Yesterday's post on nudging gave rise to this comment from blog reader
>solid professionalism. In other words, in a way that underscored she'd be a pleasure to work with.
I know you've mentioned this before, but how important is professionalism? Would you refuse to work w/ a highly talented and skilled writer if said writer was more of a pain in the ass than red-hot caltrops on your chair?(1) Would you work w/ a writer who was far from ready, if said writer displayed excellent manners and a professional attitude?(2)
Would you suspect the writer's attitude might go public, and would lose too many potential readers.(3)
In your post "How to be Stupid" you discuss how rudeness can cause a writer to lose a publisher, especially a small publisher. You suggest that '(i)f you're the kind of person who flies off the handle or needs "translation services" an agent is a good medium between you and the publisher.' But how much rudeness will an agent take?
Obviously I need more things about which to worry. "Am I polite enough to my potential agent?" should be a good one.
Please. Thank you. I appreciate your time and effort. I apologize. And I hope you have a nice day.
If you're even thinking about this, you're going to be ok.
The writers who end up in trouble are the ones who are either oblivious or don't care.
Let's address your questions one by one:
(1) Would you refuse to work w/ a highly talented and skilled writer if said writer was more of a pain in the ass than red-hot caltrops on your chair?
What kind of PITA is the writer? Are they meticulous about their writing and thus working right up till the deadline, causing everyone to tear out their hair? I love those writers. Line 'em up.
Is the writer unable to follow directions, or certain s/he knows the right way without asking, and when corrected, still can't get it right? Not so much. No one is born knowing all the minutiae of publishing but most clients pick it up on the first go-round. The ones who don't or can't, again, not good candidates. Those people are generally weeded out before signing though. I can spot 'em pretty quickly now.
Is the writer rude to his/her editor, publisher, the minions in my office? No dice. Unless the writer is earning multi-millions, there's little chance I'll put up with that. Life's too short to work with people who create more problems than they're worth.
(3)Would you suspect the writer's attitude might go public, and would lose too many potential readers. Yes. And that can be a huge problem. HUGE.
(2)Would you work w/ a writer who was far from ready, if said writer displayed excellent manners and a professional attitude?
I expect every writer I work with to do this. It's not a bonus. It's not something that's an afterthought.
Again, if you're even wondering about this, you're going to be just fine. Worry instead about those plot holes in chapter 11, they're much more likely to trip you up than this is.