Sometimes new/aspiring writers don’t know how to react in certain situations and tend to do the wrong thing. This post is full of DON’TS and will hopefully save many writers from committing these “crimes” that have no doubt aggravated others.
1. Don’t send agents/editors more than they want.
Closely read their submission guidelines on their website. First, make sure they are accepting submissions. Second, pay attention to how they want it. Some only accept e-queries. Some don’t want attachments. Third, double check their interests to make sure they accept your genre.
2. Don’t address your query letters with Dear Sir/Madam. (Same goes for emails to reviewers.)
Always know the agent’s/editor’s name and spell it correctly!
3. Don’t bug agents/editors.
In their guidelines, they often state how long you can expect to wait to get a reply back from them. Some will specifically say, “If you don’t hear back from us in yada-yada weeks then it’s a rejection.” Others will say, “If you don’t hear back from us in yada-yada weeks, send us an inquiry.” An inquiry through email or snail mail is a gentle reminder to check in on the status of your manuscript.
4. Don’t reply back to reviews on Amazon or Goodreads.
Not even if you want to thank someone for a good review and definitely not if you want to start a fight over a bad review. You can give a broad thank you statement in a Facebook status to thank everyone.
5. Don’t reply back to rejections!
You’re not the only one getting rejections, and far from the only person seeking publication. Rejections are part of the writer’s life and a badge all of us earn. Take the rejection graciously; crumple it up, set it on fire, or file it away, but don’t demand why you were rejected or say they made a mistake.
6. Don’t go back on your obligations.
If you have a deadline, meet it or ask for an extension. If you are scheduled to be a guest on someone’s blog, send them everything they need at least one week ahead of time. I had one person not send me anything at all even after I reminded him and he said he’d get it to me the next day. Even when the date passed for his guest post I never heard back from him.
If you host guests on your blog, schedule their posts so you don’t accidentally forget to post it on time.
7. Don’t ignore guest blogging instructions.
If you want to be a guest on someone’s blog, pay attention to the instructions they give you in the email or .DOC attachment they send you. For my author interviews, I have a list of questions the author can choose from, and I state in bold, red letters to only answer a total of ten, but I still have the occasional person answering all 28!
8. Don’t send an author an email to say how you would’ve wrote their book, a specific scene, or character.
You didn’t write the book and you don’t have the right to tell the author this. Besides, if it’s published, there’s nothing the author can do to fix what you think is wrong. Keep this to yourself. You can, however, email an author to let him/her know how much you loved their book...we love this!
9. Don’t assume someone will beta read your book, even if they beta read something for you in the past.
Always ask politely if they have the time and want to read your story. Send it only when they agree to help.
10. Don’t tell someone you’ll buy, read, and review their published work if you don’t intend to do any of those things.
This only creates false hope. Wishing them luck and telling them their book sounds interesting, though, is a common statement to make and totally fine because there's no promise in that comment.
11. Don’t be rude!
That’s what all of this boils down to.
More DONT'S from commenters:
Don't give all of your author friends 5-star reviews to get 5-star reviews back. Not only is this obvious, but they may not give you a 5-star back.
Don't engage trolls on social media. Rise above them.
Don't gossip or participate in controversial conversations on social media. It may come back to bite you.
Do be responsible and professional no matter what!
QUESTION: Do you have anything to add?