Tuesday, April 19, 2011
Seekerville Welcomes Guestblogger Allie Pleiter & Giveaway!
Cheryl here again with another fabulous friend and amazing author, Allie Pleiter who writes for Love Inspired and Love Inspired Historical. Don't you LOVE this cover? LIH does a wonderful job on covers. Allie comes today bearing a knitted heartbasket of sage advice; an important message on professionalism.
I've looked up to Allie and admired her professional ethic and sense of humor for a long time, since before I was published. I LOVE what she has to say about professionalism and hope you will take it to heart wherever you are in your journey. Here's Allie:
Professionalism by Allie Pleiter
Last night at my local RWA group I gave a talk on professionalism. At its core, professionalism is a code of behavior, an attitude, if you will. If you do it right, it can give give you a good rep in the industry and hopefully make you someone with whom editors and agents want to work. And we all want that, right?
So here are Aunt Allie’s Five Professional Sayings (courtesy of some family members and a few overused cliches). These are little helps, little internal speeches, for when things go or feel wrong. I believe controlling our internal thought process is the key to professionalism. It’s easy to be professional when things go well--it’s when it all hits the fan that we tend to let our inner tantrum toddler out and regret it in the morning. So, tuck these away in your brain to bring out when your pulse goes into the stratosphere:
1. From my mom: “If you’re small enough to need it, I’m big enough to give it to you.” Picky details can wear you down. People will always demand things from you--often unimportant or annoying things. Be gracious, even when you have to do it through gritted teeth. Now, I’m not saying I believe I’m the bigger person (even though I am six feet tall), or that others are small and petty people. This is about attitude, not fact. This is merely an emotional trick to talk my temporarily selfish self into taking the high road even when I don’t care to know that it’s the right thing to do. So, while I’d NEVER say this out loud, I say this over and over to myself while granting favors I don’t really have time for, am asked to do one more thing at an all- ready packed conference, when someone demands to be listed first or given the title Grand Supreme Chairperson, or am listening to someone’s enthusiastic list of the typos in my last release. Don’t be a doormat, but don’t be a diva, either.
2. From my friend: “The first twenty four hours don’t count.” Bad news is bad news. A cutting remark, a nasty re-write letter, a scathing critique--it all hurts. Give yourself a day to yell “ouch.” We all take our work extremely personally. I tell people that calling someone’s writing bad is like telling them their baby is ugly--there’s no nice way to do it and even if it's true, it’s horribly painful to hear. So let yourself be hurt, but do it in private. Call your agent but not the editor who rejected your work. Call a buddy but don’t vent at a full chapter meeting of your writers’ group. DO NOT hit the “comment” button on your blog, or their blog, or anyone’s blog. You can--and should--feel nasty now, but you can be calmer, clearer, and saner in a day or so.
3. From my brother: “Don’t engage the loonies.” There are always people out there who have lost perspective...if they ever had it in the first place. When someone is over the top, way out of line, or just plain cooky, don’t engage. Thank them for their comment, or their photograph of their eleven cats dressed up like your heroes and heroines, or their way-off-the-mark comments on your contest entry, and move on. Your goal is to end the conversation (electronic or face to face) because any kind of open ended response to someone like that only fuels the fire. Remember, however, that we all can get like that and someday that “loonies” might be a really insightful person when she calms down a bit.
4. From my editor: “Publishing has a very, very long memory.” Don’t gossip in the hotel lobby, bar, elevator, or hot tub. Don’t trash that editor who just rejected you anywhere but in the privacy of your own room. Be nice, write thank you notes, volunteer at conferences. Quite frankly (and I know this probably isn’t even an issue for lots of you), watch your public alcohol consumption. One regrettable incident (or blog comment or email) can last entirely too long in an inbred industry such as ours. All of us, however, get tired. At conferences, we all hit a wall when fatigue or tension get us to the place where we’re a snark waiting to happen. Know when you’ve “used up your nice,” and send yourself to your room.
5. From my dad: “When the third person tells you you're drunk, lie down.” One comment is one person’s opinion. Two similar comments is something to notice.
When the third person tells you your hero is unlikable, or your presentation went on too long, or you get too enthusiastic with your edits at critique group, or you get way too defensive about your work, LISTEN. The ability to be teachable is golden in our industry. It’s the key to improvement. Don’t let individual comments derail you, but if you see a trend in what you’re hearing, pay attention.
There are so many things we cannot control in this business. So much of it is out of our hands. This, however, is entirely within your grasp. How you react when things feel unfair and annoying, how you handle bad or disappointing news, how you keep your cool, is entirely in your control. Wield that to your advantage, and you’ll become your own best advocate.
Cheryl here. Isn't Allie's advice great? Here are details about her book.
YUKON WEDDING is in stores now!
Publisher: Harlequin Love Inspired Historical
Released April 2011
About Yukon Weddings:
A gold-rush town is no place for a single mother. But widow Lana Bristow won’t abandon the only home her son has ever known. She’ll fight to remain inTreasure Creek, Alaska—even if it means wedding Mack Tanner, the man she blames for
her husband’s death. Mack sees marriage as his duty, the only way to protect his former business partner’s family. Yet what starts as an obligation changes as his spoiled socialite bride proves to be a woman of strength and grace. A woman who shows Mack the only treasure he needs is her heart.
An avid knitter, coffee junkie, and devoted chocoholic, Allie Pleiter writes both fiction and non-fiction. The enthusiastic but slightly untidy mother of two, Allie spends her days writing books, buying yarn, and finding new ways to avoid housework. Allie hails from Connecticut, moved to the midwest to attend Northwestern University, and currently lives outside Chicago, Illinois. The “dare from a friend” to begin writing has produced two parenting books, fourteen novels, and various national speaking engagements on faith, women’s issues, and writing.. Visit her website at
http://www.alliepleiter.com or her knitting blog at http://www.DestiKNITions.blogspot.com
Here's a You Tube video of a Romantic Times representative interviewing Allie with her editor, Krista Stroever, in a video which you'll also find informative and interesting.
One lucky commenter will win a copy of Allie's Yukon Weddings!
What was your favorite tip provided by Allie? Do you have any familial advice you'd like to add?
Cheryl & Allie