It’s easier to do everything and anything if you play nice. Okay, maybe not sleeping. But I bet it’s easier to go to sleep if you’re nice. And by the way, I sleep like a baby. I fall asleep within about ten seconds after I lie down. Sometimes I last a whole minute. Then I’m out like a bat in the morning folding my little bat wings and hanging upside down.
But back to writing. If you are arrogant, if you think that you know more than the agent or editor, just forget about it. Editors and agents are gatekeepers for a reason. That means they have the perception to decide if your work will ever come to the page. And believe me, if it doesn’t, the world will go on just fine without it. I wonder what my world would be like if I hadn’t experienced all these great books, but for the most part, you are waiting for a few readers who will read your work. The world is not waiting for you.
Let’s face it, lots of really good writers were assholes, so if you know you’re kind of a jerk or people don’t like you or you come across as arrogant, then what? Does that mean you cannot get published? Not so fast buster. There is still hope for you. The first part of publication involves sending work out to Ploughshares, Glimmer Train, The Los Angeles Review, The Georgia Review, The New Yorker etc. Those editors aren’t going to know if you’re a jerk or not, they’re just going to read the work. But if you want a book published, they might meet you. You might meet your agent.
And that is your chance –if you are a jerk or a non-social human being—to pretend. Yes, women have been faking for years, so fake it. Fake it good. Fake it nice. Pretend to be a normal friendly non-threatening human being who likes others and is feeling very privileged to be meeting with this gatekeeper. Pretend you feel you’re lucky.
Realize that a lot of people just act nice normally. I like my agent, I like my editor, I feel lucky to know them. I like all my editors. People who read my work and liked it! I adore them all. It may seem to you like you are just playing a game. And why should you have to play games. You’re frickin’ brilliant, right?
It’s just that your work is going to be rejected because of YOU unless you can be cool. When someone acts like a jerk to me as an editor, I don’t get this warm yummy feeling inside like I want to help them get published and promote their book. You want your editor or agent to get a yummy feeling when they think of you. You can play nice. It’s the only way to get laid, to get in the game, to move ahead. Play nice in the sandbox. That way the other kids won’t throw sand at you and you’ll get to play with some of the cool toys. The monkey bars for example. I’ve always been a big fan of the monkey bars.