Thirteen Reasons Not To “Pee In Your Own Pool”

There have been many discussions about this topic. Like this one. (This argument was about an author giving a review, but still…).
Recently, bad business karma came back to bite someone in the ass in our little pool and it made me think of aaaaaalllll the reasons why behaving badly in our little digital authory online world isn’t a good idea. It might not make you lose money, but I’m going with the idea that people are interested in MORE out of life than just money.
1. A Good Reputation Is Gold
I can think of one person who I don’t buy, don’t submit to and don’t deal with EVER because of something she did in her past dealings. Normally, I’m a forgiving soul, but she blamed everyone else for her behavior and then played the victim. Epic Fail!
2. Editors Do Talk
To each other, to their publishers, to other authors. We would like to think it’s all “confidential”, but it isn’t.
3. Publishers Do Talk
To each other, to agents, to other authors. Even the really big ones. And you never know where they’ll do it. I was at a Tor party and OVERHEARD a conversation between an editor and her author (of a different house). And yes, they were discussing an author I didn’t know. And yes, I do remember.
4. Other Authors Are Our Strength
Some of you may disagree with this, but I’ve seen this work time and again. Even the big names have a small circle of OTHER AUTHORS that they trust and discuss stuff with. I’ve also seen some bad behavior come back and bite people in the ass. Trust me. Even if you don’t think it will, it does eventually.
5. Readers Read
And not just our books. They read about our books. They read our blogs and they read what other authors/readers say about us. And if you’re at an EC party and you get caught in a video, they see that too. They’re pretty savvy. If they think you’re a wackjob, some of them quit buying your shit.
6. People Judge
Fact of life. Our words have power and people make decisions about us based on them. Sometimes we can change their mind, but not usually.
7. Digital Book Sales are Driven By Personality
Some won’t agree with me on this, but I do think it plays a part. Can you think of the CEO of Kensington? Or Tor? Or Berkeley? But most of us know Chrissy Bashears runs Samhain and we’re familiar with the name Jaid Black Enterprises (EC). And how about Carina’s Angela James?
8. Start Up Ebook Companies Are Vetted Vigorously
Due to so many people being ripped off by ebook companies in the past, a newer company takes a beating when they start. And if you screwed up #1? Chances are people won’t be warm to your venture.
9. When Times Get Tough, Where will you go?
I’ve seen this happen too. Piss enough people off and when the world comes crashing down (your publisher drops you, your agent drops you, your books don’t sell, your ebook company steals your rights) often those you’ve screwed over aren’t very helpful. They may not actively mock you, but they sure as hell don’t feel sorry for you. That old “Pride Goeth Before a Fall” thing has merit.
10. You Never Know Who You’re “Pissing” on
You might say something crappy about someone or piss someone off and never even realize her best friend is friggin’ Nora Roberts or something. Maybe you think “Oh, it’s just an epubbed author. No one cares about them.” Yeah? These days, there’s a lot of NY pubbed authors who began as ebook authors. And though that doesn’t translate into career suicide or anything, it can keep you from being a part of some cool stuff IMHO.
11. If Everybody Starts Doing It, The Pool Gets Pretty Foul
How many of us have seen THIS one. One kerfuffle can lead to so many hurt feelings and ugly comments that it just isn’t worth me “telling them how it is” to feel better.
12. Karma Really Works
I know this. Not only have I seen it come around on authors, but it’s happened to me. It’s not like I’m the soul of discretion! I learned this shit the hard way!
13. The Humboldt County Rule
Though it’s a little different on the internet. The rule here is “Be careful who you trash someone to. They’re probably related to them.” On the internet, the degrees of separation aren’t as many as you think. I’m not saying not to tell the truth, but to remember that “every action has an equal and opposite reaction”.



Filed under Humboldt County, Thursday Thirteen

17 responses to “Thirteen Reasons Not To “Pee In Your Own Pool”

  1. I think it’s always important to be as professional as is humanly possible. I know it’s not always easy to do, too. Sometimes, valid complaints/criticisms need to be voiced – but there’s almost always a professional way to do it. If there isn’t, the opinion simply shouldn’t be voiced.

    And that “Humboldt County Rule” is a sure thing, which is why tact and diplomacy are so important.

    A very important list you’ve shared with us all, today. Here’s hoping people take this good advice to heart.

    • Jen

      I definitely think concerns should be voiced. I am SO GRATEFUL to the other experienced authors I could email/talk to who listened to my fears, my troubles and my bitches.
      I find, however, too many folks “post before they think”. And find a maelstrom of criticism when they do it.

  2. I agree completely with what you and Kimberly have said. I always try to act professional in every thing I do or attempt to do. I learned from watching others how not doing so can be a bad, bad thing. Great list, Jen! 🙂

    • Jen

      There’s no one so bad that can’t be a good bad example. LOL! I’m grateful to the authors who had to go through HELL to teach me some of these lessons.

  3. I think you should act proper and not do things that will bite you in the long run. Best not to burn bridges….

    • Jen

      It’s such a balancing act, though!
      One of the problems in our little pool is that silence isn’t always a good thing either.
      Professionally dealing with unprofessional people is one of the most difficult things I’ve EVER done. And I don’t always do it well.

  4. This was a great post. I am new in our little world of writing and epubbing, and I am always looking for advice in how to behave. Thanks for the direction.

    • Jen

      I can think of several authors who have shown me good authory behavior. Crystal Jordan, Kristen Painter, Kate Pearce and Joey W. Hill to name a few have shown me generosity and professionalism.

  5. Why don’t people have more common sense? Thanks for the great post!

    • Jen

      I think some people find it easier to say ugly things online-things they would never say in person. Hitting the “send” or “post” button is final, cached forever.

  6. Yep, karma really works. Even offline in normal dealings it’s best to be polite.

  7. I believe in karma that’s for sure. Bad behavior always comes back to bite you in the ass. Great list and topic, Jen.

  8. AMEN! Definitely something I needed to hear right now and keep on ‘speed-dial’ for in the future. I try to be ‘professional’ in my dealings but even professionals screw up so often times it’s just best not to say anything at all.

    Thanks for a great post, Jen! Happy T13!

  9. I try to be level-headed and professional online period. It doesn’t always work, because everyone has a bad day, but I do try.

    There are quite a few people I refuse to ever try or communicate with solely based on how I’ve seen them act online. They could be the next Nora Roberts and I won’t read them. I want to read an author that I *like* or would like, if I knew them. And on the same side, there are a few people I’ve read or want to read because of how they act.

    More people definitely need to keep your list in mind, Jen.

  10. Smart advice. Thanks for the reminder, Jen!

  11. Item number one… There are actually several authors I will no longer buy because of past actions or dealings with them. Readers have strong memories, and they are very long. And, authors need to remember that it’s not just *one* reader they lose, because that person will be sure to tell others about what happened. Word of mouth can be extremely lethal, especially in this age of electronics.

    Excellent post, Jennifer!

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