how to reply to a snippy assistant

What To Do When You Get a Snippy E-Mail From Someone’s Assistant…

I had to share this today. I had an “experience” with a celebrity’s assistant this morning that was priceless. I’m not sharing because I care much about it, but I think it’s interesting the way people can be so absolutely rude these days.

I may or may not have stated on this blog that I used to do editorial work for a few writers. Three years ago I stopped to focus completely on my own fiction, but I kept one client with me because I love his work and I enjoy editing for him. He writes spiritual/new age (not religious) books, and all of his work is channeled through what he calls “spirit guides.” (Take that for what it’s worth: I’ve learned not to question anything that can’t be proven right or wrong.) He doesn’t have a platform, he isn’t interested in becoming rich and famous through his writings, and he writes because the guides are constantly giving him information. I enjoy editing and reading his work…even though my own time is limited these days…and charge him one dollar a page. If he didn’t insist, I’d do it for free. He’s older, he doesn’t have e-mail, and the Internet is completely foreign to him.

And when I see something on the Internet where I think his work might be a good fit, so to speak, I usually submit something on his behalf. I don’t do this for profit, promotion, or any kind of recognition. I remain in the background at all times. It’s simply a way to pay it forward and to share information for free, so other people can benefit from his work the same way I have. And my writer friend is all for this. He’s 76 years old and loves knowing that he might be helping other people with his spiritual work.

So last week I saw a celebrity web site (Shirley Maclaine’s) where they asked for submissions from writers on various topics, including spiritual. This is a well known celebrity who has been around the film industry for a long time, and also the publishing industry. I thought this web site would be a great place to submit my friend’s work; just to see if they were interested in sharing it. And they were asking for submissions, so I contacted them about guidelines. I thought I made it clear that this wasn’t about promoting or marketing books…especially my own books. First, it would be stupid for me to promote erotic m/m romance on a spiritual web site, and I’m not an idiot. Second, my 76 year old writer friend is more interested in sharing his work than he is in selling or promoting his work.

Evidently, the snippy assistant didn’t understand. She replied with a snippy e-mail informing me they didn’t promote books. And I wondered WTF she was talking about. I never mentioned anything about promotion or marketing. So I replied, with an explanation in no uncertain terms, that this was not about promoting books…or anything else…and if I did submit my friend’s work..for him, not me…it would only be to share his work. Period.

I could have been nasty. I could have been just as snippy as she was. If I had an assistant like this, I’d sit her down and show her how to send a civil response…especially if I were a celebrity who is always complaining about how rude the world is in her latest book. I’m not interested in gaining anything by submitting my friend’s work, and neither is my friend. So I decided to remain polite, repeat my intentions in detail, and leave it at that. Whether or not she gets it, is up to her. And, I’m no amateur when it comes to submitting to publishers or agents. I’ve been doing it all my life and I know exactly how to do it.

After thinking about it, I may not even bother to submit his work to this celebrity web site. I had bad vibes and didn’t like the energy. And if you have to work with a snippy assistant for nothing, it’s probably not worth it. I might just start posting my friend’s work here on my own blog once in a while. I know the two genres don’t go together…they are night and day. But I think my readers are open-minded enough to appreciate some nice, quiet spiritual, non-religious, writings that may or may not help them out with some things in their lives.