QueryTracker Blog

Helping Authors Find Literary Agents

Monday, June 30, 2014

You Really Want To Avoid This…

If you’re reading this post, it means you’re either aiming to be published one day or you already are. To ensure you have a successful writing career, here are some things you’ll want to avoid doing:

1.    Complain about agents or editors on Twitter (or Facebook). This could be specific individuals or about agents and editors in general. It’s not professional, and you never know who might see or share your tweet.

2.    Whine about your rejections on public forums when using your real name. Now, I’ll be honest. I used to love reading blog posts in which writers announced their rejections of the week (and the occasional requests). It made me feel better because, well, you know what they say about misery and company. But if an agent happened to check out your blog, because you queried him, and saw all those rejections, do you think he’s going to request the full? Probably not.

3.    Use social media to complain about a book you read (unless you don’t include identifiers for it). Especially don’t tear it apart in the worst possible way. If you do, you might inadvertently insult a potential reader for your book.

4.    Please don’t post spoilers on Twitter and FB about books and TV shows (e.g Games of Thrones). Not everyone will have read the book or watched the season finale when you did. You might annoy a potential reader for your book and she won’t pick it up. Yes, I was beyond frustrated when an author I followed on Twitter forgot everyone following her could see her tweets to another person and she tweeted a plot spoiler for a book that had just come out. I unfollowed her.

5.    Review books and give them a low rating. This is a controversial topic. Some writers don’t see what the issue is and wonder why they can’t give an honest review. First, your reviews should always be honest. If you hated the book but gave it a great review (as in 4 or 5 stars), it might come back and haunt you if it comes out that you lied in your review. But if you hated a book and give it a bad review, it could later hurt you if the publisher is one you submitted to, and they’re not impressed with your cutting review.  If you want to be able to review all books on your blog, and not just the ones with a 4- and 5-star rating, you can always review under a pseudo.

6.    Bad mouth authors and their stories while you’re on social media sites. It’s not professional.

7.    Once you have a book out, don’t argue with the reviewer if you disagree with something they said. Everyone is entitled to their opinion. Publishing is a subjective business. If you do feel like arguing a point, it could go viral and you’ll be labeled a difficult author and that might lead to more negative reviews.

8.    If an agent or editor rejects your manuscript or query, it is never wise to email them back and rant how wrong the individual is. Same goes if you’re an author and ask another author if they will blurb your book, and they in the end saying no because they didn’t enjoy it. In that case, thank them for taking the time to read the story and move on.

9.    Spam all the social media sites you use…and only post spam. And while you’re at it, please avoid messaging people or sending DMs, asking individuals to buy your book and check out your Facebook page. Also, avoid using their Facebook page to post your spam. It won’t be appreciated by anyone, and especially not the page’s author.

Are there are any other suggestions you can think of that writers should avoid that could harm them later on?

Stina Lindenblatt @StinaLL writes New Adult novels. In her spare time, she’s a photographer and can be found at her blog/website. She is represented by Marisa Corvisiero, and finds it weird talking about herself in third person. Her debut New Adult contemporary romance TELL ME WHEN (Carina Press, HQN) is now available. LET ME KNOW (Carina Press) will be available Sept 1st, 2014.


Author R. Mac Wheeler said...


So...act professionally...

Ash Krafton | @ashkrafton said...

Absolutely act professionally!

Good advice for new writers who are making the transition from Private Individuals With Opinions to Public Authors With Reputations To Protect.


Theresa Milstein said...

Stina, this is a thoughtful and helpful list.

I'm always conflicted about reviewing. When I write reviews, I try to balance what I liked with what I didn't, but I'm honest with stars. According to Goodreads, 2 stars means, "It was okay." That's not so bad, right? If I read a book and it's from a writer who's a friend and I want to give it less than 3 stars, I won't review it.

I like your advice about not giving too much info about rejections.

Unknown said...

All great points. I'm in the middle of reading a book for review and I wasn't sure how to go about it. It's okay, but some parts I don't like.

Now I understand how to proceed. Thanks for these tips!

Alina K. Field said...

Great post, Stina. Some of the points came up in a local writer's online forum. I take it that once you're a successful author, the "elbow-rubbing" from newbies trying to sell books can get hot and heavy, and a little overbearing. I guess it all comes down to the things we should have learned in Pre-K: "do unto others" and "how to take "no" for an answer".