Good Manners Help to Create and Sell Books

Authors care very deeply about their a course in miracles. Often those books are like children to them. They spend months or years writing their books so of course they want the world to take notice and appreciate their work. However, just as an overly aggressive parent can ruin a child’s chance for success, authors can do the same for their books if they fail to have common courtesy or to remember the human side of those who will make their book successful-the editors, cover designers, and other book production people; the book reviewers; and their readers. Here are some simple pointers for authors about proper etiquette required for getting their books noticed. Ultimately, it boils down to remembering your manners.

Follow Guidelines

As the manager of a book review company, I get numerous requests for reviews each week, including requests for free book reviews. Because we have to make money somehow, we have to charge for the book reviews, and that in turn means paying the reviewers, as well as the many staff members who maintain the website, interview the authors, and do a host of other activities to help promote the authors’ books.

I can’t tell you how many requests we get from authors who think somehow their book deserves special attention or is so special they should not have to pay for the same service every other author does, or authors who simply do not bother to read our guidelines, to take the time to be courteous enough to find out what we do and how best to work with us.

Most reviewers, publishers, or other companies associated with the book publishing world are very reasonable. They have submission guidelines for a reason-to answer the author’s questions and to let the author know what is needed to save the author time and trouble. In turn, it also saves the reviewer or publisher time, not having to chase after the author for information or having to answer multiple emails or phone calls.

Bottom line, if you’re an author and you want your book considered for publication, for review, or for any other service, take a few minutes to read the guidelines and understand how the company or reviewer functions. Those guidelines were put there to make your life easier. If you were invited to a dinner party that started at 6 o’clock, you wouldn’t show up at 5 o’clock, so why would you fail to follow directions for something far more important-getting attention from the people who can help to make your book a success?

Have Reasonable Expectations

In this fast-paced world we live in, people expect things immediately, but being demanding or unreasonable will only turn people off from you as an author.

I have independent editor friends who experience this sense of demand from authors all the time. It can take a long time to edit or proofread a book. It certainly isn’t something that should be rushed, yet my editor friends tell me all the time that authors submit books to them on Friday and want to know, “Can I have it back on Monday?” or “Tomorrow.” Even if editors choose to work weekends, they find few authors thank them for their extra effort spending what should be their free time to finish editing a book.

Perhaps some of these unreasonable expectations are the result of authors not understanding how time-consuming editing can be or that proofreading requires slow diligent reading (although they should considering how long it took them to write the book). The bottom line is “Do you want it done now, or do you want it done right?” An editor is doing you a huge favor, even if you are paying him, in making your book as good as possible. He’s the last person you want to hound since you don’t want him to miss anything in editing or proofreading your book that could hurt it down the road.

The same is true with cover designers, website designers, or book reviewers. While you should receive a reasonable turn-around, such as fourteen days for a book review, simply asking for a timeframe up front and planning ahead so you will give the person providing the service sufficient time is the best policy. Be polite and be conscientious about other people’s time.

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