Friday, January 23, 2009

Blogger of the Week:
Laurel Snyder...

Laurel Snyder
, you will learn below, is a long-time blogger who's not afraid to be herself in cyberspace--with a few rules. Soak up her advice below and click here to visit her blog.

You blogged on Kid*Lit(erary) from April 2007 until March 2008. You began blogging on your website on December 2007. Will you tell me your motivation behind starting each of these blogs, and why you stopped blogging on Kid*Lit? I'm interested in your evolution as a blogger. (Because why wouldn't a full-time writer with small children have plenty of time to keep up with two blogs?)

Ha! You don't know the half of it. I started blogging around 2000, after going to SXSW with a webby friend. At the time, my blog ( was personal, VERY personal. I posted all sorts of sordid things about nasty ex-boyfriends. I don't think I really had a clear sense for what the web was yet. I did all of that in dreamweaver, and had to upload through this funny ftp window, using dialup. I can't believe I bothered!

Then, I took that down and discovered Blogger. I built a new site called, and again, it was personal, but not THAT personal. Lots of poetry blogging and religion rants and an attempt at community building for kids of Jewish intermarriage.

When I began writing for kids and knew I was going to be publishing, I decided I needed a new focus for my blogging. Honestly, I wanted a site that wasn't riddled with naughty words. Something I wouldn't get in trouble over when parents found it googling my name. I also wanted a chance to think in a more critical/academic way about children's books. Hence, Kid*Lit(erary) was born.

BUT, after 2 kids were born, I started blogging for pay at Jewcy, podcasting at Nextbook, AND I sold a novel on proposal (and was expected to write it), I didn't have time for the reviewing I'd been planning. So I just killed the site and began an author blog, which I update now and then.

Whew! Sorry to go on so long. Looking back, I realize I'm a fickle sort of blogger, huh? But that's nice thing about blogs. Like haircuts, you can always start over if you mess up!

You started blogging well before your first books were published. Would you advise new writers, even those without book contracts, to work on their Web presence?

YES! Absolutely. But I think people do it for the wrong reasons sometimes. I don't understand when people blog because they're concerned with marketing themselves before they publish. Marketing is tiring and time-consuming and it will kill your soul and get in the way of your writing. Blogging isn't marketing. It's a productive, generative, creative way to think online. It's a starting point for community building too.

What do you do to maintain your own presence online (blogging, reading other blogs, Twitter, etc.)? How much time do you devote to that?

All of it. Facebook and Twitter. Blogging and reading blogs (in Jacketflap reader, mostly). Commenting on other people's blogs. I'm on several listservs. I love it all. I think the real trick is just to limit the amount of time you spend online. I use an egg timer when I'm trying to write. When it dings, I go offline. Hard to measure it in hours when I'm not regulating myself. With two toddlers underfoot I'm online a lot, back and forth all day in 30 second intervals. Twitter is perfect for me for that reason.

What kind of posts will readers find on your blog? Are they certain types of posts that get more response than others? (When I blog about Brussels sprouts or my '80s prom dress I get a lot more hits and comments than when I offer industry news, for example.)

Yes, well, I'm (I think) in the Kidlitosphere minority on this issue. My blog is an extension of ME, and I am a loosey-goosey, ranty, accident-prone, haphazard gal. I rarely censor myself much, and my blog is all over the place. Despite my best efforts to keep a "clean" site, I still can't seem to stop from losing my temper online. But I think the more blunt I am, the more people respond.
Popular topics have been my hatred for snooty adult writers who don't appreciate the amazing value of kidlit, fluffy kidlitters who don't understand why "literary" writing is more artful than crappy commercial writing, my confusion over Israel and Palestine, and my WRATH at über-protective mommies who use too much Purell and make their kids sleep in helmets. Ha!

What advice would you offer new bloggers?

Just that a blog is published material. So we should all remember--it is one thing to be a crazed maniac online, and quite another to be a DUMB crazed maniac. If you want to say crazy things, try to sound smart and funny. Smart funny writers can get away with almost anything.

And please, for the love of Mike, do not tell us anything you don't want your boss (or your husband) to know.


Christine said...

I love Laurel's advice to bloggers not to be dumb online. That's not always as easy as it sounds!

Marcela said...

Laurel, Kid*Lit(erary) looks really fun. Thanks! And love the interview.

Anonymous said...

I always find reading about why people have blogs to be fascinating; guess it's the eavesdropping writer personality in me. :>

Hmm, I'll have to try blogging about Brussel's sprouts one day...

Vodka Mom said...

I loved that interview! I have found that i must limit my time online as well. That little thing I like to call "my life" needs some attention!

Gottawrite Girl said...

Very funny... yes, you gotta keep everything principled, that's for sure! You never know who will read it!!!

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