How to Make Enemies and Annoy People

Hi Folks,

Way back in October of last year (and originally, probably three or four years before that), I published a post titled “Trust Your Professional.” If you missed it, you can see the original post at

The whole point is that getting What You Want is much more important to You than it is to the person or persons from whom you’re trying to get it. This is true in every case.

That’s why we strive to print neatly on job or loan applications.

It’s why we have our work proofread before we publish it.

It’s why we treat people with whom we interact with a modicum of professional courtesy.

For example, if you present poorly on a job application (or act like a jerk), the person doing the hiring simply smiles and moves on to the next applicant.

If readers don’t like that your book is chock full of typos, they close it and move on to another novel by another author.

And if, in your ignorance, you’re arrogant and condescending toward the person from whom you’re trying to get What You Want, that person will either charge you an exorbitant fee — payable in advance — or simply say No.

You don’t have to suck up to anybody. That isn’t what I’m saying.

But neither should you begin my admitting that you have never so much as logged into any website (username + password), then launch into a lengthy explanation of what the professional “should do” in order to access a website that is currently inaccessible.

Nor should you continue after the professional has explained, to an exhaustive degree, that what you want him to do won’t work.

You might also might be ill advised to claim that the professional “obviously doesn’t understand how publishing works” when he mentions to you that you can move-out a release date.

Especially when you’re about to publish your third book, which you finished two years ago.

And especially when the professional in question has written and published (some traditional, now all independently)

● 30 novels,
● 4 novellas,
● 25 collections of short fiction,
● several poetry collections (one of which garnered a nomination for the National Book Award),
● and 15 or 16 nonfiction titles, one of which took 4th place at the BEA Book of the Year awards (Education category) and two of which are on the topic of publishing.

If you want to develop even a working relationship with another human being, you just don’t do things like that.

In fact, when I’m seeking assistance from a professional, I have found it endlessly useful to shut up and listen.

But if you desire in your heart of hearts to win enemies and annoy people, well, carry on.

But don’t call me. I’ll be busy writing the next book.

‘Til next time, happy writing!


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