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Monday, August 09, 2010

 

The Diva Dilemma

Write a book, hook an agent, land a contract. Next step: seeing your novel move from print to the silver screen. You know your book is a Hollywood match made in heaven.


Many new (and even some established) writers need to remember that once an agent signs you and your novel, those stars in your eyes may not come from the flash of the paparazzi. Those sparkly lights may come from a swift knock to the head - a wake-up dose of reality - from your agent or editor.

So, drama queens, you must learn how to navigate the publishing world without causing a scene. Editors and agents would much prefer that you stick to writing one. :)

Want to avoid coming off as a needy, clingy, difficult,it's-all-about-me, it's-my-novel-and-I'll-avoid-change author? Follow these guiding lights and create an engaging relationship with those who can take you to the stars: agents and editors.
  1. Meet deadlines. Editors and agents establish target dates for a reason. When writers miss deadlines, trust erodes in the relationships you're attempting to establish. If you know you're going to miss the cut-off date, let your editor and agent know prior to the actual deadline. Usually, a plan can be worked out, but silence, in this case, is not golden. It shows you may be difficult to work with.
  2. Make it personal. Has your editor given you stellar ideas that improve your writing? Tell her thank you. A handwritten note goes a long way and lets your editor know that you appreciate her time and opinion.
  3. Maintain professionalism. Sometimes, authors are so anxious to see their ideas printed in any form that they forget that the road to publication features several distinct stops, a.k.a. the agent's trash can and the editor's desk. Don't hound or make outrageous demands. Trust your agent. Listen to your editor. Chances are, they've been involved in the game for quite a while. And if you do have a grievance, follow the chain of command.
  4. Meet other writers. Network, network, network. Join a critique group, especially one that is brutally honest about your work. They will question and make you consider 'why' you wrote something in a certain way. It will make your work stronger.
  5. Manage modesty. Writing is hard work! Once you accept the professional advice available to you, your labor of intense work and love will be printed. But it's important to remember that writing isn't about you, the author; it's about the story.

Don't turn into a diva who expects an agent or editor to hand you everything on a silver platter. The final product is so satisfying when you've built a solid relationship with the professionals and written the best work possible. Then, you can let your light shine.

by LuAnn Schindler. Read more of LuAnn's work at LuAnn's Writing on the Wall or follow the discussion on Facebook.

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