Sunday, April 03, 2011

Truth In Offending

Have you ever gone somewhere selling an exceptional product only to be put off by rude and/or cavalier employees? I have. And I can say unequivocally that I will not return. I won't complain. I simply won't return. To me, customer service is a prong of professionalism.

As writers, we are selling a product. Like other branches of the entertainment industry, a writer has fans excited about their work (hopefully). Some are more zealous than others. Yet, nothing will turn off a loyal fan faster than an author who acts as though dealing with fans is beneath them.

To my way of thinking, professionalism includes a good dose of common courtesy that extends beyond agents and editors. We, as professionals, should be considerate to our readers (including book reviewers). After all, readers want to be in it for the long haul too.

9 comments:

Louisa Cornell said...

Hear, hear! Pointed and, may I add, a most professional post about a subject sadly neglected in the training of aspiring writers.

I am sure everyone has read the very public career suicide posted on a reviewer's blog last week. I must admit it was rather like a ten car pileup. I could not look away.

It is unfortunate the writer in question did not read your post BEFORE she self-destructed on such a public forum. I mean, good Lord, there are already mugs on razzle or some such site with quotes from this young lady!

And established authors owe an even greater adherence to good "customer service" when it comes to dealing with fans of their work. Each fan who seeks an autographed book helped to make these authors careers. And as human as they are, they must work very hard not to forget it. Graciousness in the most difficult of circumstances is a skill, just as writing a great romance novel is.

Carla Swafford said...

As a person who works in a customer service dept, I can tell you people have long memories when it comes to stuff like that.

Everyone has a bad day but that's why God invented little pink pills.

I had an interesting run-in with a NYT best selling author who acted so ugly to a Skycap employee that I was embarrassed for romance writers everywhere. The poor man wasn't the one who decided to charge for bags, but the author decided to take it out on him and loudly. And, yes, if you want to know who it was, just ask me next time I see you. Will I buy her books? Probably not. I would most likely replay the scene through my mind during the whole book.

When it comes to bad reviews, I plan to act like Victoria Dahl did with her first contemporary. The RT reviewer gave it low stars (I can't remember how few) and proceeded to say some ugly things about the author and book. I was flabbergasted that RT published the review. How did Vicki handle the review? She had a bad review party on her website, giving away prizes and doing hilarious stuff I can't remember now - but Jennifer would know. Vicki handled it perfectly. In fact, she played it up to the point you ignored the bad review. BTW, the reviewer was never seen in RT ever again.

In fact, the same book was a Rita finalist. And I read the book and LOVED it! In fact, so far I've bought 4 copies, giving some away and marking up one, trying to figure out how she does it.

Yeah. That's the way to do it. Embrace it. LOL!

Lisa Dunick said...

Little pink pills! Carla- you crack me up. :)

The woman in this review- just wow. I'm not sure if it's sad or fitting that this went so viral.

Lexi said...

Kindness and good manners never hurt, IMO. I agree that we are a commodity and it behooves us not to offend our readers! I, too, have been fascinated and appalled at the recent shenanigans by the author Louisa mentioned. It is a perfect example of self immolation and it was ugly.

As many of you know, I got a lukewarm review from RT. It smarts but it never occurred to me to lambaste the reviewer. She is entitled to her opinion. You can't expect to please everybody and bad reviews are part of it. Do I wish everybody loved my book? Absolutely. Do I expect it? No.

When it comes to readers, however, any author with two brain cells to rub together ought to know that it is in her best interest to be polite. It's common sense not to poop in your own Easter basket!

M.V.Freeman said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
M.V.Freeman said...

It was me! I deleted the last comment. :-) I was trying to edit it and just posted before I was ready for it to. AH well...

Let me try this again:

But Kat, I also wanted to say I agree with you--Customer service is one thing that will keep me coming back to any place and I'm willing to pay more too if I am treated right. :)

Louisa, I wonder if you read the same review I did...I was mortified and shocked. It was like watching a train wreck and I kept wanting to say...no...don't...but it was too late.

And Carla--I'm with Lisa, the pink pills cracked me up...

which leads me to the imagery of the easter basket Lexi...Now that is something that says it all! LOL

Courtesy--always, is the best part of valor. You will never go wrong

Louisa Cornell said...

Yes, I will definitely be avoiding any Easter basket Lexi sends way! LOL

I am sure it was the same review, Mary. It was all over my writing loops.

And if anyone wants to know where to find a mug that says

"I am not playing snake with you. My writing is fine!"

I'll send you the link. Unbelievable!

M.V.Freeman said...

Louisa, you make me laugh...! I learned a few truths from that review, which I think may generate a few blogs..we shall see.

Kat Jones said...

You ladies are too funny!!

I found it interesting that a lot is written about being professional, but with regard to approaching agents & editors (not that this isn't important!). Little is mentioned about being kind to fans. Perhaps it is too obvious; but, then again, so is being kind to agents & editors.