So because I have heard that there’s some bitching and complaining going on about my directive for AAD that I will not deal with assistants… let me explain for the people who can’t see past their own nose.
An assistant is a LOVELY LOVELY thing. I don’t have one, against all reports to the contrary. I think they can be a great help with people who are busy in this industry, from handling fan mail to scheduling blog posts to keeping their weekly online schedule in check so they don’t miss anything. For that, an assistant is GOLD.
BUT an assistant should never, EVER deal with other authors for you. EVER. Why? Several reasons.
1. Respect. If an author takes the time out of their busy schedule (one that is AS BUSY if not MORE BUSY then yours) you should have the decency and respect to contact them back personally.
2. Courtesy. That’s right courtesy. If you push off someone that’s your contemporary on an underling, you are essentially saying “you are not worth my time to deal with directly.” That is bullshit. ALL authors should deal with their contemporaries personally.
3. The telephone effect. This means that adding a 3rd party into the mix can get dicey. Information either gets mistranslated or lost, and it takes doubly long to get an answer. That is not the best way to handle communication especially when dealing with someone like me that runs a convention. Emails are NOT sent off to other people. I deal with them personally. 99% of the authors attending deal with it personally, and things get done.
4. Inside information. While your assistant is looking out for you, they are also looking out for themselves and MANY assistants in this industry do other things then be at an authors beck and call. So when said assistants see emails meant ONLY for authors, and contact back about said emails, throwing their own two cents in for what THEY are willing to do, it kinda defeats the purpose.
5. Relationships. Ok so you might not wanna be friendly with me, No problem. You still have to deal with me because of the event we have going on, and you will probably see me at other functions. If I have never spoken to you personally, never had that connection, you better be damn sure that in the future I won’t consider you for anything, because all you have proven to me is that you could care less.
Now don’t get me wrong, it’s not like I have had a large amount of people send me to their assistants. In fact 99% of authors, including the extremely busy ones that have 4-8 deadlines this year, who are on the con circuit, who are on book tours and who have at least 3 releases coming out this year CONTACT ME PERSONALLY. They understand the value of relationships in this industry, and understand that without them, getting ahead is a no go.
Use your assistants for what you will, but leave author correspondence out of it. Hell I have several authors including the Master of Ceremonies for 2013 and an author doing parties in both 2013 and 201 that have assistants, that handle EVERYTHING for them, but I get contacted PERSONALLY by the authors, because that’s how it’s done. No one in the business over 5 years lets an assistant contact other authors for them. It smacks of disrespect and superiority. It screams “I’m better then you" and you don’t see me as an equal. Well, newsflash- I AM.
I have recently found out that I was called an “egomaniac” for instituting this rule. I don’t think the person that said it realizes the irony of that statement. Ego is not something I personally have. So let’s say this: I am busy, just like you. While I may not have a NY contract, I do have deadlines, I have a convention I run, a wedding I’m planning, an art department I run, and my regular job as a graphic artist to worry about. Yet I still deal with ALL my email personally, especially when it has to do with authors. All I ask is the same courtesy is done for me.
It doesn’t matter how much money you sink into something, and it doesn’t matter who you think you are (or who your assistant thinks you are.) Relationships should always be forged between people you “work” with. Yes, AAD is work for everyone, especially the authors because YOU are working--- meeting readers, smoozing it up, hanging out and getting them interested in (or giving them new reasons to like ) your work. Make no mistake, that IS work. It is fun work, but it IS work. NO relationships with those people that are making that work happen means you won’t be able to work like that (at least at AAD) anymore.
Some relationships you need to forge yourself. If you don’t, you miss out on a lot that could be beneficial for you, because you decided to go a route that disconnects you from those that would include you.
You don’t have to agree with me on this, but this IS the way I feel and this IS how AAD will be handled from now on.