I am probably sure that you have been wondering when I was going to write something myself and why this hasn’t been posted on a Monday. Well, I haven’t posted anything since I have been going through a long period of recovery from some major personal issues that I won’t go into detail so much here. I have also been queried by quite a few writers for guest posts and during this time and it has worn me out–it is both good and bad in ways. I have some guests on the next 3 Mondays, so I need to get this one in.
This dealing with possible guests is what developed today’s post. This can go for seasoned as well as newbie writers. I have heard this spoken several times and wasn’t sure why. It seemed like that this rule would be considered obvious–like ‘No duh!’ obvious.
Everything you write should be your best.
You know the old cliche: “You have only one chance at a first impression”? It’s so true, no matter what you do–even in writing. So make that first impression good for heaven’s sake!
Now, I am not talking so much about querying a large publisher. Everyone knows how much you have to dot your I’s and cross your T’s to even get looked at. A lot of times the mundane, day to day things like tweeting, Facebook Posts, and emails go unnoticed or disregarded. No matter who you are emailing it to–friends or a professional you just met–impress people. All the time. Every time.
Now, I know everyone has those off days where they can’t seem to type their own name and others their fingers flawlessly fly across the keyboard. I get it, but the delete and backspace keys are there for a reason. Also there are times that one little typo can get through or autocorrect hangs you up, but trying to put for the effort to get it as error free as possible is the point here–don’t feed the perfectionism monster. People can tell when you are trying and when you aren’t.
It’s been said, “Everything you post is a sample of your writing.” Facebook and Twitter are called “microblogging”.
Now this is the reason why I am writing this post and why I will have to update my Guidelines with an Editorial Policy:
There have been quite a few writers I have worked with that did an outstanding job with the first impression with the perfect query emails and a dynamite article which I published. Needless to say they came back and I was hoping of more the same, but instead I got anything but.
The first sign of immediate decline came from the “Thank You” email after that immediately succeeded the flawless query and article that I sent the live link to. The one or two sentences I got for thanks had horrendous spelling, grammar, or sentence structure. Almost like a spam bot had written it. I scratched my head and hoped this wasn’t a sign.
The next time I was sent an article for my review, the article was in dire shape. The content might have been good, but it was so riddled with errors and improper sentence structure that it was beyond redemption and readability. This happened several times with a couple different writers, but I think they were from the same group. I already state that I don’t edit posts, and that’s the job of the writer. This is not the only blog I operate (I operate 2 more co operate 2 others, and may have a 3rd on the way), and I am also an author and have many, many things to write. In the guidelines I state that posts will be posted ‘as is’ meaning that I am not going to be changing headings, images, etc, etc after it is posted. I know that I will have to be clear on this so that people won’t be thinking that I will post pure unreadable dross or any willy-nilly topic.
Needless to say I didn’t accept the post, and the writers then asked for me to highlight the errors and send it back for the corrections. I do this and hope for the best, but they never come through. One writer was brazen enough to send a completely different article with the same poor editorial quality that was off the branding of this blog which is clearly stated in the guidelines and tried to strong arm me into publishing it. I had to respectfully decline, and told the writer to please respect me and my readers–definitely my readers.
A couple of the writers were getting a bit terse and rude with me and tried to force me to do something I wasn’t going to do.
Readers are why I do anything I do. They are why this blog is successful. They are the ones coming back here since something I am doing seems to be working, and they like the content and the quality thereof. To do anything less would be an insult to them–readers are smart contrary to what some writers may think. Readers don’t like to be treated as they are dumb; I know I don’t when I enter their shoes since I do read–a lot.
I want readers to keep coming back. I hope they will bring friends. Old reliable ones as well as new ones–the more the merrier. That’s the whole idea, isn’t it?
So writers, if you approach people and say you are a professional writer, write and act like it. Own it. Respect the bloggers and their readers (especially the readers!) whom you want to share your content. Make good on all impressions after the first. If any household name didn’t follow this rule, then they would have fallen from fame. A ten-minute edit of a post or an email can mean the life or death of your negotiations with a blogger, reader, or a publisher. As I said in a earlier post: editing can kill you. So put for the effort.
You can thank me later. The Guidelines will be updated soon.
Questions? Comments? Leave them below!