I attended a lecture last week. The speaker shared this quote by an anonymous source, "Well-behaved women rarely make history."
What do you think? Do you agree with that sentiment? I do. It makes me think of Rosa Parks, Ida B. Wells and Shirley Chisholm.
That quote reminded me of another presentation I attended years ago. The speakers were New York Times best-selling authors Jayne Ann Krentz and Susan Elizabeth Phillips. The title was "Secrets of the Best-Selling Sisterhood." The authors' main point was, to be successful, you have to break some rules. Misbehave, if you will. Of course, one should follow the basic tenants of social politeness, but at least question the rules.
Let's take publishing, for example. If publishers won't accept submissions unless that publisher has specifically requested the submission, then we'd be better served to wait for their request. But why can't we submit to multiple publishers at the same time?
If an agent's submission guidelines state she'll respond to our inquiry in eight weeks, why can't we follow up in nine or 10 weeks - if we haven't heard from her - to respectfully request a status on our inquiry?
If a publisher offers us a contract, why can't we try to negotiate for better terms, even on our first contract? Until I've signed the contract, that manuscript is mine. It's in my best interest to make sure I'm comfortable with the terms. After all, don't we want both parties have a good experience with this relationship?
What are your thoughts on misbehaving? Do good girls finish last? Or do you get farther by following the rules?
Monday, March 09, 2009