One of our regular BRP contributors, Diana Hurwitz, had this to say on the topic:
Stories have the power to shape the collective consciousness. You can write with brutal honesty about what has happened and what could happen without suggesting that it should happen. Your work has a slant - perhaps a subliminal one. As a writer, you should at least be aware of the message you send and make sure it is the one you intended.How we use our words is indeed important, and it is also important to consider how we act as professional writers. Addressing that need to always put a professional foot forward, was an interesting article on Writer Unboxed, written by Katharine Grubb. She asked some ethical questions that focus on how writers present themselves and handle business dealings, such as:
- Are we honest in all our financial business dealings?
- Do we refrain from slamming another author's work?
- Do we publicly bemoan every negative review?
- Do we love our readers?
When we slip into anything less than love for our reader we turn the beautiful into the ugly.I liked that reminder that we need to have that kind of respect for the people who read our books.
In the blog piece, Katharine linked to the Alliance of Independent Authors (ALLi) - a professional association for authors who self-publish, and the organization fosters ethics and excellence in self-publishing. One of their campaigns is encouraging ethical behaviors, and authors can make a pledge to keep those high standards. There's even a neat badge you can put on your website.
To join the campaign, a writer agrees to the following code of behavior:
The campaign has a list of eight ways to adhere to this code covering courtesy, respect, and honesty.When I market my books, I put my readers first. This means that I don’t engage in any practices that have the effect of misleading the readers/buyers of my books. I behave professionally online and offline when it comes to the following practices in my writing life:
I'll have to admit that I found it a bit disheartening that writers need to be reminded of these things, but then I remembered that there have always been some writers who just don't seem to get it when it comes to professionalism. Most notable are the authors who have used interviews and social media to rant about a negative review or make themselves appear more important than they really are. On the ListVerse website is a list of ten writers who took themselves too seriously. Among them are Nicholas Sparks, Anne Rice, and Jacqueline Howett.
Earlier on there was Gore Vidal, who publicly shared his hatred of so many people including Joyce Carol Oates, journalists in general, Henry Miller and Walt Whitman. He was notoriously outspoken in interviews and once told William F. Buckley, junior to shut up. L. Ron Hubbard was noted for fabricating his past, and Norman Mailer was no saint. He stabbed his wife, then allegedly told a friend, "Let the bitch die."
Imagine how those bad boys could have burned up the Twitter feed.
In this age of instant everything, it is too easy to dash off some Tweet or comment on Facebook that may come back to bite us in the butt. What do you do to resist that impulse? Have you ever not resisted the impulse? What is your response to a negative comment or review of your work?
|Posted by Maryann Miller - novelist, screenwriter, editor and sometimes actress. Her most recent mystery, Doubletake, was chosen as the Best Mystery for 2015 by the Texas Association of Authors. She also writes the critically acclaimed Seasons Mystery Series. All of her books are available as e-books and as paperbacks, and a complete listing can be found on the books page of her website. For information about her editing services, visit her website. When not working, Maryann likes to take her dog for a walk and work outside on her little ranch in East Texas.|