After graduating from college I sent out hundreds of resumes. Only a few resulted in phone calls, and fewer of those landed actual interviews. For one such interview I drove
eight hours round trip for a 45 minute meeting. It ended with, “We have two more interviews today. We’ll get back with you in a couple of days.”
Four days later I called them to let them know I had accepted another position. “Oh, we were just going to call you today to schedule another interview.” Maybe that was true. Maybe I would have even gone for the second interview. If I had had to choose between that company and the one that hired me, however, I would have easily turned my back. Why?
When you tell someone you’ll call in two days, call in two days. If you can’t provide the information you promised, at least call to let that person know. Don’t make them wait and guess. As writers, our relationships are essential to our success. It’s a small publishing world and people talk. You may write the most intimate, heart-wrenching stories ever composed, but it won’t do you any good if your agent/editor can’t reach you.
It’s all about the Golden Rule: treat others as you would like to be treated.
Don’t lose an assignment or contract because you don’t know the rules of professionalism. Find out what agents and editors want and give it to them. Brush up on some business etiquette (find a book on Amazon if you need to – there are over 4,500 hits). If you want to be treated like a professional writer, act like a professional writer. You learned how to do it in Kindergarten.