© 2015 Tracy Ruckman
As a book publisher and editor, nothing makes me happier than discovering writers who take their careers seriously. Most days, I love my job, but occasionally I want to pull out my hair. Those hair-pulling days usually involve new writers who appear not to care about their work, their careers, or their reputations. The days I love the best—and thankfully, that’s most of them—are when I work with writers who are passionate about their work, and it shows in everything they do.
I studied this roller coaster a bit, wondering why some authors seem to get this business and why others don’t. I realized the ones who do follow four simple precepts.
Authors who care about their careers as writers are diligent about the process. They study the craft of writing, knowing that the learning never stops. They also study the business side of writing, recognizing that even though their writing is a creative endeavor, they must consider their work from a business perspective. They read and follow directions and guidelines that publishers set, guidelines that vary by company. Diligent writers know this and research any company they wish to approach.
Authors who care about their careers are always professional. I’m typically a pretty laid-back person, and our authors become like family. But until authors are invited into that family, they should strive to present themselves as professional on every level.
Authors who care about their careers are always respectful. They value the time others spend on their projects, as well as the time those professionals spend on projects other than theirs. They value the opinions and expertise of professionals who offer critiques, suggestions, and even rejections. They realize rejections are part of the process, not a personal attack.
Authors who care about their careers are open to new ideas or suggestions. They like to think outside the box not only in their writing, but in their marketing, their visibility, and their approach to consumers. Their creativity is usually contagious in such a way that people are drawn to them.
I’m blessed to work with authors who exemplify these traits regularly. They’re diligent, professional, respectful, and creative: the kind of authors publishers dream about daily!
Tracy Ruckman owns two traditional publishing companies (Write Integrity Press and Pix-N-Pens), one subsidy press (TMP Books), and a digital magazine (Imaginate). She is also a full-time student seeking her MFA in Screenwriting. In her spare time, she loves to eat, sleep, and bathe. She’s proud mom to two grown sons and makes her home with the real-life Prince Charming in metro Atlanta.