Thursday, March 05, 2009

Time to Gripe

I frequent a few writing and magazine message boards, and it’s inevitable that someone will post an inflammatory comment about editors, magazines or book publishers. Usually these have to do with rejection letters or wait times. The result of such posts: the poster looks foolish, and his or her rants have zero effect on the subject of disapproval.

I have a tip: don’t make such posts. I don’t care if an editor sent the nastiest rejection letter in the history of writing. It isn’t worth harming your own reputation over.

We must maintain a level of professionalism. The moment our name becomes attached to derisive drivel, we’ve added something shameful to our resumes. Rather than hope an editor would never hold it against us for shaming someone in a forum, it would be better to keep such comments to ourselves.

Some people think editors will never find their comments. After all, it’s a nearly dead message board that only other writers frequent. Ah, but wait! Google has a free service to give alerts whenever certain terms are posted on the web. As an editor, I might want to see how much my magazine is being promoted in blogs, web pages and forums, so I might add alerts for the title of my magazine, my name and the names of other editors on staff. You’d be safer hiding from the Eye of Sauron than Google alerts.

Another point to consider is how long a post may exist on the web. Forums can linger for years and years. Is your critical post something you want attached to your name for that long? What if people interested in your works run searches for you and discover some truly horrific things that you’ve said about others? It might turn their interests aside.

The bottom line is this: the Internet is public domain, and anything you post should be considered permanent and visible. Be careful what you write.

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