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Present Yourself Approved and Professional
Thursday, January 28, 2021 by Cindy Sproles

Conferences are wonderful. There's no other way to explain the benefits other than saying you must attend. 

Attending a conference allows the writer, whether new or seasoned, to interact with their peers, network with editors and publishers, and sharpen their writing skills. The goal is to have conferees walk away encouraged and filled to the brim.

Though more and more conferences are going to a relaxed dress and setting, there is one thing that should not change—how you present yourself.

There is something to be said for presentation. When you go to a restaurant and place an order for your food, you expect the staff to be courteous and clean. You insist your food look palatable. When those things don't happen, the ultimate response is not good. 

The same can be said from conferee to faculty. As a director of the Asheville Christian Writers Conference, there are certain things I expect both from the venue where our conference is held and from our conferees and staff. I want my conferees to feel they have received a good value for their time and money spent, so I work diligently with the venue and with faculty to express exactly what I expect from them when our conference begins. On the same turn, my conferees expect to return the favor.

So what does it mean to present ourselves approved? I direct you to 2 Timothy 2:15 (NIV) Do your best to present yourself as one approved, a worker who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth.

Presentation is important. From your personal appearance, to attitude, to the work you show.

Let's talk personal

Today's world has lost its need for tidiness. Personal dress, from droopy pants to gaping women's shirts, rule the roost. It's all about comfort and less about personal neatness. Professionalism seems to take a back seat these days, when it once set individuals apart. Be old school and respect yourself enough to be at your best.

  • Present yourself approved by your cleanliness, dress, and posture – Learn the importance of a handshake. Use good posture over slumping. When you talk to a publisher sloppily dressed and slumping, you give the impression of "I don't care." If you'll dress cruddy and slump, you don't bring about the feeling of quality work. Not only should you be tidy, but clean and fresh – hair, teeth, and that much-loved deodorant are a plus. You can be comfortable without being messy. Not only will you look better when you straighten up and dress appropriately, but you will feel better and carry a stronger sense of self confidence.
  • Present yourself approved by your attitude – These days the attitude of entitlement rages. Kindness, teachable spirit, and willingness to cooperate are fading. Here's a hint and something for you to seriously consider: Publishers love excellent manuscripts, but if the author is difficult to work with, if they fight and argue every move, that author will probably never receive another contract with that publisher again. There comes a point where the financial cost and stress points supersede the desire to publish a second time with an author. There are times when, in the editing phase of a manuscript, an author can work to negotiate particular changes they want but, ultimately, the publisher has the experience and knowledge to know what is best. Pouting, fighting, continuous phone calls, and multiple emails only serve to make you look like a "problem author." Publishers are not going to ruin a manuscript. Endangering their financial investment and employee time is the last thing they want. It’s their job to make your work a success. Learn to trust their experience.
  • Work with kindness and a willingness to learn. Even when you disagree with an editor, state your reason, but be polite. Show your desire to work alongside them to make this the best work possible. Offer them the respect they have earned as an editor or publisher. You've heard the expression, "You get more with honey than vinegar."  It's true.
  • Present yourself forthright and honest – Be on the up and up with financial dealings as a writer. Take time to learn the financial side of selling your books. Check into your state and local governments, and be sure you are adhering to what is legally required of you. In Tennessee, when I purchase books, I am required to pay the sales taxes to the state. As soon as my books arrive, I go to the state site and pay the taxes. I could probably slip by unnoticed because I'm not selling thousands of books from my home, but the fact remains, it wouldn't be honest. Invest in a good accountant if you are unsure of how to make right and fair deductions at tax time. Pay your taxes on your royalty income. Present yourself forthright and honest.

 

At Christian Devotions, we have a motto: A devotion may be the only Bible someone sees. When you present yourself as acceptable, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, you may become the only Bible someone sees. There is responsibility in the writing world. Present yourself as a glory to God in word and deed.

There may be few who love you as much as me – who love you enough to be honest about your personal presentation, physical, professional, and spiritual. Be proud of being a writer and present yourself as acceptable. You may be someone’s only Bible.

(Clipart courtesy of www.1001freedownloads.com & Algotruneman – Registered user. Used by permission)

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Comments

Janet Roller From Forest City, NC At 9/29/2019 7:37:41 PM

Great post, Cindy! I just had a similar talk with my 18-year-old son who had the attitude of "if they judge me by how I look...it's their problem". Well, yes and no. When you're asking someone to invest time & money (scholarship) in you - present yourself as respectful and worthy of the investment.

Mountain Breeze Writer


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