While it’s fun to share our good news, we don’t want to come across as boastful. And even though sharing our disappointments might make us feel better, we don’t want to go public with our pity parties so often we become a pain.
So, what do we share?
The answer to that question will be different for each person. Some writers are more comfortable discussing the ups and downs of their writing journeys than others. I’ll share some of the choices I’ve made and the reasons for them.
Contest Submissions – Some writers are comfortable telling others when they’ve entered certain contests and will even name the contest. When I was cruising the contest circuit, I didn’t like to make that information public. I wanted my judges to be as impartial as possible.
Since the writing community is a tight-knit group, it was likely a preliminary round judge might have known me. The less I discussed my contest submissions, the easier it was to maintain anonymity and get unbiased feedback. Not only that, but when I didn’t final, I could keep that disappointing news to myself since no one but my CPs knew I’d entered.
Working Titles – Referring to our stories by the names we’ve given them can be tempting. However, before I began entering my story in some contests, I chose not to refer to it by name, calling it my WIP instead. My reason was that I didn’t want a contest judge to plunk the title in the Google search bar and have it pop up along with my name. Again, my goal was to maintain anonymity as long as possible.
Contest Finals and Wins – This news is public, so sharing it is fine. I try to remember that for each finalist who is happy dancing there are several who aren’t, though, and not to go overboard with my announcements. One per blog, social networking site, or loop is adequate. From there, the news will spread without our help.
Disappointing Contest Feedback – Bashing a contest judge or grousing about the feedback received might make us feel better temporarily, but we can do damage. The judges give of their time, and while we might not agree with their comments on our stories, airing our gripes can be detrimental.
We tend to travel in the same circles, so its possible the very person we’re complaining about could read our rant. It happens. I know from personal experience, having had an entrant complain about the feedback I gave on an entry (not by name, of course, but by sharing information about the comments). Waiting a day or two to give the initial sting to pass before posting such thoughts can prevent an unfortunate situation.
Querying – Most agents understand that we’ll be querying several of them at once and actually encourage us to do so. While sharing the news that we’ve begun querying is fine, my practice was not to publish the names of those who had my manuscript. Agents hang out in many of the same places we do, so conducting ourselves as professionals and not divulging names is, I believe, a wise decision.
Submissions – Multiple submissions are common practice. My agent sent my story to a list of editors whose houses she thought would be a good fit for my story. Many knew we were preparing to go out on submission, so I was comfortable sharing that news. However, I made no mention of which editors had the manuscript.
Discretion when we’re out on submission is, I believe, the only way to go. When our agents are working hard on our behalf, our job is to support their efforts and not divulge the names of those considering our proposal. An exception would be when the story has gone to a single house, as was the case with my CP Jody Hedlund, who blogged about her submission process so we could learn from it.
Passes – I advise against sharing the news that an agent or editor has passed while others are still considering the manuscript. News travels through cyberspace at warp speed, so why advertise the fact that we’ve received a rejection when it serves us to keep quiet?
When my agent submitted my story last October, we received a pass a week the first three weeks because the story wasn’t a fit for their houses. Since we still had editors considering the story, I kept quiet about the passes, only sharing the news with my CPs.
First Sale – Once you have a contract offer, your agent or editor will advise you on when you can go public. My agent advises her clients not to share the news until the contract is inked. One it is, we’re free to shout the news from the cyber rooftops. And that’s news well worth sharing. 🙂
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How do you handle the different types of writing-related news mentioned above?
Have you ever shared a news item and later regretted your decision to go public?
Do you agree or disagree with my choices? Why or why not?