual persuasion, please submit your manuscript elsewhere.
If you were a publisher, would you work with any of these offensive authors? Me, neither! Authors should remain professional in their correspondence. Don’t send statements in writing that you would not say in person. A little humility and maturity can go a long way in securing meaningful, professional business relationships.
Our website states “we don’t work with jerks.” What we’ve found over the years is that truly nice people think the statement is funny (and they agree with us) while “jerks” tend to get deeply offended by it. We own a publishing co-op that charges no setup fees, AbuzzPress.com, and a print on demand and ebook design, publishing and distribution service, BookLocker.com. If you’ve written a good book, and if you’re friendly, respectful to others, and kind to your fellow man, regardless of their position in life, we’d love to talk to you!
About The Author
Angela Hoy is the publisher of WritersWeekly.com, and the co-owner of BookLocker.com (one of the original POD publishers that still gets books to market in less than a month), PubPreppers.com (print and ebook design for authors who truly want to self-publish), and Abuzz Press (the publishing co-op that charges no setup fees).
WritersWeekly.com - the free marketing ezine for writers, which features new paying markets and freelance job listings every Wednesday.
BookLocker.com - According to attorney Mark Levine, author of The Fine Print, BookLocker is: "As close to perfection as you're going to find in the world of ebook and POD publishing. The ebook royalties are the highest I've ever seen, and the print royalties are better than average. BookLocker understands what new authors experience, and have put together a package that is the best in the business. You can't go wrong here. Plus, they're selective and won't publish any manuscript just because it's accompanied by a check. Also, the web site is well trafficked. If you can find a POD or epublisher with as much integrity and dedication to selling authors' books, but with lower POD publishing fees, please let me know."
Abuzz Press offers FAST and FREE book publication, but only accepts a small percentage of submissions, and only works with U.S. authors.
PubPreppers.com - "We Prep, You Publish!" Print and ebook design for authors who truly want to self-publish. Offers formatting and design services only, and then provides simple instructions for authors on where to sign up to have the print and ebook editions printed/listed/sold. Cut out the middle man. Keep 100% of what bookstores pay for your book!
Angela's POD Secrets Revealed Series can be found HERE.
Have a POD Book with another publisher? See if BookLocker can give you a better deal. (BookLocker offers "disgruntled author discounts" to those who want to move from other POD services.)
See BookLocker's publishing packages HERE.
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