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Our September Author Interviews--9/6 Kathleen Valenti, 9/13 David Burnsworth, 9/20 Jeri Westerson, 9/27 Frances Brody. Please join us in welcoming these authors to WWK.

September Saturday Guest Bloggers: 9/2--Anne Bannon, 9/9 WWK Bloggers, 9/16 Margaret S. Hamilton, 9/23 Kait Carson, and on 9/30 Trixie Stiletto.


“May 16, 2017 – The Women’s Fiction Writers Association (WFWA) today announced the finalists of the second annual Star Award, given to authors of published women’s fiction. Six finalists were chosen in two categories, General and Outstanding Debut. The winners of the Star Award will be announced at the WFWA Retreat in Albuquerque, New Mexico on September 23, 2017.” In the general category, WWK’s Carla Damron was one of three finalist for her novel, The Stone Necklace. Go to Carladamron.com for more information. Congratulations, Carla!

Congratulations to our writers for the following publications:

Warren Bull's new Lincoln mystery, Abraham Lincoln In Court & Campaign has been released. Look for the Kindle version on February 3.

Shari Randall's "Pets" will be included in Chesapeake Crimes: Fur, Feathers, and Felonies anthology, which will be published in 2018. In the same anthology "Rasputin," KM Rockwood's short story, will also be published. Her short story "Goldie" will be published in the Busted anthology, which will be released by Level Best Books on April 25th.

In addition, our prolific KM will have the following shorts published as well: "Sight Unseen" in Fish Out of Water, Guppie (SinC) anthology, just released, and "Making Tracks" in Passport to Murder, Bouchercon anthology, October 2017.

Margaret S. Hamilton's short story, "Once a Kappa" was published as a finalist in the Southern Writer's Magazine annual short story contest issue. Mysterical-E published her "Double Crust Corpse" in the Fall 2016 issue. "Baby Killer" will appear in the 2017 solar eclipse anthology Day of the Dark to be published this summer prior to the eclipse in August.

James M. Jackson's 4th book in the Seamus McCree series, Doubtful Relations, is now available. His novella "Low Tide at Tybee" appears February 7 as part of Lowcountry Crimes: Four Novellas, which is available for order.
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Sunday, February 17, 2013

RSVP



Time was when people not only knew RSVP stood for Répondez si'l vous plait, but they followed its precept.

When I grew up people routinely answered an invitation with regrets or acceptance. To do anything less was very bad manners. No longer. A couple of years ago, as part of a church function, we mailed invitations to an event at our house. Of the people who showed up, only about 2/3rds had let us know they would attend. Almost none of the no-shows bothered to respond.

I wish that was a one-off experience, but it is not.

As an author I’ve found new venues for finding the incivility of rejection by silence.

Many literary agents are now “too busy” to send out a form rejection email to a query email. “We’ll respond only if we are interested,” they say. How much bother could it be to hit “Reply” and have an auto-rejection message sent? It would take mere minutes to initially set up and a couple of seconds to execute as soon as the reader hits the line in the query letter or submission that convinces them it’s “not for me.”

This week I stumbled on a new area of incivility. I submitted to a book festival at the suggestion of a fellow author. About two-thirds down the page of the author submission guidelines was this bolded sentence: Due to the high volume of submissions, the (redacted) Festival will respond only to submissions that have been selected and accepted as a part of the presentation programming. I know they have lots of submissions and are run mostly by volunteers, but they expect authors to complete an application and pay to mail a hard copy (no electronic versions of books accepted) of the ARC or published book—and for that a loser gets no thanks, just silence.

With a book soon to come out, I’ve taken to contacting independent bookstores and libraries with an offer to work with them to our mutual benefit by my doing a book reading/presentation/signing. Those I talk with in person are friendly and often helpful even if the answer is no. Many, many of those I have to contact by email also seem to employ the reject-by-silence approach to communication.

I realize with self-publishing, a growing list of small publishers and a decline in the number of independent retailers, that bookstores and festivals get more offers than they can accept. But if an author took the time to write and jump through the hoops presented to them, why not spend a few seconds to respond with a “Sorry, no can do?”

I know I’m beating my head against a wall on what I consider a rapid increase in incivility. It probably labels me as an old fogy. All I can do is lead by example. I do RSVP even when I am going to decline the invitation.

What say you WWK readers, do I have a point or am I just pining for the good old days?

~ Jim

10 comments:

Claire said...

I'm in your boat, Jim. I am frustrated with people who do not employ the simple courtesy of RSVP - and worse, yet, when I haven't used RSVP but have specifically said please let me know whether or not you plan to come... or words to that effect. I even find this true with volunteers. You'd think they'd at least reply when you're trying to determine whether or not they can arrive on a particular day or time that you have asked them to cover. It's an uncivil world and I think due, in part, to the fact that many are not taught simple courtesy as youths that will follow them into adulthood.

Gloria Alden said...

Although I haven't had any event calling for a RSVP in so many years that I can't remember the last time, I still think it's incredibly rude not to respond and let those having the event know if you are coming or not. So much depends on an actual count of how many are coming.

I read "Annie's Mailbox" daily in the newspaper and not only is this a common complaint, but the recipients of gifts not having the courtesy to send a thank you card for weddings, showers or gifts for other occasions. Even though my kids thanked their grandparents, aunts and uncles in person, I always saw that they wrote a thank you, also, and sent it. My parents saved these, and when they died, I got those thank you letters back that they had saved.

Rhonda Lane said...

Actually, we're lucky here in the writing world, one of the few remaining pockets of gentility, IMO. Elsewhere, I see a lot of loud, blatant incivility happening. Name-calling, ganging up on people, bullying, etc. It's not just the US Congress anymore. ;) Sometimes, I often wish more people used silence as rejection.

E. B. Davis said...

I've given two parties in the last few years, sending out invitations with RSVP. Friends complied--family didn't. And it wasn't because they assumed--they didn't come. Just goes to show that blood doesn't mean a thing. I'd take friends any day.

E. B. Davis said...

Blogger published my comment automatically--what I wanted to add--the DC area, where I live, placed 3rd as the rudest community in the country. Considering all the detente that supposedly takes place here, it's a wonder we haven't...oh yeah, we have had continuous wars, haven't we? Oh well, at least that explains it.

B.K. Stevens said...

I agree with you, Jim, and I'd like to add that I think it's important for writers to be civil and sensitive to each other. A writers' group I belong to sent out an appeal for newsletter articles, so I submitted one. The newsletter editor didn't use the article and also never sent me any sort of reply. If she didn't think the article fit the newsletter's needs, that's fine, but I would have appreciated an e-mail saying no thanks. I also responded to a request for prizes for a writers' group contest, snail-mailing a prize worth about $25 to the contest coordinator. Again, I got no response and had to e-mail the coordinator to ask if she'd received the prize (she had). We all know how frustrating it is to get no responses from agents and editors. Can't we at least be a little more considerate to each other?

Anonymous said...

In working with wedding couples, I am amazed at how many people don't RSVP reseption invitations, even to sit down dinners. The poor couple has no idea how many to expect.
The problem with this in the book world is you never know when you can send the stuff elsewhere.

Norma Huss said...

I quite agree that agents certainly could push a button to say "No thanks." When I was submitting to agents, I didn't send anything to those who said they only answered if interested. Of course, about half the others didn't answer either." A year or so ago I read a great "letter" that a writer did (for funny, of course) about refusing to submit to such agents.

James Montgomery Jackson said...

Thanks to those who support my position. Maybe we can gang together and start a counter-cultural revolution!

~ Jim

Marilynn Larew said...

Jim, I'm afraid that it wouldn't do any good. It's not just RSVPs, although the agony columns are full of such complaints when the wedding season rolls around. Look around you. Incivility is everywhere.

I think that the only thing we can do is perform a random act of civility as the ship goes down.