Thursday, December 1, 2011

What Writers Can Learn From Politicians

I have to be one of the first to admit that I really do get tired of this time of year when the politicians are all running for office. Still, I know it is important and frankly, I am pretty dang proud of getting the chance to live in the US. While this time might be a bit crazy with the ads, I was thinking recently of how what we are seeing going on right now (and in the past) really does translate well to writers.

Whether or not you want to believe the things going on with Herman Cain, I do have to say that this is one of those examples where things in the past really do have an impact on what you do today. Although an issue might be small (not saying the allegations about Mr. Cain are), those small little things can come back to bite you.

I know that I am someone who does remember things writers have said and done in the past. There are several authors out there that I would never go out and buy their book. Even if that author were to come to me and want me to represent them with a 7 figure deal, I would likely pass on it. Why? Because of some things they either said or did in the past that I felt were simply not right.

Now that we have moved into an electronic age, everything we say and do can be tracked. Employers are reading what we post on Twitter, Facebook and our blogs. We have become an "open book" and "Big Brother" might be watching you.

I just want to remind all of you to really watch what you do. This is especially true for those of you fighting and working so hard for that first contract with an editor or agent. Hopefully you don't have any skeletons in the closet that might come back to get you.



  1. The "game" face. I talked with an independent bookseller who said that a local author in his town showed up at a book signing and was in a surly mood and the bookstore owner was so turned off by the attitude that he didn't do much to promote the book and when the author's second book came out, he didn't even carry it (in a bookstore whose main thing is to promote and carry local talent).

  2. Okay, weird, the top part of my comment got lost. First part was:

    This is so true, even little things matter. Writers need to remember when they're in public they need to put on their public, "game" face.

  3. So what did those writers do that so turned you off? If you don't want to be specific, give us a politician or other public figure who did the same thing. Are we talking Herman Cain? Lindsay Lohan? David Duke? Dennis Kucinich?

  4. Kind of funny, isn't it? Using Scott's logic, Bill Clinton should be one of the most loathed people on the planet.


  5. True. I know quite a lot of people who won't read several authors because of their manner of presenting personal views or because they've displayed awful behavior. Authors have a public spotlight. They might not be as recognizable as other celebrities, but if they do something distasteful, people will learn about it and will form opinions of them and their work and may choose to avoid it.

  6. Yes, watch what you say and do. But I have a twist on it. I will not worry as much about what or how I say something when it comes from the heart. If I have an opinion that I must voice and I stand by 100% I will say it. People tend to "get" me when I do that. Big Brother does watch me and I think he'd be proud of what he sees. I'm not a terribly abrasive person but I tell the truth or how I see it. If I am considered rude for it I don't worry because I know I'm not able to please all the people all the time. Yes, watch what you say but don't be afraid to speak for what you stand for.

  7. Most of us use Facebook, Twitter and blogs to keep in touch and "talk" to the world at large, but I've always remembered something I read (somewhere). Make sure that whatever you post on a public forum is something you'd have no problem with being printed as a newspaper headline. Once it's out there, it's out there, and no amount of retraction or apology can undo words said or printed. Too often I see banal posts about what someone ate for dinner, boring daily routines, and even vicious comments. Worse yet is forwarding inappropriate emails or jokes, etc to these public forums. Yes, its a great way to reach others, but be thoughtful in what you share, and think about how you wish to be perceived by others. When meeting in person, I agree wholeheartedly with angelaquarles-get your "game" face on and behave professionally if you want to be taken seriously. That doesn't mean have no sense of humor (which I think is essential), but at least look like you want to be there and appreciate the opportunity to promote yourself and your book/next project. It's a privilege, not a right.

  8. I think he'd be proud of what he sees. I'm not a terribly abrasive person but I tell the truth or how I see it. If I am considered rude for it I don't worry because I know I'm not able to please all the people all the time.

    British Food