If You Can’t Type Anything Nice, Don’t Type Anything At All

August 30, 2009 at 12:40 AM | Posted in Agents, Publishing, Uncategorized, Writing, Writing Advice | 9 Comments

Aw, yes.  You thought you outgrew the Golden Rule when you hit puberty, but alas, it shall continue to haunt you.  I promise.

But let us not focus on what you “say” so much as what you “type.”  Not  in your manuscript.  This is a little more professional.  A little more “if you want to get published” driven.  A little more frightening, if you want the truth.

Answer honestly.

Have you every REALLY thought about what you write on the internet?

No, no.  I’m not here to give you the parental “child molester” speech, though that is certainly something to consider, I promise.  Instead, I want you to think in a business-like way.  Have you posted anything stupid, mean, compromising, or embarrassing online?  Don’t lie.  You have.  We all have.   It happens.  But I’m here to tell you why it is best to watch carefully what you say.

Let’s look at this from the “you want to get published” perspective, shall we?

We’re teens.  We’re vibrant and lively.  Most every author on this blog writes in a thread on AW.  Its casual.  Its fun.  But if you aren’t careful, it can get potentially dangerous.  People can often forget they are in a public forum rather than a chatroom.  People say things and talk about things that, in truth, aren’t a good idea to advertise to the rest of the world.

Let me just tel you, from experience, that agents and editors DO google you.

My agent found me on AW.  My agent follows my blog.  My agent is probably reading this post RIGHT NOW!  And I’m fine with that.  Lucky for me, I haven’t said anything TOO ridiculous online, but I’ll admit that even I’ve forgotten that my posts were insanely public.

Here’s a few things NOT to do on a public forum:

1. Complain about query rejections from specific agents.   Other agents might see this and look down on your insulting of a fellow agent.  And it just isn’t tactful.

2. Post negative book reviews on your blog.  If you hate the book, don’t talk about it.  You might wind up with the same agent/editor/publishing house as that author, and wouldn’t that be upsetting?  Or worse, you might MEET the author you trashed.  Karma is a bitch, remember?

3. Just don’t be unprofessional.  Post casual things, sure, but don’t talk about getting drunk or doing crazy things that potential colleges/agents/employers might frown on.  This applies for things other than writing, obviously.

I’m not saying write intensely perfect and/or grammatically correct posts on forums like AW.  I’m all for freedom of speech!  But be mindful.  Anytime you post, think of an agent you are querying or may query soon.  Would they frown on you if they read that post?  Is it mean?  Would it hurt the feelings of someone you may become connected with?

All just a bit of advice.  Like I said, agents are googling their authors.  A lot of them.  What will they find out about you?

Scary, right?



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  1. Excellent advice, Kody! All very true. =D Hopefully I haven’t said anything too mortifying anywhere. XD

  2. Haha, great post! I can think of some things I’ve “typed” that could be embarrassing to have read back to me – but hopefully nothing insulting or career-ruining. Maybe some day when I’m feeling sick I’ll comb through all my past posts… that should be an interesting time. :)

  3. aaaahhh.
    reality check.
    i have just googled myself because of this.

  4. This is exactly what Wendy Loggia (Delacorte Press) was saying at the LA SCBWI conference this month. She’s rejected a number of authors because of something they wrote on the Internet.

    I’ve given your team blog an award. It was given to me by Suzette Saxton of the Query Tracker Blog. Check out my blog (photography tips for teenage girls interested in photography) at http://www.stinalindenblatt.com for instructions. See you back on AW (I’m Tuuli)

    • Wow, thank you Stina! *ponders who to pass the award onto*

      And now we’ll have to link you on our blogroll! :)

  5. Oh, and congrats on The Duff. Can’t wait to read it!

  6. Oooo–you predicted I’d read this and everything! Creepy? Coincidence? No. Besides the fact that I’m a genuine fan of Kody and all things she contributes too (including this fantastic blog), it’s my job to keep myself up-to-date on what’s being blogged about the industry at all (as much as any one human can at least).

    And another point to add to Kody’s excellent post:

    Don’t blog about your agent/editor/publicist/local bookseller/grandma/mailman/etc specifically! Even if you don’t say their name, they know, and chances are they aren’t the only ones who can figure it out.

    Well…except for grandma. At least mine. She doesn’t even know how to play solitaire on the computer, let alone make it onto the internet at all.

  7. Wow, Kody, we really did blog about the same thing!

    Very very well-put. :)

  8. Great site…keep up the good work.

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