Tuesday, 6 April 2010

Leaving the Door Open.....................................

If you're anything at all like me, you will, probably quite recently, have used the words 'I will never buy from you again/use your service again/ask you anything again' and, also if you're anything like me, you may have had to grovel, in a grown-up way of course, and go back because, for one reason or another, you have to.

I do seem to write quite a lot about service, but actually this was not how this post started out. It started by my reading a post by a freelance writer about rejection.......................and leaving the door open, which I though was so right, and rarely stated, that I would take it one stage further here.

I've been lucky enough to have been published (in book terms) seven times. And a saying I particularly like, which goes 'luck is where preparation meets oppportunity' by Roman philosopher Senecca, works very well, although the kind of luck you need to get published also includes finding an agent (because he or she has got out of bed on the right side on the day your manuscript appeared) and publisher (ditto). And if you haven't been lucky enough to get an agent to take you on you probably won't find a publisher, because most publishers won't consider you without an agent.

Any writer will tell that the teeth gritting needed to deal with the 99.9 out of 100 rejections is not personality building but totally dire, the temptation to go back and yell 'but you didn't even turn the first page' is huge (or something far far ruder) when in fact what you need to do is respond cheerfully (hah!) and politely (!) and say 'I'm sorry you didn't like this, but please bear me in mind for future projects', thus leaving the door open, and hoping that they will remember your name when it crops up again, and not remember the rejection slip.

The other problem with slamming the door shut, in pretty well all businesses, not just publishing, is that people move around, and that person you just shouted at (ok that was me, not you) may well appear in another life and will remember you. Badly.

I've learnt over time, and I often don't succeed, to try and hold back the frustration and anger and leave the door open hoping that people will come back and trial and error has shown me that frequently they do. Now will that person at O2 speak to me again after I shouted at him yesterday because my Blackberry stopped receiving calls? Hmmmm I very much doubt it. Luckily, almost certainly, I won't get him again today.


I hope everyone had a wonderful Easter, my two sons managed to make it home, one totally unexpectedly and the honeymoon was brief, as it always is when they're both at home but one has gone back up to Edinburgh and the other will follow this week.

The daughter's still out in Oz having an amazing time and will not want to come home.

I'm lunching later this week with my diamond expert friend Mark Walker who knows more about my favourite stones than I've had hot dinners, and has some incredible stories to tell of designing crowns for goddesses in Indian temples and wearing a cloak made for Mahatma Ghandi. That will be Friday. Have a great week.