Truth be told, lots of us have trouble telling the truth. I admit it, I’ve passed along a few white lies here and there. It’s usually when I turn down an invitation to something I don’t wish to attend. No doubt you’ve done this too. You don’t want to insult the person or leave them with hurt feelings, so you come up with an innocent excuse like, “Ah gee, I have a doctor appointment,” or something like that. Okay, I accept a white lie. It’s intention is really not to lie, it’s just a convenience-maker and confrontation-avoider.
Now, let’s switch to the nitty-gritty lying. There are various levels of lying at this point. They range from low-level fibbing to high-level out-and-out intentional deception. It’s the low-level stuff that irks me and has led to this particular posting. Here’s as example: You are the person hiring someone to fill a position. When you have selected that person, you sometimes can’t avoid having to get back to some of the other candidates you interviewed. In fact, in my book, I think if people came in for an interview they DESERVE a follow-up conversation explaining why they didn’t get the job. Of course you dance a little if you have to do this and you usually tell the person that the one who was hired had more experience, or better skills, or was the boss’s daughter, whatever. Rarely do you tell the TRUTH. You fear confrontation or hurting the candidate’s feelings…or you don’t have the guts.
I take the other tact. I explain to the losing candidates why they didn’t get the job. I do this with honorable intentions. Perhaps it will help them do a better interview next time and then get the job. So go ahead, tell them if an offensive odor came in the room at the same time they did. Go ahead and tell them they appeared to have done no homework about the company or the opening and had no substantive things to say or ask about the position. Go ahead and tell them they were dressed inappropriately, or as much as you respect their right to pierce whatever part of their body they wish, your company has an image it wants to present to its customers and a nose ring with a chain connecting to your ear just doesn’t cut it. If the person on the receiving end of your critique doesn’t agree or doesn’t welcome such honesty, well, so be it. Move on.
Now, with all that in mind, here is why I chose this topic to write about. I attempt to be a writer. I am self-published because I don’t have the time and patience to deal with publishers. I went that path when I first started writing. I may as well have attempted to be a rock star. Rejection letters are a way of life in the world of book writing. Once in a while you get an honest rejection with useful critiquing of your work. Mostly, however, you get the dance: It a topic outside of our audience’s interest…don’t give up, you have great potential…it was interesting, keep writing! Stuff like that.
Publishers Weekly is a major trade magazine for writers. They offer writers like me a chance to have their work selected for a review along with some coverage in their magazine. Admittedly, the competition is overwhelming so one should not expect to be chosen when they offer the invite. I submitted one of my books a few years ago and it was not selected. I gave it a second try this year. Last week I got the rejection e-mail.
It simply said my book was not chosen for a review and they encouraged me to keep on writing. Now, here is how I look at it. Someone, a human being, picked up my book, looked at it, maybe even read it, and decided it was not worthy of a review in Publishers Weekly. I don’t want a simple “you didn’t make it.” That does me no good. This person had a reaction to my book. I want to know what it was. That would be very helpful information. I may or may not agree with it, but it would be great feedback to have. I think if I went to the trouble of submitting my book they should at least give me a sentence or two why it didn’t make the cut. If my writing sucks, tell me. If there were too many mistakes, tell me. If the story line was yucky, tell me. Yes, it is true that the truth can hurt…but not telling the truth can hurt even more.