You are your brand. Whether published or not, whether an author or not, we live in a world where each of us has become a brand. College students interviewing for jobs have Twitter accounts, Facebook pages and resumes. They have a brand. Authors searching for publication have social media accounts and query letters. They have brands. Agents, editors, publishers, each of us probably works for a brand, but we are also a brand onto ourselves.
Knowing how your brand is judged or how your brand represents itself to the public is critical to your success. What kind of message are you giving with your Tweets, with your resume, or your query letter? Are you self-effacing, are you an optimist, are you engaging? All of this matters. Of course it does. We know this. What I think we often forget is how important our personal interaction still is. We talk so much about social media that we forget that talking to others still counts.
This entire blog post stems from a series of conversations I had with the same editor. These conversations were so off-putting that I’ll be very reluctant to submit to her in the future. While I know she’s kind, bright and a good editor, her current attitude gave me the impression that she’s not the kind of person I want to work with. She just doesn’t seem to be someone who is really going to go to bat for my clients, and I only want editors I know will fight for my clients whenever necessary.
While I encourage all of us to be real, I also encourage everyone to pay attention to the impression you give. Giving hard news or even a rejection is one thing. What matters is the attitude with which you give it. If I’m continually being told how hard things are, how much has changed and that you can’t buy a certain type of book anymore, and you come across as if the sky is falling, I’m going to be concerned. I just don’t know that you have the guts and ambition to be the editor I want for my clients.
Rejection is fine, and sometimes you just hate something. That’s fine too. The difference is your attitude. Are you still looking to see more from me? Are you ever disappointed that you weren’t given the go-ahead to make something happen? Do you want to see more from me and what? Are you excited about anything?!
I don’t want an editor who seems despondent and defeated. I’m pretty sure authors don’t want an editor who seems like a defeatist, or an agent for that matter. Thinking about our brand, and how we present ourselves to others, is an important part of building our success stories.
**Please note that this doesn’t imply to client-agent conversations. If a client is feeling discouraged or despondent about her career I hope she will always call to discuss her concerns and we can build strategies for turning things around.