Redditor [deleted] is a senior editor with a mother who is very proud of her job and status.
Upon being hired by a publishing company, the Redditor was cautioned against doing something, and it didn’t take long for her to realize why she was given a heads up.
After confronting her mother over a repeating issue, the daughter visited the “Am I the A**hole?” (AITA) subReddit and asked:
“I work in publishing. Mum keeps giving my contact info to aspiring writers. I am rude to them.”
The Original Poster (OP) explained:
“I am a senior editor at a publishing house. First piece of advice I got on being hired was not to tell people I work in publishing, because they’ll ask me to look at their manuscript.”
“I thought this was a joke, but the first time I told someone that I was in publishing, you get one guess what they said.”
“My mother sees this as a bonus, and wants to brag to everyone and their dog about ‘my daughter the publisher’, and ‘my daughter, who could find the next JK Rowling’ and ‘my daughter who can part the red sea with only a green pen.'”
“She finishes her boasting with giving them my contact information.”
“If I’ve asked her to stop it once, I’ve asked her to stop it a thousand times, and yet I’m still getting contacted by the nephew of my mother’s butcher or my cousin’s girlfriend’s cousin, saying mum gave them my information so they could show me their work.”
“I then tell them to get lost. I even have a template that I send back to most of them saying that there is a process in place for a reason, along with an outline of this process.”
“If they get pushy, which they always do, I respond that the reason the process exists is so people like them don’t waste my time as I could be using this time to find a manuscript actually worth publishing, which theirs clearly isn’t, because if it was they could go through the regular channels like everyone else, rather than contact me directly and request special treatment.”
“In conclusion, I am not kind to these people. The consequence of this is that I am gradually ostracising my mother from her social circles as people have begun to blame her for me reaming out their acquaintance.”
“Mum has asked that I be nicer. I’ve asked her to stop putting me in this position. Mum claims that she stopped giving my info to people, and these are just the stragglers, but they just keep coming, so I’m not fully convinced that she’s stopped giving out my information.”
“I told mum that if they get pushy after they receive the template, I reserve the right to give them everything I’ve got, but mum has said that I’m being really unfair, both to her and the aspiring authors, and that I’m ruining her reputation, so I need to stop being so rude.”
“I said I will deal with them however I feel is appropriate, and this wouldn’t happen if she didn’t give my info out. She says she learned her lesson so I need to stop, I said I’ll stop when people stop using her as a reference.”
“She says that I’m enjoying humiliating and upsetting both these people and her and that the next time she hears from me she’s expecting an apology.”
Strangers on the internet were asked to declare one of the following:
- NTA – Not The A**hole
- YTA – You’re The A**hole
- ESH – Everyone Sucks Here
- NAH – No A**holes Here
Those in the same literary industry commiserated with the OP about their similar situations and declared the OP was not the a**hole.
“NTA. I used to work for a bookstore reviewing and accepting/rejecting local self-pubbed author submission. I know exactly how pushy aspiring authors can be.” – Hirora6
“I’m the EiC at a publishing company. I know how it goes, especially with my family. Luckily, we’re a niche publisher and family are generally revolted or shocked when I tell them what we publish.”
“However, I am usually nice to people that come out of the woodwork, and there are a lot after 50SoG came out 🤢.”
“The biggest thing they tell me is their book is the next big thing. Sorry, but no. That was a once in a lifetime phenomenon, thankfully.” – NeedACountdownClock
“My only participation in publishing is to read books, but I know how people get (ask an IT professional how family/friends treat them) and wanted to support this NTA.” – seamuswasadog
Others weighed in with their NTA judgments.
“NTA. You are under NO obligation to be polite to pushy assholes that contact you after your mother has improperly given them your info. Mom’s rep being ruined is only because she can’t resist playing the big shot (knows big Publishing exec).”
“Her misery stops as soon as she quits giving away YOUR info.”
“Stragglers? Gee, maybe she shouldn’t have been so free about giving away your name. And if they’re that late, can’t see how it would be enough of a connection to her.” – Dear_Analysis_5116
“NtA. Tell anyone who contacts you with your mother’s credentials it will cost them $$(however much you want to charge) for you to look at their manuscripts.”
“It’s your job…so you should be paid for it. Just make sure to charge a large enough sum that you scare off the people who aren’t serious.” – LenoreSkellington
The OP updated her thread to clarify some ground rules in the world of publishing.
“In regards to people saying that I may be costing us potentially valuable authors: if the material can stand up on it’s own, then they can go through the regular process as we will be able to identify good writing.”
“If they don’t trust that we can identify good writing, then they should not be working with us. If they do trust us but want to skip the line anyway, then they are not someone we want to work with, as this suggests that they want special treatment, which will not end with me reading their manuscript and is likely to be a recurring theme throughout working with them.”
Overall, many Redditors agreed the OP was not the a**hole for rejecting the aspiring writers sent to her, courtesy of her mother.