I’ve just read a wonderful contribution on LinkedIn posted by the Rev. EelKat Wendy C Allen – yes, I think that’s her real name. It concerns a conversation about authors using LinkedIn groups to promote themselves. This is what she had to say…
“I agree that authors have to have exposure. But you also have to ask yourself, what type of exposure do you WANT? Just getting your face/book splattered all over the web, isn’t going to help. Why? Because it makes you look like you are either desperate or a spammer or worse, a desperate spammer.
“Here’s something to think about: A writer can be one of two things: a professional or a hack. People are watching you. Future readers. Future agents. Future publishers. Fellow writers. You want these people to notice your book, you want these people to notice you. But what do they see? What do they notice? They don’t just see your book. They see everything you write. EVERYTHING you write effects [sic] your reputation. EVERYTHING.
“Still thinking I mean your book? I am a publisher. An indie small press publisher, but a publisher none the less and as such I get submissions and emails and cover letters, even though it plainly says on my web site “closed for submissions” and “now only works with our already established in-house writers”. Sending me submissions, tells me a lot about an author’s intelligence, or should I say stupidity and lack of an ability to read?
“Harsh? No, not really. After the submission comes the emails: “Did you read it yet?” … “Did you read it yet?” … “Did you read it yet?”… I send back an email saying: “Did you read my site yet?” You expect me to read your submission, when you didn’t even read my web site which says I’m no longer accepting submissions? Hello? Am I supposed to think there is a brain in your head?
“uhm-huh…like I said – stupid.
“But what does this have to do with posting links on LinkedIn (or any place else)? A lot actually, because the last thing an author wants is for a publisher to look at them and think “Ohmigawd, this person is so stupid!”
“When an editor or agent or publisher is looking at your work, you want them to be thinking: “Now this person really knows what they are doing. They took the time to do it the right way. Very professional.”
“These link posters say they need to get their work known, right? Well, this is true, yes, but think about this too: Every text, every email or private message you send is a representation of your work, every misspelled word and text-speech word tells publishers you are an immature incompetent writer not professional enough to be published. Every comment you post online, on blogs or forums, is a representation of your work, every misspelled word and text-speech word tells publishers you are an immature incompetent writer not professional enough to be published. Every link you jam up Google’s filters with tells publishers you are an immature incompetent spammer not professional enough to be published.
“If you are an embarrassment to yourself, no publisher will pick up your work, because it’s bad enough you’ve smeared your own reputation, they don’t want your unprofessionalism online dragging their company down into the mud with you. They are NOT going to risk their reputation in the hands of a spammer!
“Remember this: Publishers are NOT looking for good writing, they got editors to fix your bad writing. Publishers are looking for that smiling face, a people friendly winning attitude, and a highly professional attention to public relations, when they look for a new author.
“Ask yourself: What would a professional do? Not sure what a professional is? Than ask yourself: What would Stephen King do? Is Stephen King sending bad text messages to agents? Is Stephen King emailing links of his new book to every potential reader on the planet and posting link on every group under the sun?
“Before you post your next link, think about how it makes you look to the eyes of a publisher, and ask yourself, is it really worth it?”
Personally, I thought that was excellent advice. It was direct, forthright. In reply, I wrote…
I’m fascinated with LinkedIn for reasons other than self promotion, although a little of that does not hurt. Like other authors, I’m happy to let people know who I am and what I’ve written. I do this less for the sake of being known, however, and more because I like sharing ideas, information and opinions with people who may not be like minded but who do have like interests. Writing is just one of these. I am also a member of a disaster management group and a risk management group, to name just two.
I stepped into the LinkedIn conversations tentatively at first, then more boldly by degree as I gained understanding of and confidence in how the groups work. The quality of their conversations surprised me. I have learned a great deal from them and conversed with people I would not otherwise have met from all around the world. What’s more, I can step into and out of the conversations at my leisure and can tune in to those I like and tune out of those I don’t. Its like attending an ongoing conference minus the boring and annoying bits.
As for this conversation, I loved Rev. EelKat Wendy C Allen’s contribution. The Rev sounds rather mad, but delightfully and directly so. Put another way, she has a real personality and is prepared to show it. Good on her. And she is right. Everything we say and write represents who we are, what we think and what we value. Her comments are a useful reminder to mind our writing p’s and q’s while also dotting our i’s and crossing our t’s. Sloppy words represent sloppy thinking. Bad editing indicates contempt for our readers. While no writer is perfect in such matters, least of all me, we should at least aim for perfection even when writing a short contribution such as this.