Heard it Through the Grapevine
(Repost)I’ve been extra busy lately, what with all the holiday activities, and I haven’t been preparing my blogs in advance like I normally do. So yesterday I was sitting at my desk pondering the 177 emails in my box, and the manuscripts that needed reading, and the proposals I’m preparing for submissions, and amidst all that I began to wonder what the heck I was going to blog about today.
Right about then the phone rang and it was a client needing help with an issue. She was a bit, shall we say, freaked out. So I listened to her venting for a while and then I was quiet for a moment, and then I said, “I’m so glad you called because now I know what to blog about tomorrow.” (My client totally appreciated her problem being reduced to blog fodder.)
So what had happened was that somebody had been talking with my client and telling her, “You should be doing this” and “You’d better be doing that” and “You’ll never sell any books if you don’t do XYZ” and basically totally confusing her and filling her head with crazy worries. This person claimed to know about publishing but actually knows nothing about the area of publishing my client is involved in. So my client is near panic, thinking the world is about to end and her career is over before it’s even started and everything is just all wrong. I had to get her back on track and remind her that her editor, her publicist, and her agent (me) are all guiding her and giving her good advice, and that she doesn’t need to worry about so-called “advice” given by people who know nothing about CBA non-fiction publishing.
So I wanted to make this point to you: Do your best to get your information from good sources, i.e. people actually working in the business. When you hear things from other sources, don’t take it as gospel and try not to let it make you crazy or upset. Search out the truth.
Another example from this week: A client was worried that somehow I was keeping her out of the loop, that I wasn’t communicating properly with her, because her friend had made an erroneous assumption about something and put doubts in my client’s mind about my communication practices. I reviewed with my client the actual series of events, all backed up in writing by emails, and assured her that her doubts were unfounded and that her friend had made the wrong assumption. Once again I was put in the position of having to explain how things work and tell a client that unfortunately, someone gave her wrong information.
These are situations where an author was worried by listening to someone who isn’t qualified to give publishing advice.
The great thing here is that in both cases, my clients came straight to me with their confusion/panic/frustration. Hallelujah. They did exactly the right thing, and I was able to help them understand what was wrong about what they’d been told.
Please: Be wary of people giving you publishing advice when they are not qualified to do so. If you question what you’re hearing, check it out as soon as you can with a professional who knows what they’re talking about. If you have an agent, talk to them!
Has this ever happened to you? Have you worried about things you’d heard, only to find out later that it wasn’t true? Have you been given bad info or believed any of the myths about publishing?
© 2010 Rachelle Gardner, Literary Agent