Key Number Six: Kill The Arrogant Attitude Key Number Seven: Learn To Take Professional Advice

Once you finish your manuscript, it’s easy for pride to become arrogance if we’re not careful.  What is arrogance? Webster’s defines it this way: an attitude of superiority manifested in an overbearing manner or in presumptuous claims or assumptions.  My take on it?  Thinking that you know more about the publishing business than professionals who do this job for a living and presuming that you have a right to tell them how to do their job! Think about it. How would you feel if you were responsible to hire someone for a position  that you had held for years and  an inexperienced college student walks in for an interview. You begin to explain to her about how the job works and what the job requirements are and before you are finished she begins telling you what you will be missing if you don’t hire them and that they are the next CEO of the company waiting to happen. She further tells you it would be the biggest mistake of your life if you don’t hire her immediately before she slips through your fingers. You would think this person was pretty arrogant, right?  Yet many new writers do this very thing when presenting themselves (yes, you are presenting yourself along with your work, in case you didn’t know) and their project to a prospective agent or editor. Do you begin to see how this book professional feels when you begin to tell them how this exciting new manuscript of yours is the most exciting thing to come across thier desk in years and what a mistake they would be making to pass it by?  

  It’s okay to take pride in your work, in fact it’s desirable when refining your project and putting that final polish on it before you submit to an agent or editor. But once your project is the best you can make it and you send it out, you should now open your mind to recieve constructive criticism and advice from professionals who have been working in the publishing business for many more years than you have.

It isn’t true that these professionals are out to make you feel bad, or to cause you to give up looking for an agent/editor, or to make you feel that you are not good enough to make it in the business. In fact, just the opposite is true. Agents and acquisitions editors are ALWAYS looking for new talent! They are searching for that fresh, new voice that will make them sit up and take notice. That new writer who is so good, it makes them want to read more. So why shouldn’t you be that one who fulfills this role?

Remember, don’t fall in love with what you have written so much that you refuse to take suggestions from those who know. Chances are, if an agent or editor takes time away from their very busy schedule to ask you if you are willing to rewrite a portion of your story, and takes it a step further and points out the weaknesses in your story, they are considering taking you on as a client. If you stubbornly hold on to the notion that what you have written is perfect and doesn’t need anything and that it is fine the way it is–that professional doesn’t know a good thing when they see it. This is where pride can become arrogance.  This attitude might just cost you the very thing you’re after. The publishing contract.

Those who work at the business of buying and selling books have most likely studied the market, they know what is selling, they know what is hot and they have an idea of how a new writer stacks up against the competition.  And yes, this is a VERY competitive business.  They know what it takes to make it in the business, and listening might help you land the agent/editor you’re after,

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