Social media is a wonderful tool for aspiring authors, illustrators, and publishing industry professionals. It is a fantastic way to learn about and meet editors, agents, art directors. I credit twitter for creating many of my agent relationships that I cherish and it has also helped me find authors and illustrators who I would love to work with someday.
Outside of the publishing industry, social media sites have also become a great way to interact with companies and let them know how you really feel. Who among us hasn’t tweeted about bad service from a cable provider or airline? It seems like one of the only ways to get the attention of companies. A tweet saying “My internet is down! @INSERTYOURCABLEPROVIDERHERE” is a sure way to get the service that you are paying for fixed.
Here’s the thing, while that approach works for mega-corporations, it isn’t the best way to get across your point in the publishing industry areas of twitter/facebook. An editor or agent rejected your book? Or maybe you just got a really intense edit letter or art notes on your work? Here is my advice.
THINK BEFORE YOU TWEET.
I know this has been said before, but the publishing world is TINY. We all talk to each other. Gchat, google groups, direct messages, and old fashioned drinks at the bar. We talk. If an editor/agent/art director sees a potential author/illustrator publicly complaining about their current project, it makes the complainer less attractive to them and those angry tweets/facebook posts could easily be shown to other potential agents/editors/art directors.
Let’s say your book has been bought or you’ve been hired to illustrate a book. Just because you got the job and are “in” doesn’t mean you should air all of your issues on social media. Your edit letter is late? You disagree with all of your editor/designer’s comments? Ranting on twitter or facebook about it instead of having the conversation with your editor/designer is a bad idea. Better yet, if you are repped, be sure that your agent is looped in and they can be the “bad cop” for you.
Full disclosure: It feels GOOD to rant. I get that. Who hasn’t written out an angry tweet and then deleted it before hitting the tweet button? But instead of taking your anger out on twitter, talk to your crit partner or a fellow illustrator.
Publishing isn’t all auctions and bestseller lists. It is a tough industry filled with a lot of rejection and criticism. It’s not always fun. But the one way to pretty much guarantee you won’t get work is by ranting about it publicly.
In conclusion, tweet and post on facebook to make great connections and have a good time. Save the anger for offline.