What NOT to Blog About

Rachelle Gardner

Blogger: Rachelle Gardner

Yesterday on my blog, we discussed online presence, and what our social media activity tells the world about us. Today I want to get a little more specific and highlight a few online no-nos. It can be easy to fall into a “letting it all hang out” mindset with blogging and social media, but from a professional standpoint, you can’t afford major missteps in your online persona. The trick is to be a real person without over-sharing.

As an author, there are specific things you should avoid in your blogging, Tweeting or Facebooking. Here are some of them:

? Contract provisions

This one seems obvious, but many authors don’t realize how many things are covered in their contract and hence are subject to the contract’s confidentiality clause. Any of the following are typically off-limits for discussion (public or otherwise) unless you have your publisher’s permission to disclose.

? Amount of your advance
? Advance payout schedule
? Royalty rates
? Author buyback discount
? Number of free author copies you receive
? Anything else specifically covered in your contract!

?Tape over mouth Status of your manuscript being shopped

If you’re a published author and your agent is shopping a manuscript to publishers other than your current publisher, you need to keep silent about this. Don’t talk about how you’re so excited to move beyond XYZ Publisher. Don’t tweet your excitement to be at ABC Conference telling all the editors about your new book. Keep it to yourself. Saying the wrong thing in a public forum can have real-world ramifications, possibly negative, because editors at the various publishers can see you online, and they also talk to each other. You can blow a potential deal this way.

If you’re unpublished and your agent is shopping your manuscript, again, don’t share publicly about it. Not one word! Your agent is strategically managing the process, including what information to share with whom. A careless slip-of-the-fingers on the keyboard can hamper the agent’s ability to sell the manuscript.

Similarly, if you’re seeking an agent, it’s best not to go into detail about your rejections. Sharing the process in a general way is fine, but with everything you write, imagine a potential agent reading it. Would it turn them off from representing you?

? Unhappiness with your publisher, agent, or publicist

Your blog, public Facebook page or Twitter stream is not the place to complain about the people with whom you are doing business. This is something you need to take directly to the offending person, and if you need to discuss it with others, do it privately with close friends.

? Extreme social or political opinions

This is a sticky one. You want to be yourself online as much as possible. Yet if you’re online as a way to create relationships with readers as well as potential business partners (agents, editors) you may need to temper your instinct to make your social and political views an important part of your online presence. There’s no need to alienate people who don’t agree with your views, yet might very well love you and your books.

? Ranting or venting

I’m not saying you can’t have a rant now and then. (I’m guilty!) But I recommend you don’t make venting a regular feature if you’re trying to connect with readers or with the publishing community. Be yourself — the best version of yourself! Be someone that others would want to work with or learn more about.

What are some other things you probably shouldn’t blog about? 

73 Responses

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  1. David Glass says:

    Almost everything you listed is what a person would have already thought of, but I would also suggest that you are wrong about sharing your info of being published if you’re not breaking any contracts, I’ve had several things published and made more than several professional connections online (agents are good for consistency if being published in print, with print publishing houses falling left and right; but there’s no reasons you can’t have trunk novels [you know you’ll never have time to get published through regular channels] either having forwards or chapters used as spec script to get extra work, or get some of your other work published); what I do take issue with is the notion of politics and such, maybe this might be harmful in some areas to getting published- but this is the truth with all politics and such, it is the moral obligation of those with the ability to influence things to take such actions, and be willing to take the consequences, and this is done all the time with celebs, and the public oft’ respects them for it and sometimes it way cost them a job or two, but I assume any writer with anything good to write about is not a sociopath, so is willing to pay that price.

    With regard to rants, yes; do try to avoid them, and do not feel bad about deleting them. It used to be that once something was posted that the digital footprint was nearly permanent, but more and more this is becoming less true; in places where both sides of conversations are controlled by the same co. there is sometimes two way deleting (this is true on Twitter but not Facebook) on twitter, this now includes it not appearing on searches on the site; but sometimes it way still be called up on Yahoo or Google searches. Also on twitter, the feeds go by very fast, and not many go back to read your posts; however, whenever handing out your sites with your contact info, you should always search the entire sites and make sure there is nothing you do not want that person or group seeing.

  2. David Glass says:

    P.S. You seem like a little bit of a control freak, you might want to see someone about that. Also you seem to be trying to get your customers to make things easier for you, rather than your doing the best for your customers, a writer should be able (and feel free to) do whatever they have to do (or want to do) to get their book out there they way they want, its their property and their creation; and if that means you have to work twice as hard, then that’s what you have to do to give them that, and you have to accept that, because they are your customers, and yo clearly never took a biz class you didn’t sleep through or you would understand the concept that the customer is always right means that you adapt to service the customer, not try to get the costumer to service your needs.

    • Sue Harrison says:

      Yes, David, but many of us who are writers have much less experience than Rachelle does with the bad after effects of foot-in-mouth situations. And unfortunately for agents, they are often the ones who have to clean up the messes that we writers make. So, in some regards, Rachelle may be trying to make it easier for herself, but she’s also trying to make the writing life less traumatic for her clients and blog readers.

      I look at it this way, if Rachelle can save time by helping writers understand the unwritten rules of the writing life, then she’s going to have more time to spend on her clients’ and would-be clients’ work!! That’s a win-win any way you look at it.

      • Lisa says:

        Well said Sue.

      • Jeanne T says:

        I couldn’t agree more, Sue. As a writer, I appreciate the experience Rachelle and other agents bring to the table when working with publishers. Why wouldn’t I want to make it easier for an agent to sell my book to a publisher?

      • Jill Murray says:

        Yes. An agent is the liason between the client (the author) and the client’s customer (the publisher). These tips are aimed at helping the author keep their own customer happy- something we can all use from time to time- one of the key reasons we have agents. If an agent is going to work “twice as hard” at something, ideally it will be selling authors work, not overcoming the messes we create when we cannot contain ourselves.

    • Delia says:

      It should also be noted that customers and clients are not the same thing. The agent/author relationship is more akin to a partnership than anything. She, as an agent, gets to choose the authors with whom she partners, just as authors get to choose whom they query. I wouldn’t choose to work with a business partner who had no qualms with making my life more difficult, would you?

    • Roxanne Sherwood Gray says:

      David, Are you really calling Rachelle a “control freak?”

      She works hard advancing the careers of her clients. Through this blog, she helps all authors by sharing her hard-earned insight in this tricky publishing business. We don’t pay her for this privilege. Instead of blogging, she could privately share this information with her clients, giving her time for her family or to sit around eating proverbial bonbons.

      So, please, no name calling.

    • Perhaps you misread Rachelle’s original post. But a seasoned professional helping rookies avoid blogging pitfalls on the road to publishing is anything but a control freak, in my humble opinion.

      It’s the gift of wisdom.

      Best wishes on your publishing ventures — getting an agent, editor, publisher, readers, and all that.

    • Jackie says:

      Why are you on this website, David? If you’re not interested in Rachelle’s advice, then don’t read it. She is brilliant, and you’re mean.

      But, I do have to say, way to be a wonderful example what she’s talking about– what NOT to do online.

    • Dana McNeely says:

      I think David is a plant. He is actually Rachelle’s best friend and is pulling our collective leg, just to see us twitter. LOL Good one, Dave!

    • Erich Penhoff says:

      Well Dave, I dont know you, you dont know me, so lets start of with a little honesty.
      Maybe you have grown up with a lot of arrogance instelled by a dominant parent, maybe you just do not understand the concept of manners? Control freak is a little over the top, maybe you are just not intelligent enough to find and use a more suited vocabulary?
      But it is the duty of an agent to shop and sell their clients manuscripts, services as sports and artists entity. It is obvious you should discuss your private attempts with your representative(Agent)otherwise you work at odds ends. But then if you are so smart you probably never do need an agent, how come you do? See a little class would go a long way in a professional partnership!

    • Susan Donetti says:

      This is really too funny. The control freak part, I mean. If Rachelle is a control freak, she would never have let David’s post through. Just sayin’ 🙂

    • Michelle Lim says:

      Rachelle, thank you for sharing important information for writers to use the correct professional etiquette when dealing with social media. Getting caught up on my professional reading, I was amazed at the audacity of some comments.

      David, I understand how the writing industry can sometimes be frustrating, but there are other ways to express your opinions where they might be viewed as less hostile.

      Rachelle’s blog invites all of us to learn and interact in a community that fosters mutual respect. Her blog was recently recognized in the top for writers. While you may feel passionate about your topic, perhaps the best place to discuss it is on a blog of your own. You probably don’t realize that your blog comment was between 500-600 words. Rachelle’s blog post was between 500-600 words.

      Rachelle works hard for her clients, but she also wants to give them the opportunity to put their best foot forward. Editors are looking for clients who are easy to work with as opposed to stubborn and opinionated. An agent’s job is to work with clients to give them the best possible outcome for their careers. Anything less than that would be a disservice. Rachelle’s advice is the opposite of controlling. It recognizes an author’s choice in what they say, but encourages them to weigh the career pitfalls when sharing information.

  3. Gamma says:

    I followed a blog some years ago by a significant author (by which I mean she has been nominated for at least one prestigious prize). At one point she tested the waters on whether to dive into politics, and after some acrimonious exchanges among the commenters, not only did she back away from politics, she deleted the whole sordid mess. I say, smart move on her part, although I was sorry I couldn’t go back and review my own brilliant ripostes in the comments.

  4. I would suggest not discussing how well your therapy is going after a judge handed that down as part of your sentence for stalking someone.

    Only partially kidding

  5. Not for one second would I mention my children’s personal lives. Oh yes, brag about their achievements and what great people they are, of course! That is normal, to a point.
    But not the “oh my word, Betty-Loo Who has SUCH bad cramps and PMS! Was I that way when I was 13? And could her skin look more horrible?”
    Or your *personal* relationship with your spouse.

    Build a wall of steel and do not cross it!!

    And while we’re mentioning rants, I’m Canadian, unless Tim Horton’s closes across the country, we’re few and far between with our rants. Unless someone suggests the Leafs might win the Stanley Cup, then that’s heresy and the country will implode.

  6. Thank for more helpful advice Rachelle. I agree with the above topics, however, in my own experience find great difficulty with one. The political and social issue part becomes difficult for me for a few reasons. First, I try to spread a theme of hope and love in the midst of darkness that people experience in life. The problem here is that so many are finding darkness and hardship in the political spectrum and have many problems related to the economy. So, I find it difficult to avoid any mention of current politics, etc.. when blogging about life’s hardships and issues. I feel sometimes that I almost sound too “generic” for fear of offending someone and that I am not fully able to get my point across. I do agree with not posting about “extreme” views, but am having difficulty finding a happy medium.
    Also, I was hoping you could post something soon on the issue of an author “branding” him or herself. Those of us who do not have agents and are self published have difficulty with this. I know who I am, I know what I stand for, and I know what I want my fiction to represent to the world. In reviews, I have had readers state that what they got out of my book is exactly what I wanted them to, that they feel the emotions of the main character, feel her pain and her struggles. I suppose I am just looking for further information on how to display that through blogging and social media as well.

  7. Rachelle, what a great post. I agree with everything you said- and you said it so eloquently.

    On weighing in on politcal matters – SOOO true. I see folks on Twitter all the time pushing their views (as is their right as Americans to do), but it is somewhat of a turn off when they have a view that diabolically opposes my own opinions. I don’t want to know where they stand on every issue, I just want to know if we could work together and be friendly with one another.
    I believe people can agree to disagree, so why push people away by politivomiting all over everyone.

    When I decided to start ‘buiding my platform’ as an author I decided to avoid political discusions on any of my forums (this included removing stuff from my personal facebook account – which is sepparate from my author page).

    I disagree with David, above, I don’t think it is anyone’s duty as a celebrity to push their view… it really sticks in my craw when someone uses their celeb status to push their way of thinking.

    I’m so glad the election season is over. Now hopefully we can all get back to being friends.

  8. Sue Harrison says:

    I read the information in your blog very carefully, Rachelle, and am happy that you conveyed this information. I was first published at a time when “social media” really didn’t exist, so all of this is new to me. I think an author has a huge advantage when he or she knows not only the rules laid out in a contract, but also the unwritten rules that govern transactions and business relationships.

  9. Lianne Simon says:

    Good advice, Rachelle

    “The trick is to be a real person without over-sharing.”

    Close relationships require heart-level communication at a depth that requires vulnerability. I have great respect for authors such as Lauretta Hannon, who share–at least past–personal issues, who make you feel like their trusted friend.

  10. Lisa says:

    Thank you for these great reminders. It’s so important to be professional and give your very best.

    I love to be real and honest in my writing, but to bring encouragement to my readers. I get a great response from this approach. I leave political viewpoints out of my work, but I am not afraid of talking about social issues. I think there is a way of writing your thoughts in a loving and encouraging way, inviting dialogue and not mean-spirited comments.

  11. Jeanne T says:

    I appreciate your insights, Rachelle. Most of what you shared should be common sense, but some of it may be hard to remember during moments of extreme emotion. 🙂 I try to always come back to “speaking” words of grace online. If I’m upset or disappointed, I tend not to post because I can’t think of a good way to write something that others will see.

    I’m with Jennifer above. I share very little about my family’s personal lives, for many reasons.

    Thanks Rachelle for sharing your wisdom with us.

  12. Thanks for the great reminders, Rachelle. Social media has made our lives easier, but also more challenging.

  13. Rachel Muller says:

    Definately great reminders! I find that too much info on an author/celebrity that I’m following is a big turn-off for me. I honestly do not want to hear all the drama and every detail of their personal lives.
    As for myself, I very much limit what I share on social media sites-that includes being careful on which I comment on.
    I do not use profanity or sexual remarks on any of my social media pages; therefore I do not comment on such sites/posts, etc…

    Reputations take years to build, but only one moment can tear it down.

  14. I definitely agree with you, especially about the rants. Yes, we want to be ourselves, but especially as a Christian, I want to be encouraging and uplifting. I don’t want to be seen as a cynical person or someone whose posts drag others down. Yes, of course, I get cynical at times, but the whole world doesn’t need to know about it. I think a lot of the times we rant in order to make ourselves feel better that others agree, when many times the best thing we could do is pray quietly and ask the Lord for contentment. Not saying I do this all the time, at all. But it’s what I wish I did more often.

  15. Rae Carson says:

    I respect and agree with the the overall message of this blog post–that authors behaving badly could be detrimental to their careers and that social media has made it harder than ever to know where the line is between being real and over sharing.

    But I also believe that authors are already so tightly censored and that secrecy in publishing in one of its greatest dysfunctions. There are very few industries, for instance, where it is standard practice to make contracts confidential. Most contractors won’t stand for that kind of lack of oversight and accountability. I wish there was a safe way for authors to discuss all of these issue.

    • Larry says:

      Frankly, it is one of the stronger fetters publishers bind writers with.

      Not being able to discuss openly and freely their respective duties, obligations, and payment for those duties and obligations serves to keep writers ignorant of standard practices; this puts to great risk the good faith that any writer can have in their contract. While an agent with experience in such matters may help mitigate such problems, one must remember that the writers’ agent (much like the writers’ publishing contract) is in a position detrimental to the overall well-being of the writers’ career; viewing their role not as solely representing the author, but the publisher as well.

      Such contentious practices are laughable, seeing as few outside those who are writers (and agents such as those at Books and Such who have acknowledged that the agents role as representing both author and publisher legitimately allows writers in general to wonder about conflicts of interest in the industry) make any connection between the continuing and escalating implosion of the industry (such as the closing of various bookstore chains, the mergers of leading publishing houses to stay fiscally viable [“Random Penguin” to name one of the most shocking signals of the state of the industry], and the countless authors let go from their publishers) and the standard practices (stadard abuses and general disdain) towards those who without their decision to enter the absurd world of publishing, the publishings houses built on the sands of mis-management, corporate greed, and utter lack of being able to deliver to the consumer what they want, would fall.

  16. I appreciate the tips, Rachelle. Your blog posts have helped me build an online presence that I am comfortable with, though I haven’t tried to promote my work yet.

    I use blogging as a resource for information about writing, and references to my personal life are limited to incidents that I can loosely relate to writing. Sometimes I wonder if I should include more about myself, but the visitors to my blog seem to be coming for the information I post rather than to get to know me. (I stopped blogging for 8 months and my page views remained consistent.)

    Perhaps you could suggest what things agents and editors would like to see us share about ourselves and our work on social media? What circumstances would cause them to look at a writer’s blog or Facebook page?

    Thanks for all you do to help people at every stage of the writing journey.

  17. I think of 1 Corinthians 9:22 — “I have become all things to all men, that I might by all means save some.” Obviously, I still have convictions that I won’t compromise. I do share on FB images and quotes from the Founding Fathers; it seems to go along with my having a law degree. 🙂 But, even though sometimes I wanted to, I never discussed particular candidates in detail. First, because I was too busy posting what some might consider fluff but was interesting to my readers — recipes, family time ideas, holiday decor, etc. But second, because my ultimate goal is to share the gospel. If I turn someone off with my extreme views or rants or whatever, how can I share the gospel with them? I’m not really that theological :), I just want people to read what I write. Another great post, Rachelle!

  18. Larry says:

    Considering that the industry has been in a state of upheaval for a while, and continues to be in one (and by many signals the downward spiral is getting worse), coupled with the fact that writers now have a platform through their online presence to openly and freely discuss qualms they have about not only about the standard practices of the industry, but the direction those who are leading it are taking it, and it is easy to see how the hustle and bustle of free and open communication can be seen as somewhat overwhelming from the publisher and agents’ perspective: for writers, it is largely seen as “It’s about time we are able to talk about the herd of elephants in the room.”

    The issue of communication, who is in control of the methods of it, and deeming of what is “proper”, is one of the key issues of this revolutionary (with all the connotations that brings) era in the industry.

    As I wrote in a reply to Rae Carson regardarding to the lack of transparency with publishing contracts, publishers most certainly use control of free and open debate and discussion as a means of subverting the process of a writer pursuing the maximization of THEIR products’ potential capital in the marketplace. (Regarding the political rants Rachelle warned us against espousing, I find it rather amusing that the corporate philosophy that “corporations are people” and are entitled to free speech protection should at the same time apparently find no conflict with the standard practice of an industry involving the silencing of discourse of others).

    Regarding who labels what speech “proper”, it seems rather disconcerting that the persual of free and open discussion about qualms writers and readers (oh my goodness, especially the READERS) may have about the industry is enough to get the author of said critiques labeled a “trouble-maker”, “uncooperative”, “not a team player,” and “unprofessional” (all ways used to describe writers and industry critics: during the largest regional book-fair for half the MidWest I asked several notable authors during their panels what they or their colleagues have experienced when bringing up the issues facing the industry, and that is what they stated they or their colleagues were referred to….for trying to start an open dialogue).

    What is bothersome is that open and frank dialogue or critiques seem to be labeled as “unprofessional”, “ranting”, etc: that anything resembling questioning the Publishing Powers That Be gets viewed in the same regard as one who really IS being rude and unprofessional, such as Mr. Glass.

    Beyond that, the fact that many writers fear being open with critiques and personal opinion in a public forum (be it at a book-fair, interview, on their social media page, or even an agents’ blog) due to reprisals and lost publishing jobs means that there are far too few giving reasoned debate and critiques, and far too many lashing out as Mr. Glass has done.

    And yet, as reasonable writers do begin to find their voices, they are viewed as a dim and gerralous rabble, the barbarians at the gate of the publishing world.

    Which, in a sense, is true. The industry has changed, is changing still, and will continue to change. Naturally writers, the foundation and engine of the industry, are going to be at the forefront of change. But the nature of that change: that is entirely dependent on whether the rest of the industry partners with writers, or fights them.

    Yet by all indications what is communicated…what is dicated (because writers are not allowed to HAVE free and open discourse) is the latter.

  19. Rachelle, brilliant thoughts as always!

    Thank you for ALL that you do.

  20. I do agree with all this, but the political thing is a bit tricky.

    I don’t mention my political views on my blog or my FB author page, but anyone who follows my twitter stream (in particular, during political debates *ahem*), will know which way I’m voting. I feel like it’s important for Christians to have a political presence in the world, and that’s part of who I am. I decided to comment ONLY during the debates, though I may occasionally post links to things going on in the world on twitter.

    I’ve just never been, nor will I ever be, someone who can keep quiet and not fight for what’s right. I think my blog readers know who I am. And I totally understand not everyone will agree with me. I love listening to different points of view and debating things (I frequent deCompose!). But I don’t mind being the one to lose twitter followers or even readers if it means sticking up for what’s godly.

    So that’s me, unplugged! I want to keep things real on my blog, but I don’t use that as a place to tackle political stuff. I do feel twitter is different.

    Good post, Rachelle!

  21. Melissa Marsh says:

    Here’s a question. Some of the agents I follow on Twitter DO get political, and I find that rather bizarre. What are you thoughts? I would think that when you’re representing yourself in the business world, you’d want to be professional and not start Tweeting about politics. Thoughts?

    • Stephanie M. says:

      I agree. I actually un-followed quite a few publishing folks so I wouldn’t have to read political rants.

      • Melissa Marsh says:

        It’s disturbing, isn’t it? I don’t understand why they feel the need to mix politics with business.

      • I would say that it would be helpful in finding an agent (esp in the ABA) to know their views are completely opposite your own. I know when I was thinking ABA, I’d read what publishers PUBLISHED and there were some I wouldn’t want to pub. with even if I got the chance!

        So in a way, those twitter political posts might be an indirect blessing–keeping you from an agent who didn’t get your worldview!

        But there are 2 types of people in the world–those who discuss politics and those who don’t. Contrary to my tight-lipped heritage, I’m one of those who enjoy it.

  22. Calisa Rhose says:

    Great information Rachelle. I don’t know where David is coming from, but I will promo this blog as valuable information. One of my pet peeves is when I open a blog to find the author discrediting and bashing other authors, agents and editors–by name or not. SOMEONE knows who they are referring to and usually tells someone else in a passing conversation, who in turn tells someone they know. Before long it can get back to the one talked about and fact, true, or not, that hurts a career. I haven’t seen a lot of this, thankfully, but the times I have I make note of that blabbing blogger and don’t return no matter what they blog about, no matter what they write. As a reader and writer I don’t support those people because they obviously don’t want to be a part of the generous fold most writers are known to be.

  23. I’ve been reading your advice online for some time, Rachelle, and once again this is a solid list of DON’Ts.

    One thing I wish some writers would be a bit more careful about is overly gushy support of various books, sites, authors and ideas. It seems unrealistic to me to read that ABC author is the most fabulous author in the world and that XYZ writing site is totally out of this world when such sentiments are part of an endless stream of kudos.

    Frankly, that looks like SPAM to me, and even if it’s sincere, it looks a bit over the top.


  24. What the avg. ROI (rate of return) for blogging. Anyone know?
    How cost effective – time wise – is it?

    Would it be better to spend at least 50% of your networking time, writing the best story you can?

    Seems like the social connections we make most, are superficial. Do you think that’s true of business connections as well? ie. Linkedin

    Does any one feel like a writer today is actually in the business of the benign manipulation of the reading public?

    Do you think, even though it is a great way of connecting with readers, it can also be a great way to waste time?

    I think social media is sneaky varmit. Do you think it’s possible it can take over your life, waste your time – when you’re not paying attention – and be used as an excuse not to write?

    Hey folks, I think the time has come to get pragmatic over the return on investment of using social networks.
    Because if online activity doesn’t create a lot of book sales or some form of significant revenue, then maybe it’s time to re-focus on other marketing methods.

    . . . Notice I didn’t say abandon social media altogether. I am not against social networks. Rather, I don’t make them a prime area of marketing concentration.
    Social networks may help raise awareness, but if that awareness doesn’t create direct book sales then it shouldn’t be a top priority.

    This is just some “food for thought” for those of us out there who are hungry or wondering where their next meal (book sale) is coming from.

  25. So how common are confidentiality clauses? None of the sample contracts and/or contract books I’ve seen have had them. Are they a recent thing?

    • One note — the one time I’ve heard of confidentiality clauses is with Amazon. But my impression, by the suspicious way that people reacted to those, was that Amazon’s practice of putting nondisclosures in their contracts was unusual

  26. Jessi Gage says:

    Wonderful advice, Rachelle!

    I’ve read a post recently on Roni Loren’s blog warning writers to be careful what images they use in their blogs. It’s super easy to unintentionally violate someone else’s copyright when you pluck photos and images from the web. Roni’s post is moving because it happened to her and cause her a huge headache and some financial loss. I don’t like to post links in comments, but for anyone who might be curious about Roni’s post, just use your search engine to look for it. Key words that will get you there include Roni Loren, images in blogs, and copyright.

    Roni is an angel for sharing her story. After I read it, I went through my blog and got rid of most of the images I had used unless they were taken by me or unless the image owner/taker gave permission to use it.

    For free, usable images to use on blogs, WANA Commons has a growing library maintained by authors. WANA Commons was started by Kristen Lamb, a generous writer’s advocate and social media guru. Searching for “WANA Commons” and “flickr” should get you there.

    I hope that’s helpful. Thanks, again, Rachelle, for the post.

  27. Hi! I’d like to hear some examples of what the author considers ‘extreme social or political opinions’ Otherwise lots of common sense here. Obviously extreme right stuff is out in all polite society, as with good reason is all racism, sexism etc. But many authors have stood up for unpopular causes some people may consider ‘extreme’ and boat-rocking, Harold Pinter springs to mind as one example….

    • Sydney Avey says:

      Good question, Peter. I think you can express a point of view others consider extreme if you treat your opposition with respect and acknowledge that you most likely aren’t “all right” and they aren’t “all wrong,” which is usually the case.You have no control over the fact that they may not be able to return the favor. Also, a few well chosen words go down better than paragraphs of opinion. Now I will take my own advice. Have a great evening!

  28. Carrie W says:

    After finally sitting down to write after 30 years of procrastinating and daydreaming about it, I am thankful for this blog. Getting into the business at 40 is a bit daunting and I’m glad I am getting an idea of the do’s and don’t’s while I’m still taking my baby steps.

  29. Good post! The only personal posts I may include on my blog are perhaps prayer requests (on my husband’s health) and my “tears” when my daughter and family moved 1500 miles away–and I got lots of reponses on those two. One thing I won’t include: I do editing for writers and have had some difficult ones, but I won’t include that fact, and ESPECIALLY not the author’s name–would never do that–but I don’t want someone reading it that I’m editing for and having them wonder if “they’re” the difficult one. On my weekly Monday blog I include an update of what I’ve been doing that week writing-wise, a Thought for the Day, A Laugh for the Day, and Writing Tips.

  30. Sydney Avey says:

    I have to admit that reading you list encouraged me because I could say, “Well, yeah” to every single one of your comments. I was trawling Twitter for lift after pushing out 2,625 words in NaNoWriMo today. You made me feel like I know a little something. Thank you.

  31. I asked my husband, son, DIL what subjects they would not like me to blog about and have (so far) respected their choices. I would never want to embarrass them or cause a problem for them professionally just for a few (or a lot) of readers.

    • This is one reason I chose to use a pen name (I know, not a very popular idea). My topic is primarily motherhood, which involves my family and children, and I decided in order to protect them it was the wisest choice. Especially now that I’m blogging and on Facebook (about related material) I’m very glad I did it.

  32. In addition to those you spoke about, I’m very careful about what I say when talking about my family. As Christian writers, we often have primarily Christian audiences, but we’ve still made ourselves public and there are some unstable people in the world. Several weeks back, a literary agent was almost carjacked by an angry author after she happened to tweet about where she was going, so threats are out there. I follow a popular author who has a huge social media presence and she talks about her children using first names and posts pictures of them on Twitter and Facebook regularly. Now that’s obviously her decision and I’m not judging her, but it’s something I’ve avoided. Social media has great benefits, but it can also be a doubtle-edged sword. Thanks for these tips, Rachelle. You are always looking out for us!

  33. I read a blog THIS MORNING where the author talked freely about her father’s constipation. No, I’m not kidding. Bottom line (pardon the pun) is that I want some take away value from a blog; something that gets me thinking, stays with me all day, challenges, encourages or equips me in their area of expertise.

  34. The problem arises when writers start using their blogs, tweets, facebook pages as their personal editorials. Social media is part of an author’s brand. You would not write nonsense about your business partners or processes on your business pamphlet, newsletter or yearly report. In the same way, social media is a way to build your career, and should be viewed as a professional commitment.

  35. My husband has a very sensitive job and he has made it plain to me not to ever “talk” about him on my social media or blogs. However, he’s a major part of my life. He referred to himself as “The Irate Overlord” (some silly name generator thing) so I called him such ever since–because I’m having a tough time not mentioning him…anyway, he usually tells me what I shouldn’t talk about, but I have such a hard time…sigh.

    Such good advice, Rachelle. I find myself seeping out these days. My boys would tell you I’m no Shrinking Violet, but discretion is key.

  36. Giles Hash says:

    I love this post, and a lot of it seems like common sense now that I read it. As an unrepresented author, I tend to avoid blogging about the specifics of looking for an agent. Mostly because I want to avoid the appearance of whining or ranting :).

    I think the political and social comments are a big one. And in my opinion, it’s okay to mention some personal opinions, but very carefully. I was sad to have to eliminate someone from my twitter feed (and from potential working relationships) because they made a very hateful, bigoted remark about a news article they read.

  37. Well, I think enough people handled the bully “David” in the first comment. I write about overcoming child sexual abuse.

    I talk as an expert on the matter of child sexual abuse grooming. I am currently writing a book which was first titled, “Ten Ways to Safeguard Your Child from Sexual Abuse”. Now that title is one of the chapters, and my work has gone much deeper. I have found that much of child sexual abuse is happening as rituals, and by the government as “experiments”.

    It is really impossible at this point to discuss it because I want to end child sexual abuse. I have gone to the root (the heart) of the matter and politics and religion are what I have found. How do I increase my readership, and create a balance?

    Thanks Rachel.

  38. Bonnie Doran says:

    Questions: Is it a good idea to brag about your wonderful agent and editor? What about saying something like, “I’ve turned in my first round of edits, expecting next round in six weeks, depending on schedule?”

  39. Ann Bracken says:

    I grew up being told that the three things you don’t discuss in polite society are faith, money and politics. It seems people need to remember this.

    Well, unless your book is about faith, money or politics. Then go ahead, but keep it about what’s in the book. 😉

  40. Rachelle, well-said. Good advice for experienced and neophyte bloggers alike. As always, your heart for publishing and for writers shows through.

  41. Robin says:

    Great advise. Some hilarious responses too. Particularly David’s. Good use of irony.

  42. You’re probably right about most of these issues if you use your blog as part of your professional appearance. For me as an anonymous blogger, there are no non-nos. I use my blogging and writing as a mental vent. But of course I keep tight walls between my blogging and my professional life (which is in science, not in writing or publishing) >:)

  43. Eric DelaBarre says:

    David….you’re .like a Toddler in a china shop AND your nose is running! Jusssss saying.