October 30th, 2011
You want to get in touch with someone. You find out how they like to communicate and you use that form of communication.
Or if you don’t care if you hear from someone or not, then you can afford to let it be all about you.
Okay, nice theory, Kate, how does that work in the real world?
Publishing—you want to get in touch with a publisher, an agent, an editor, anyone who can help you get your book published: Find out what they like in terms of communication, and stick with that. They want email, you email, they want phone, you phone, they want you to visit them, hop on a plane or rent, buy or borrow a car.
Someone wants something from you. Well, don’t sweat it too much, it’s on them. If it doesn’t matter whether you hear from them or not, then just don’t worry. But, here’s the catch. It pays to be nice, and as you know this blogger believes, kindness is very much under-rated. So, don’t just blow someone off too rashly.
I used to say that if you are sending a manuscript out, that older agents and editors like hard copies and the younger ones like PDFs. That’s not completely true now. The iPad has changed that. Reading manuscripts on a Kindle is a drag, reading them on an iPad is easy, so if you have one, you don’t always need a hard copy. If I am taking a manuscript for serious consideration, I need a hard copy, but that’s because I don’t have an iPad nor do I plan to get one. I have other priorities like paying the bills, but someday when the price comes down.
What about family communication?
Well, let’s start with your spouse. Obviously you two should work that out. We like texting but we don’t email and Facebook each other because we live together, but when one of us travels, then we text and very briefly talk on the phone.
What about other members of your family? Although we’re not phone people, we talk with our kids on the phone and do a little texting because otherwise we would lose touch with them since they don’t live with us. We can’t exactly stay tight with someone by text and email, but that’s just us.
For me, communication is in this order:
1. Ideally in person
I think what it still comes back to is this, if you really want to be in touch with someone, if they matter to you, whether it’s personal, or work if you want to be in touch, then you cross the line into their territory, you train your carrier pigeon if they’re into carrier pigeons. You train that pigeon for love. Because it isn’t all about you. I’m training a pigeon as we speak. It’s flying with the little notes on its feet.