Monday, May 21, 2012

Multiple submissions

Priorities: a guide to a simpler more professional life:

How many times have you been faced with a professional dilemma and wished you had a clear answer to the question: how can you walk a straight path without damaging a professional relationship? Most of us face this daily, especially when it comes to multiple submissions and setting professional priorities.

The first guide to this quandary comes from famous quotes: “To thine own self be true,” and “First come first served.” Good manners don't hurt either, but be warned, you “cannot please all of the people all of the time.” Writers must have the intestinal fortitude to “stick to their guns.”

These passe cliches come to us, courtesy of my grandmother, a stately lady with dozens of friends, Even at age 105, she had her priorities straight.

First there was her total loyalty to her family. One of 14 children, God and her father and mother had her full devotion. When she married, her husband came first. Then came her daughter (my mother), and finally me. Her friends were next, a distant next. They understood. Most of her generation followed the same rules. My grandmother was born in 1876.

It's only been since becoming a published author that I've seen the value of her wisdom and followed her guidance. The trick is not to fall off the course. Writers are introverted egotists – mostly. We love to be complimented on our work. We can be lead away from the priority path by an at-a-boy, money or an award.

Like most sales oriented minds, the suppliers of these compliments are acting in their own and their company's interests. They have priorities, too, and are following their path to success. As writers we must set our priorities, especially where our work ethics are involved, specifically true when juggling multiple submissions. My grandmother's advice: be true to yourself; first come first served; stick to your guns, and recognize that despite your good manners and fair treatment of others, you are not going to please everyone.

The reward comes in your consistency. You did the right thing, kept your integrity, and most of all people know what they can count on from you. It's not personal; it's professional.

Web site at Julie Eberhart Painter is the author of seven books. Her Champagne books include Mortal Coil, Tangled Web and the CTRR award-winning Kill Fee.


Liz Fountain said...

Love "stick to your guns." I haven't heard that expression in years - in fact I think it'd make a great writing prompt for my writing group. Thanks!

January Bain said...

I have learned so much from you, Julie, and it appears from a long tine of your ancestors! My grandmother was quite the inspiration to me, "never be late, treat other like you want to be treated, keep your dirty laundry to yourself, (One I wish more people would chose!) and remember be good to your family." I admired to her stiff upper lip yet tempered by compassion. I think with time passing us by so quickly that multiple submissions come about because of the push at our backs. No time for most authors to wait months for each answer. Great post!

Rosemary Gemmell said...

An excellent post, Julie - women of old had such wisdom and I hope we retain even a little of it. Sounds like you do!

Rita Bay said...

Very apropos, Julie. I don't plan on doing multiple submissions because it's just too confusing. While some publishers allow it, I just don't see the advantage. Rita Bay

Julie Eberhart Painter said...

Thank you all for stopping by, and for appreciating my grandmother's basic wisdom.