Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Should You Be on Facebook? Is Tweeting Really Necessary? Talking Online Presence with Loren Long...

I took Monday and Tuesday off work this week for no other reason than to use up some PTO (that expires at the end of the year). One of my Monday activities way having lunch with illustrator Loren Long and his wife Tracy. (Loren also lives and works here in the Nati.)

During lunch at the cafe at Joseph-Beth Booksellers (because I thought it appropriate and because they have great vegetarian chili), Loren, Tracy and I talked a lot about online presence. Loren has a website but has not ventured much beyond that. Does an author with more than a dozen fabulous books under his belt--who works with publishers like Philomel and Simon & Schuster, who is on the Jon Scieska's Trucktown team--need to be blogging? Be on Facebook? Twitter? It couldn't hurt.

It's no secret that authors/illustrators have a big responsibility in their own promotion. The more you're out there, the more connections you make, the more friends you have, the more conversations you get into, the better. Networking should start before you get published (see Christina Katz's Get Known Before the Book Deal) and keep rolling along once you have a book or two or ten out in the world.

That doesn't mean you have to use every social network avenue available. Twitter is not everyone's cup of tea. And heaven help us if everyone had a blog. But if you've got a blog's worth of things to say that would be interesting/useful/informative/inspiring then go for it. If you enjoy being part of the conversation and can fit it into your schedule, tweet away. But if these things aren't you, if they'd be drudgery, move along. But at least try things out to see what fits--you might really enjoy participating in the conversation. (And sometimes that conversation will be about your work.)

Speaking of work, here are a few of my favorite Loren Long covers. So so beautiful. (And now I'm off to hang up my autographed Otis poster.)


Livia Blackburne said...

Since we're on this topic, Alice, I've been meaning to drop by and thank you for your webinar last spring about writing and publishing children's fiction. I was trudging along on my novel before that, and it was through your seminar that I learned about SCBWI and found a critique group. I then started following industry blogs as you suggested, joined twitter, and eventually was inspired to start my own blog (On neuroscience and creative writing!).
Looking back now, I realize just how clueless I was before and can't imagine how I ever got along like that. I'm definitely still "on the journey", but I have a much more solid footing and a great support structure through my critique group, twitter, and the community that's growing around my blog.
So thanks! Your webinar was a definite turning point :-)

SCBWI said...

That's awesome. Thanks so much for commenting, Livia. You've made my day for sure!

Vodka Mom said...

Excellent work by Loren Long!

Also, I love this whole conversation about platforms and blogging. I am still on this exciting journey- and am always excited with each turn it takes.

fabulous post.

XXXX said...

As an aspiring novelist, I have ventured out (way out) of my comfort zone (I'm such a homebody it's almost scary), and created my own website ( as well as creating a fan page on Facebook for myself.

My attempts at self-promotion have been fairly well recieved, but I guess the proof is in the pudding. We'll see what happens when my book is finally published. Are these people who became a fan on Facebook and joined my website just being supportive friends? Do they really care about all the hard work that I've put into this self-promotion? (It's almost as much work as the writing itself.) I'd like to think so, but again, we shall see.

Joshua said...

Great blog here; I'm really glad I found it. I've been on Facebook for a while and Blogger since 2005. I just got into Twitter a month ago; I put it off as long as I could. I finally jumped on to follow Drew Carey (yes, that Drew Carey) in support of raising dollars for cancer research. So, pretty much I use it to stalk celebrities. Wait, that doesn't sound right, but I guess it's true. That and I thought random thoughts posted on the sidebar of my blog would be an odd thing to have up. So, there it is.


Theresa Milstein said...

I've belonged to SCBWI and JacketFlap for a few years, but hadn't thought it was necessary to set up an online presence since I'm not yet published.

But publishing seems to be going in that direction, so I've been reading up on it. I'm also excited that the NESCBWI conference this May will discuss technology.

My compromise, since I don't want to tweet and I use Facebook for friends, is that I've started a blog. I'm currently a substitute teacher, which gives me rich material to write about. Since I'm also a mother and writer, I include posts about that as well.

I don't (yet) have a big audience, but I'm glad I've started somewhere: