Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Some Excellent Advice for Kid Lit Writers and Illustrators On Where To Draw The Private/Public Line On Facebook, Twitter and in all Social Media

Jennifer Laughran, an Agent at Andrea Brown Literary, has a fantastic blog post at her "Jennifer Represents..." blog that you need to read: The Fine Art of Zipping it, or XYZ PDQ.  It's about what you should and probably shouldn't share in our new facebook/twitter/online world of social media.   Go read it and pop back so we can chat about it.

I'll wait.

Okay, now that you're back, let's do some self-examination.  Jennifer writes,

"...the tone of my social media reflects the tone of my work."

What's the tone of your facebook posts?  Your tweets?  Your blog?

What about the photos you post on facebook and your profile pictures across social media?  If a picture is worth 1,000 words, what does your profile pic say?

When I get a friend request from someone I don't know, if they're not wearing a shirt in their profile pic (guys or girls), I do not friend them back or accept the request.  No offense meant, but clearly, they're not there for the same reasons I am.

(An extension of this is that in places where you can, send a message with your friending request, explaining the connection, and showing your professional intent.  It's certainly something I appreciate.)

I'm online to be my public, professional self.  To have and contribute to great discussions about kid lit and diversity and ending bullying and GLBTQ equality ...and to gather with like-minded tribe members - writers, illustrators, agents, editors, publishers, art directors, librarians, teachers, parents and teens.

Why are you online?  Who's your audience?

As Jennifer writes with her inimitable wit,

...if you have a public account on which you are promoting your work for children, and you are friending/following readers, teachers, librarians and publishing professionals, use your dang noodle. And not THAT noodle, mister.

Think about it in terms of what Alexandra Penfold, Editor at Paula Wiseman Books at Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, suggested in her panel at #NY12SCBWI:

"Google yourself and make sure it's what you want agents and editors to see with your submission."

Wise words.

Illustrate and Write On,


Cynthia Leitich Smith said...

Great points! My typical rule of thumb is that I never say anything online that I wouldn't at the podium or over the chicken dinner following my talk at the podium. The latter is more chatty, but there's a sense of what's appropriate and what's not.

Anonymous said...

@betrite A professional person or writer will observe good manners publicly. GOod advice!

RaeLynn Fry said...

Love this, love this. Thanks for sharing. I agree 100%

Claire M. Caterer said...

Yeah, what Cynthia said. I'm afraid we've all become a little too buddy-buddy with each other. I blame Facebook for starting this trend--everyone's a "friend," even that guy I sat next to in 10th-grade Bio class. Really? I didn't know him then--what's to prevent him being a psycho now? Why do we need to share everything with everybody? We write for kids. Let's not creep them (or their parents) out.

Amber Keyser said...