Hey cHEwY gum gums
My Book Term has started off brightly on the Sunshine Coast, for Voices On The Coast, another lit-fest run by a dedicated group of people and the backing of a school in the area. Its days like these where you’re thankful to be a kids author because the kids adore every word you say. Plus I got to hang out with some creative friends. One of them, Nadia Sunde summed it best. We’re all nice people because we think we have the best job in the world.
But it’s more than a cheesy quote, it’s sage advice. As Belinda Murrell mentioned in her CYA conference session (I saw her powerpoint slide pop up on my Twitter feed), you need to be kind and professional. So why is being a kind pro important? Well, let me break it up with the groups of people you need to show a little kindness to in your writing career.
Be kind to your publisher (especially your publicist!)
The publisher has taken a huge risk on bringing your book to life, so try to make their jobs easier, whether it’s meeting deadlines for your editor, filming a short video for the marketing team or in particular saying yes to everything your publicist suggests. I’m singling publicists out because a good one can be the difference between giving your book making a huge splash or a gentle ripple in the world. If you’re easy to work with, then they’ll be more inclined to work with you more often and they give you first bite of any opportunities.
Be extra kind to other publishers (especially their publicists)
Over the years I’ve gotten to know other publishers’ editors and publicists at festivals and conferences. I try my best to be extra courteous, say hello to them and chat a bit, because honestly, anything you do in front of them is a like a future job interview. I may be working with them someday (yes I know this is a week after my post about publisher loyalty LOL) so they’ll remember you. Also, those same people may jump ship to your publisher too. The publishing world is quite small. They all talk to each other, so your reputation is on the line wherever you go.
Be kind to booksellers
There are so many books that get released every week. So. Many. Books. The battle for shelf-space is real, so make an effort to chat with booksellers whenever you can (check out my blog post about how to approach bookstores for signings). It’s more than just adding a face or voice to your book so they can recommend it to customers, it’s also planting seeds for your next book.
Be kind to librarians
There’s only so many books that a library can afford each year, so make sure yours is on their budget list. Also, if you’re writing for kids and wanting to get into visiting schools, a teacher librarian’s recommendation matters. They have extensive networks and groups, so a successful author visit can be a key to many more. Besides, teacher-librarians are fighting the good fight to get kids to read books in the coal-face at schools, so they deserve to be supported. Go that extra mile and hype the books for them.
Be kind to other authors and illustrators
Most of the time, authors and illustrators are in solitude, either at home or on the road. So when there’s a chance to meet other authors, make it count. Yes, you can still chill out and keep yourself if that’s your thing, but a small hello and few words goes a long way to make this writers community tight. It was cool to catch up with old pals at Voices on the Coast, as well as meet some new ones. Social media is also a great way to stay in touch with others, and a quick like or comment can make someone’s day. Oh, if you’re a fan of another’s author work, please tell them. It will rock their world.
Be kind to yourself
I know, this is triple-cheesy, but if you want to be in this writing game for a long time, you need to look after yourself. I’ve just started a non-stop 3 month author tour, visiting schools and places up and down the East Coast. I will be tired. I will be run-down. But before I turn into a ragged Grumpy Bear, I will treat myself with some downtime, like gaming on my Nintendo Switch, a burger or a nice jog down the beach-side. So if those dud school visits turn up, at least I have something to look forward to afterwards.
Nice people don’t just finish last. They last longer.