Monday, 17 June 2013

Oh, Behave!

by Valerie Mann

What a fabulous world we get to play in! Speaking as a romance author, editor and whatever else I find to do in the romance world, I have more fun than I probably have the right to. In fact, I keep wondering why it took me so long to get here!

But (you knew there’d be a but after all that yippee ki-yay, right?), it never fails to amaze me how many people who play in my wonderful world are actually just adult versions of the kids I played with on the playground. From the peacemakers to the bullies. Human nature never changes.

Have you ever played the Six Degrees game? You know, where you figure out how many degrees removed you are from somebody else. Like, I’m only one degree removed from Daniel Craig because I met a woman who worked on a movie set with him. *sigh* I despise that one degree so much J

Which brings me to my real point: the world is a big place, but the romance world is oh-so-small. If you work or play in this playground, you are never more than one degree removed from everyone else. Okay, so it might not be as thrilling as, say, one degree away from Daniel Craig (you know you’re jealous), but it’s still important to remember that you have to behave and play nice—with everybody on the playground. No matter who they are, whether they’re already “famous” or a name you don’t recognize, you know somebody who knows that person, or they know somebody who knows you.  

Obviously, I’m working through some recent BS with arrogant and bitchy people who need a lesson in romance playground etiquette. But I need to follow my own advice and keep my mouth shut (while retaining a long memory!). Instead, I'll blog about it and maybe have some self-induced therapy at the same time. 

Here is my list of proper romance playground etiquette:

* Say nice things in public, rant to your friends in private.
* Make sure the friends you rant to are really your friends.
* Don't bitch about your publishers and/or editors in public. They'll definitely find out about it. And they talk to other publishers and editors. All the time. Trust me on this.
*Facebook, Twitter, Google+, etc. are NOT your friends. They are tools to promote your business. Don't trust them for anything more than that.
* Don't be a bully. Everyone started at the bottom. Including me and you.
What would YOU add to this list? 
How have you handled playground BS? 


Alexa Bourne said...

GREAT post! I try to live my writing life like my real life. If I don't have something nice to say, I don't say anything at all. Also, I try to treat others as I would like to be treated.

Liz said...

Don't put too much faith in how others are truly willing to help you. Paying it forward is good (I do it for a select few) but some folks will never be willing to have your back when it counts no matter how much you have boosted them up.
good post Val. I hate this job sometimes. today is one of those times.....

Harlie Reader said...

As a reviewer/owner of a review site, I've been burned too many times. I've never publicly denounced an author but I do have a list of them that are not welcome on my blog because of their behavior.

Great post and yes, social media is NOT your friend.


Molly Daniels said...

Unfortunately, courtesy is not being taught to the younger generation. Not when acting badly gets you noticed or 'air time', which is too bad. People want drama instead of Utopia.

I'll take Utopia and save the drama for the two reality shows I DO watch: Survivor and Big Brother.

Excellent post Val!

Taryn Kincaid said...

Have not, so far, had a problem with social media...or even Goodreads for that matter. My favorite GR review was "this is effed up" without anything more! Anyone who reads my books, BUYS my books is entitled to an opinion...even if I am not always sure of their reading comprehension ability! Still, it's been more good than bad and I appreciate that more than I can say.
As for paying it forward...special shout out to the extremely generous Rebecca Royce, who sprinkles plot bunnies hither and yon and onto her fellow authors, like some kind of fairy godmother!

Liz said...

oh, on recent experience, don't offer too many opinions on other author's books, even presented as a "review." As an author, you are a little limited in how your "review" will be perceived. Trust me. I learned the hard way.

Valerie Mann said...

Anyone who has been in this business long enough will encounter the "mean girls", and you'll get burned by people you thought were your "friend" but were actually using your back as a step stool to the next level.

I'm pretty stupid. I'm a what-you-see-is-what-you-get kind of person. I have no agenda, EVER. I'm also a Yankee and stuff shoots out of my mouth that I sometimes regret. But I don't use people, I don't disrespect people (unless I'm lashing back after they dished crap out to me or my loved ones) and this makes me stupid sometimes...I don't see the agenda of others and I constantly get blindsided by people who aren't like me.

Publishers have Do Not Publish lists...I have a You're On My Shit List list. If you aren't nice to me or someone I care about, I will never help you like I would have otherwise. And honestly, who wants that kind of negativity anyway. Just live by the Golden Rule. It's not hard to do! And it has so many benefits!

Jaime Samms said...

That Golden Rule is applicable in this business, too, Val, and if you think the romance world is small, have a gander around the m/m romance world. Minuscule. There is no place to hide the ugly, so just don't do it. And I'm like you. I am what you see. Exactly the same in person (I hope)as I am online and I take people at the same face value. Which I should know better than to do by now, but *sigh* There it is.

All I know is I had one of the best starts a person could hope for in the business, with the editors I worked with out of the gate, and the publishers who have helped me along along the way, and I hope I manage to give even a fraction of what they gave me back.

Anthology Authors said...

Yup, publishers talk... a lot. :D The old adage "if you can't say anything nice, don't say anything at all" rings true no matter what business you are in. Every business pool is small, no matter how big it appears to be. The movie biz is very small. The publishing biz is very small. Even if people seem to be competitors, the chance is that they talk and will help each other by passing on information. Why? Because none of us want to see anyone suffer from the same thing we did. Okay. Well, most of us don't. Those who don't learn this when they are young may learn it too late.

Courtesy, while at times may seem hard, is really the best policy. It pays to be professional all of the time, whether you want to be or not. If you aren't, it can come back to bite you.

And, yes, The Golden Rule is the best rule to live by.