About a year ago my husband and I were on our way home from our honeymoon in Fiji. It's a 10 hour flight from Fiji to LAX and we weren't looking forward to the plane ride. The airline we flew on didn't have assigned seats and the airline employees were frantically checking in weary travelers. We had been at the airport for hours waiting in line, hoping we would be able to get good seats on the plane. There were about 30 people in line in front of us. When it was our turn to be checked in I noticed how tired the employee helping us looked. I smiled and asked how her day was. She seemed surprised someone cared enough to ask. My husband and I talked and laughed with her for a few minutes. We mentioned we were on our way back from our honeymoon and asked if there was an exit row available so we would have a little more room on the way home. She looked at her computer and said she would see what she could do.
A couple of hours later the plane started to board. When we got to our seats, we immediately went to find a flight attendant. We were sure we'd been given the wrong tickets. But we didn't have the wrong seats, the tired employee who had helped us at the front desk had open seats in First Class and upgraded our tickets without telling us.
So the point of this post isn't that people should be nice because they might get something in return. The point is that people should just be nice. I always try to treat others the way I want to be treated. I appreciate when someone takes the time to help me, whether it's their job or just something they're doing because they are nice people. I've found that being respectful and happy makes other people WANT to help me. I think this also applies to the publishing world. I've met some wonderful people who have been more than willing to give me their time and advice because they want to see me succeed. And any time I get the chance to help other writers, I always do because I want to see them succeed too. In an industry as connected as publishing, getting a good or bad reputation with one person could affect the rest of your career. Though it's been said before, I'll say it again: a little courtesy goes a long way.