Went to a publisher party the other night and had a number of very interesting experiences.
It was chock full of people, most of whom I didn’t know, but I did see a dear acquaintance of mine and went over to say hello. She’s always worked on the business side of children’s literature. She’s attended conferences and festivals all around the world.
We were talking to a couple of people in the media and shamelessly, I name dropped that I’d met Cornelia Funke. And I told the media people, “Oh she was so nice! So down to earth.”
And then my friend said, “I met her too! And yes! She’s just lovely!” And then she added something interesting! “All the really good authors are!”
And I thought, “Wow!”
On one level that makes so much sense!
Forget all the movies you might have watched where people are scrambling over each other, and stabbing each other in the back. Oh yes, that does happen, I’m not saying it doesn’t, but what my friend was saying is that the people who really make it, who are really big, are very nice.
And I think I agree.
Wouldn’t you think it had to be that way? Because you don’t publish in a vacuum, and if you’re not nice to people, then they really won’t promote your work to the fullest extent. Even if your work is fabulous, even if you’re making them tons of money, if you’re a jerk to them, they’ll play it out because they know that sooner or later your star will fade.
But the people who really make it, who show consistent quality, and then rise to the next level…well those are people who are being supported by the companies with which they work, consistently.
They have forged good relationships, I imagine.
In short…people WANT to work with them.
Now being nice won’t get you published, but once you’ve got something worthwhile to sell, being nice and easy to work with really goes a long way towards people wanting to work with you again!
That’s what I’m saying.
And then of course, I had to look back at my own behaviour through the years, and I realized that the more successful I got, the nicer I got.
When I was first starting out, I think I was a bit prickly because I was scared people were trying to rip me off. Not so any more.
Food for thought.