James Scott Bell over at “The Kill Zone,” a blog run by mystery and thriller writers, has some pretty good tips for those who want to break into the writing biz, but Bill Peschel at “Planet Peschel” takes some reasonable exception to a few of the suggestions. For example, this one: “Successful writers-in-waiting look professional. They do not come off as slobs or slackers. They dress sharply though unpretentiously.”
Peschel, author of Writers Gone Wild, replies:
… I’ve been reading advice like this for a long time, and sometimes, it gets to be too much.
* Be careful how you appear.
* Be careful what you say.
* Don’t piss anyone off.
At the same time, you’re supposed to sell your book, sell your writing, sell yourself. Learn how to promote, to market, to tweet, or bleep, blog, blurg and boast, all without annoying people, turning them off, driving them away or giving in your desire to brag, boast, flaunt, get angry, get petulant or act like a human being in any way.
As for courtesy and savoir faire, Peschel cites this application for a newspaper position:
As far as I’m concerned, it’s a damned shame that a field as potentially dynamic and vital as journalism should be overrun with dullards, bums, and hacks, hag-ridden with myopia, apathy, and complacence, and generally stuck in a bog of stagnant mediocrity. If this is what you’re trying to get The Sun away from, then I think I’d like to work for you.
Most of my experience has been in sports writing, but I can write everything from warmongering propaganda to learned book reviews.
I can work 25 hours a day if necessary, live on any reasonable salary, and don’t give a black damn for job security, office politics, or adverse public relations.
That’s Hunter S. Thompson. And you should see what the rude letters say…