How to Build Bridges

One thing I think a lot of people don’t do enough of is network.  At least as far as the writing world goes.  I’m not saying go out there and harass every published author you’ve ever met.  Or blow up Twitter with thousands of replies and tweets about something you’re doing.  It’s also easy to forget diplomacy.

With the advent of Twitter, and Facebook (lets face it, Myspace is mostly dead), its a lot easier to make new contacts, and keep appraised of what’s going with favorite authors, friends, contacts, and even in the publishing world.  But its just as easy to make it all go wrong.  Its hard sometimes, but I try to make sure my Twitter account stays pretty consistent with the kind of image I’d want online, in the event that I have a book deal.  Same for my Facebook.  Same for this blog.  And that makes it hard, especially when I want to do something that I shouldn’t.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m still ME.  I still crack jokes, pretend to take myself too seriously while taking potshots at myself, goof off, and generally blow off steam in a healthy way.  But I don’t turn around and abuse those people in my network.  And it bugs me when I see other people doing that.

Such as yesterday.  I read this book, part of a series, that was just Terrible.  I cringed so many times.  But I’m not about to write a scathing or mocking review about it online.  You have no idea HOW badly I want to though.  Now if friends ask me, or we get into a conversation, I might warn them away from it.  Because for one thing, that makes me look bad that I’m badmouthing another writer and publishing house (even though I’m kinda stunned it got published anyway). For another, I’d rather build a career being a better person than that.

And at the same time, I’m not going to take passive-aggressive shots at someone else to promote my brand.  Something I saw tonight brought this up, and really kinda shocked me.  I’m all about the building of bridges, and the supporting of one another.  Because let’s face it, someday I could need a blurb from someone I burned two years ago, before either of us had a book deal.  And because its on the internet, there’s a record of it SOMEWHERE.  Don’t ever think that just because you deleted a blog post you wrote trashing some author, that it won’t come back to bite you in the ass.  Even at Livejournal, posts you deleted years ago are still recorded there. It’s really easy to take an offensive post, copy and paste it into an email, and send it off to the person in question.

It’s the difference between being a writer who’s like Carrie Prejean, or being a writer who’s like Tami Farrell.  The first is a girl that put her foot in her mouth (granted, she was asked her opinion) by not being gracious and entirely diplomatic, and the second is the sadly lesser known girl that replaced her who understood the role of diplomacy.    Of the two, most people are going to remember Carrie Prejean.  How many people know that Tami Farrell is the girl who replaced her?

If I have a friend’s book coming out, I’m going to promote it in a diplomatic way.  I’m not going to put a post on my blog about how every other book in that subgenre is obviously sub-par.  And I’m not going to take potshots.  I think it just makes good sense, and generates good karma.  Right?

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