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Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Advice from Carolyn Kaufman, Part 1: Professionalism

It is such a joy to blog here again after several years away. My name is Mary Lindsey, and I was one of the original Querytracker bloggers, along with H.L Dyer, Suzette Saxton Fisher, Elana Johnson, and Carolyn Kaufman

It was a tremendous loss, not only to me, personally, but to QueryTracker community, her college students and fellow professors, her family and friends, and to aspiring and established authors when Carolyn Kaufman died unexpectedly in September 2013 of a brain aneurism.

When I mentioned to Patrick McDonald, (owner/creator/designer of QueryTracker.net) that I had come across an old interview I did for Carolyn's first book, we agreed it would be a nice tribute to Carolyn, and all the hard work she did on behalf of aspiring authors, to post some of her wisdom as a tribute. So, here we go!

Here's the first bit of advice she had for aspiring authors (second tip will be posted on July 2):

What I’ve Learned: Advice for Writers Who Aspire to Publish 
Dr. Carolyn Kaufman 1973-2013
 1. Treat everyone well at every step along the publishing path. That includes your crit buddies, agents and their assistants, editors, publicists, and anyone else you encounter along the way. How well you write is important, but I genuinely believe professionalism is nearly as important. If you’re arrogant, entitled, mean, petty, or refuse to be a team player, nobody is going to want to work with you. There’s a reason most authors’ Acknowledgements page is lengthy – they didn’t reach the finish line (of publication) alone.

It seems like such an obvious suggestion: Be professional and treat people well. And it is… until the drama begins. Bad reviews. Inflammatory blog posts or Tweets. Flame wars on forums. The online drive by nastiness can suck a writer in and under and make Carolyn's advice nearly impossible to follow.

But follow her advice.

The professional contacts and friends I've made over the years have been one of the most important aspects of my success as a writer.

Carolyn lived up to her own advice, setting an example not only as an author and expert, but as a personal friend and critique partner. I was fortunate enough to have her as a critique partner for several years, and though her critiques were often harsh, they never came across as anything other than honest and professional--like Carolyn herself. She is terribly missed by all of us at QueryTracker.

Carolyn Kaufman's bio and articles on psychology for writers can be found on the Psychology Today Blog, where she was a contributor. Her book, The Writer's Guide to Psychology: How to Write Accurately about Psychological Disorders, Clinical Treatment and Human Behavior, is available for purchase and is an excellent resource for established and aspiring writers.

Mary Lindsey is one of the founding members of the QT Blog. 

She writes young adult novels for Penguin USA and is the author of Shattered Souls, Fragile Spirits, and Ashes on the Waves. She also writes adult romance for Entangled Publishing as Marissa Clarke. Love Me To Death is scheduled for publication October, 2014. 

Mary is represented by Kevan Lyon of the Marsal Lyon Literary Agency and can be found the following places: Twitter, Facebook, MaryLindsey.com and MarissaClarke.com


Stina said...

Carolyn always had the best advice. Thanks, Mary, for posting this.

Mary Lindsey / Marissa Clarke said...

She did. Thanks, Stina. xoxo

Patrick said...

Thanks for this, Mary. Carolyn had a lot of great things to say and I think it is wonderful that you are keeping her words alive.

Mary Lindsey / Marissa Clarke said...

She was very special, Patrick. So are you. :) Thanks for all you do for writers.

Annie Louden said...

Holy crap, I miss her!

Mary Lindsey / Marissa Clarke said...

Me too, Annie. xoxo