We DGLMers have spent the better part of the last two years hammering the idea of how important it is to build an internet platform into our clients’ heads. We even went so far as to create a social media guide that we share with new clients when their agreements are signed. Obviously, having a successful blog, lots of Facebook friends, Twitter followers and downloads of your videos on YouTube are the name of the game in today’s competitive publishing market. It’s not enough to write a great book, you have to be able to subtly, humorously, and persistently get all your friends, followers, and online stalkers to buy it and, better yet, talk about it.
But, as with all things, there’s a dark side to this platform building; when in our zeal to “share” our innermost thoughts, beliefs, and philosophy with our vast audience we get ourselves in trouble by writing or saying things that are better kept between the pages of our paper journals, you know, the ones with locks on them. The recent firestorm caused by a prominent mommy blogger who confessed in a post that she preferred her son to her daughter is a case in point. As the back and forth between the blogger and her readers became more irate and meanspirited, I wondered whether the blogging format with its insatiable need for content is in part to blame for this kind of injudicious oversharing.
Then, I think of certain writers who have no problem writing in a public space about their contempt for the publishing business in general and agents and editors in particular while assiduously courting us to represent or publish their work. Are these people forgetting that everyone can see their posts…including the people they’re dissing? Or are they just giddy with the thought of the thousands who will read their rants, if not their books? I can’t speak for all my colleagues but I don’t think I’m alone in feeling that however brilliant an author’s work is if s/he is given to vilifying our industry while trying to get their foot in the publishing door and keep it there I don’t want to work with him or her.
So, yes, you need to blog and friend and be followed but be smart about what you say and how you say it. And, really, before hitting “post” on that nasty or ill-advised commentary, put it aside and wait a while. If you still want it out there after thinking it through, well, that’s what makes for internet s***storms.
Have you guys come across any particularly egregious examples of what I’m talking about?