From Sarah, With Joy

Writer querying two novels and some other word babies. I tend to effervesce.

New post every Monday

Monday, March 16, 2015

A Good Girls Guide to Being Aggressive

So I'm not really an aggressive person. Like at all. I am super self-conscious about being pushy or annoying or intrusive. My best friend and I spend way too long picking movies because I am so paranoid about picking something she even remotely doesn't want that I can't make any decisions.

But sometimes sitting back quietly isn't the right option. Lately I've been trying to learn the difference between confidence and pushiness. And it's been paying off.

So I've been looking for writing gigs in a serious way for a while. Before Christmas I contacted a friend who works at a magazine and she gave me the contact info for one of the editors. I sent him a message and he back to me within a few days, thanking me for getting in touch and letting me know he'd let me know if something came up. A couple months past and I didn't hear from him, so I sent him another message. I never got a response, which normally would have made me shrink like a violet. But instead I geared up my courage and sent him another message, this time a fully crafted pitch for an article idea. And guess what? He gave me the go ahead.

So yes. Maybe aggressive isn't the right word, but its okay to be persistent. Its okay to believe that you can do a good job, and that editors are smart for hiring you. Obviously there are all those creepy, inappropriate, stalkery things we hear about and want to avoid, but there is a difference between harassment and not giving up.

So don't give up. You can do it.

Sarah Allen

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12 comments:

  1. GREAT post!!! Thanks so much for sharing it. I'm different from you, from the standpoint that in everyday life I'm very confident and straightforward. I'm an introvert, but when I *do* put myself out there, I don't have any trouble being confident and whatnot without being pushy. HOWEVER. I get VERY cagey when it comes to emailing agents/editors. It's so difficult to judge that delicate line between firmly representing yourself and coming across as an asshat.

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    1. Thank you for your comments!! I completely agree. It's just so hard to know, but I'm beginning to understand that as long as the consideration and respect is there, confidence can be too, and can pay off in some big ways.

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  2. I'm not pushy at all--until I am. I've actually gotten two jobs because I was a squeaky wheel. Most of the time you would hardly notice me as I stay against the wall and wait.

    Teresa

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    1. Exactly! I'm just learning to squeak a little more loudly, although against the wall is still most definitely my comfort zone :)

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  3. That's not aggressive - that's assertive! And sometimes you have to step up for yourself.
    Congratulations on scoring the article.

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    1. Thank you! And yes, its taken me a while but I hope I'm starting to be able to tell the difference.

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  4. Assertiveness is sometimes mistaken for being assertive. I have the same problem.

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  5. Good on you, Sarah! And I agree with Shelly: that is NOT being pushy, but being assertive!

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    1. Glad I have your guys' support :D I'm learning the difference and hoping to get it right :)

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  6. I wrote three good books for Cengage (which was then Nelson) education publisher. I'm still receiving royalties twelve years later - decent royalties. But once the primary publisher left - very suddenly - she was replaced by a man who simply wasn't interested. He did reply, I'll give him that, but recently he has made it clear to me that he has a stable of writers and doesn't want any more. No matter how much money my books are still earning for his company, he isn't interested. You know the kind: "We have your name on our author database, we'll get back to you if anything comes up." Yeah, right. If you were going for a job, Mister, and someone said, "We'll get back to you if anything comes up, we have your name on our system" would YOU expect to hear from them? I more or less said so to him, politely. I had pointed out to him that his company was still doing nicely out of the books I had written for them. No luck.

    So, well done, Sarah, but it doesn't always pay. I'm glad it did work out for you this time, but I wouldn't count on it in future. You'll get a lot of frustration for every success.

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    1. Ah, yes. Very, very excellent points. Your right that sometimes the door's just not there, no matter our knocking. That's a good thing to keep in mind, although I'm learning that the knocking is still worth it for those times when the doors do open. Best of luck with everything!

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