Blogger: Rachelle Gardner
Congratulations! An agent or editor is interested in your work. While you’re preparing for your meeting or gathering your proposal and manuscript to send, what do you think they’re doing?
Googling you, of course.
And if you’re a contracted author with an agent and everything… guess who’s following you on social media? Your agent, editor, publicist and others at your publishing house.
Here are a few ways to make sure they won’t find anything that will make them think twice about your suitability as a business partner.
1. Your headshots are professional. At least they should be professional-looking, and make sure they’re updated every 3-4 years if you’ve changed or aged like the rest of us.
2. Your profiles are updated. Your LinkedIn profile and “About Me” sections of your Facebook, Twitter, blog and other social sites should be current.
3. You stay true to your brand. You know what you’re about in your online persona, and you stick with it. It can be tempting to venture outside your brand occasionally, but it’s best not to. If your platform is based on ministering to women in the area of the marriage and family, then best not to write scathing opinion pieces about the latest social issues—unless you can tie them directly to your brand.
4. You’re not all about you. Nobody likes someone who only talks about themselves or their own book, family, ministry or opinions. Mix it up. Share other people’s content that fits your brand. Interact and engage with others.
5. You avoid sharing confidential business matters. The amount of your advance, anything in your publishing contract, proprietary information from your agent or publisher, and the status of your manuscript being shopped by an agent… these are all topics to keep to yourself. You don’t want to get in trouble with anyone or cause harm to your career, and you certainly don’t want to appear so unprofessional.
6. You are careful not to shame, criticize or judge. Your online presence is a place to be your best self, to be accepting, and refuse to allow yourself to get drawn in to a conversation where you publicly condemn another (or a group of others).
7. You’re judicious in sharing extreme social or political opinions. (Unless that is what your brand is about.) 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 share your social and political views (unless they’re an important part of your online persona). There’s no need to alienate people who don’t agree with your views, yet might very well love you and your books.
8. You think twice about ranting or venting. Not that you can’t post a rant every now and then, as long as it fits your brand and avoids harshly criticizing others. But I recommend you don’t make venting a regular feature if you’re trying to connect with readers or with the publishing community. Every rant risks losing followers.
The way to avoid embarrassing yourself online is to be yourself — the best version of yourself! Be someone that others would want to work with or learn more about.
Do you disagree with any of my points? Do you have anything to add?
Be yourself online – the BEST version of yourself! Click to Tweet.
Think twice about ranting on social media – unless that’s part of your brand. Click to Tweet.