I recently read a blog post from a literary agent (whom I respect and follow regularly) that disturbed me.
He had attended a few conferences where he’d overheard several writers bash him and/or his agency in one way or another. Combined with a few other factors, he decided to close his agency to new submissions until further notice.
I think this a bit of an overreaction, but at the very least extremely disappointing.
Granted, publishing is subjective and everyone has his/her opinion. Not everyone is bound to agree all the time. It’s just the nature of the business. Heck, that’s human nature.
But even if you have a disagreement with an agent or editor, you at least need to be civil in parting ways and (more importantly) how you carry yourself in the future. This includes the comments you make about someone to others. AKA- gossip. (It’s so high school, and even when I was in high school, I hated gossip. So adults should definitely not partake.)
Remember the phrase:
“Be mindful of the toes you step on today, for they may be attached to the ass you must kiss tomorrow.”
Trust me- this will happen. It may take a week, a year, or ten years. But it will eventually happen. Be honest with yourself: don’t you remember something hateful someone said to you when you were in high school? Middle school? College? Your first internship? And don’t you agree the next time you see them you’d have those comments in the back of your mind?
If you’re in complete denial with the statements above, at the very least you should be mindful of the golden rule you should have learned in kindergarten:
“Treat others the way you would like to be treated.”
I remember the first Author Workshop I attended several years ago where the author spent the first half-hour bashing her former publisher, cover artist, editor, and anyone under the sun having anything to do with her experience. And my take away from that workshop: I won’t be buying any of her books.
Not because she turned me off to the publisher, but her bashing gave me a horrible impression of her. I refused to support someone who was so negative and had no care with the words she chose.
These are just my thoughts on how you create relationships, professional or personal. Granted, ‘keeping silent when you have nothing nice to say’ is easier said than done. But I always remember that I don’t want to have smoke covering my path going forward.