Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Present Yourself Professionally at Publishing Events

by Cindy Sproles @CindyDevoted

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, vital. 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 look messy, 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 spiritually. Be proud of being a writer and present yourself as acceptable. You may be someone’s only Bible.


Cindy Sproles is an award-winning author and popular speaker. She is the cofounder of Christian Devotions ministries and managing editor of Straight Street Books and SonRise Devotionals, imprints of Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas. Cindy is the executive editor of
www.christiandevotions.us and 
www.inspireafire.comShe teaches at writers 
conferences nationwide and directs The Asheville Christian Writers Conference - Writers Boot Camp. 

She is the author of two devotionals, He Said, She Said - Learning to Live a Life of Passion and New Sheets - Thirty Days to Refine You into the Woman You Can Be. Cindy's debut novel, Mercy's Rain, is available at major retailers. Visit Cindy at www.cindysproles.com and book her for your next conference or ladies retreat. Also connect with her on Facebook and Twitter.


  1. Well said! I've always considered one's dress to be an important part of his or her Christian testimony. I think it also says something about one's attitude toward his or her work. If we are slovenly in our dress, it implies slovenliness in thinking and slovenliness in quality. That isn't necessarily true, but it's the impression that others infer from that outward appearance. Thanks for the reminder!

  2. Yes, you got it. You feel better when you look better. And it doesn't have to be expensive, just clean, neat, and modest.

  3. Cindy, I love this so much. I wish blogs had a way to "like" a thousand times! :-) Thank you for the challenge. Although we want to encourage others, the soft approach is often the easy way out in our culture. The way we present ourselves matters. I often write and speak about getting back to the basics of Christianity. The idea relates to social manners and how we represent who we claim to represent as writers and Christ-followers. Not just on the page or the screen, but in person and face-to-face with people. That's when we can hit the "like" button and others will too. Appreciate all you do in the world of writing and for setting the example for the rest of us to follow.

    1. I guess I'm old fashioned. But I believe God expects our best. Be it writing, or presentation.

  4. Thanks for this post, Cindy. As my mother always told us since young age: "the way they see you, they way they'll treat you". Looking and acting professional is just as important as your manuscript.

  5. Thanks for this post, Cindy. As my mother always told us since young age: "the way they see you, they way they'll treat you". Looking and acting professional is just as important as your manuscript.

  6. Thank you, Cindy, for the reminder that while we serve others, we serve and represent God first. Growing up I never wanted to embarrass my family by misbehaving. Though a long way from my growing up days, I never want to let others know I am a Christian and then act otherwise. Of course, we are still human but as I've expressed many times to other believers when they might say, "but I'm only human;" no, if we are Christians, we have the Holy Spirit too and He will always help us remain in check if it is our desire; even if it's not our desire!

  7. Yes, thank you Cindy. There is so much to note. I appreciate your advice!