Sunday, July 15, 2012

How to be a Professional

In recent months, I've confronted a number of authors who, well, I'm going to be brutally honest, reeks of an unprofessional. While I've noticed that since I first started to be an active author online, I chalked it up to the same reasons everyone says. Not hearing tone of voice, bad communication, inexperience, etc, etc. There are always unprofessional people just about anywhere, whether it's online or an office. But, on the internet, it's gotten out of hand.

This lack of professionalism isn't exclusive to genre. I've met just as many romance writers who are just as bad as horror writers. It's the internet culture itself that has taken on a whole new life and rearing it's ugly head, making a very bad name for the rest of us who actually have a clue.

For awhile, I shrugged it off. It's only a small handful of people behaving like trolls, right? But the numbers have increased. A lot. People aren't behaving like trolls only. Schoolyard bullies, self-appointed authorities when they have no authority, aggressive popularity games, threats and bashing, borderline fascism. It's getting downright scary in cyberspace.

I'm 34 years old. High school was a long time ago. I have zero interest in being involved with petty high school games. I know I'm not the only one who has confronted this... attitude. And I know for a fact it's not coming from kids. Full grown adults, behaving with less maturity than a daycare, in their 40's, 50's and 60's. It's quite sad.

I've thought about writing a guide to professionalism, using my ten years of working experience in publishing, advertising and marketing. I love helping to build and maintain a community, which I feel is sorely lacking in today's world. But you know what? It doesn't matter. Real professionals already know.

Professionals know there are no shortcuts in life and the internet isn't an exception. We already know that the rank system on online book retailers isn't reflective of sale numbers, it's reflective of the number of clicks because that's how computer language works. We know the real money isn't in book sales, it comes from selling rights for movies and TV shows, and for that, an agent is needed. We all know this and more, because professionals have common sense.

So as much as it frustrates me to see writers behaving badly when I'll think, if they just knew what I know about being professional... I've realized that at the end of the day, it makes no difference. I can only be myself, take full responsibility for myself, and devote my time to my own projects. Because that's being a professional.


  1. This was a very good post. I've been thinking of writing a post like it and I'm going to link to you when I do. Hope that's okay.

    Would you believe that I searched the Internet for "authors behaving like professionals" and found nothing but "authors behaving badly?" Your post is the only one I found.

    Like I said, great post!

  2. By all means, link away. I'm glad you found this post useful. I would love to see your post. Send me a message and I'll link to yours :)

    I'm not surprised you found nothing but "authors behaving badly," though it saddens me more than anything else. While it's good sometimes to learn what not to do, the sheer amount of negativity has gotten out of hand.

  3. This I love, Lily:

    "Professionals know there are no shortcuts in life and the internet isn't an exception"

    Taking shortcuts hurts that particular writer most, huh?

    1. It's one of the major causes of getting stuck in endless rewrites and never finishing your shit ;)

      Glad you like the article!


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