Guest Blogger: Mary Demuth
1. Make sure your paper products are professional. Don’t print business cards on your printer. (Go to gotprint.com and have them professionally printed.) Keep everything consistent. One of the things my former agent told me (right after he decided to take a risk and agent me) was that I had very professional presentations. It made an impression. Here’s a picture of my professionally-designed circular business cards.
2. Continue your professionalism into the Internet. Don’t have a website if you can’t have it look amazing. Try to move beyond an everyone’s-using-it template. If you blog, be consistent with the timing, length and theme of your posts.
3. Look professional. When you meet with editors, agents, publishers, wear business attire or “business casual.” Shake hands. Look folks in the eyes.
4. Always, always, always write thank you notes. Always. Whether they’re via email or postal service is up to you, but when you meet someone in the industry who has made an impression on you, a handwritten card is a huge surprise. Don’t send gifts, though. (Um, Mary, really? No gifts??? ~Rachelle)
5. Be cautious about spouting off. This is a small industry and word travels like wildfire. Don’t gossip. Don’t burn bridges. Be courteous, kind, and teachable. You don’t want to have the professional reputation of being difficult. Often the person you’ve had difficulty with moves around to another publishing house or venue. Treat everyone with respect.
6. Answer email quickly. This shows you care about the person sending it. It will endear you to editors and agents. And yet, don’t be too needy, expecting immediate response. Give grace. (If you’re buried in email, I highly recommend Michael Hyatt’s excellent post on the topic.)
7. Invest in a good author photo. Hire a photographer. If this is prohibitive, find someone who’s great at taking pictures. My daughter took my latest photo. Also, Rachelle blogged about this with some ideas.
Q4U: Have you made mistakes in any of these areas? What other ways can you think of to be perceived as a professional?
Mary DeMuth is an author and speaker whose latest book is 150 Quick Questions to Get Your Kids Talking. Today we’re giving away a free copy of the book to a randomly chosen commenter who puts “150 Questions” in their comment to today’s post. Comment must be posted by Friday at midnight.
Mary blogs at http://www.marydemuth.com/.