Ask An Editor: The Answers (part 1)

Happy Monday, all! I managed to get a cold this weekend, but I’m soldiering on, and still hoping to get caught up on queries REAL SOON. Thanks again for your patience.
But let’s move on to the exciting stuff! JenFW wanted to know: When editors search the internet for further info about a potential author, what are some things that make an impression, good or bad?
Well, I saw something like 14 editors, plus scouts and authors, and though I didn’t put the question to all of them, I did ask it a lot, and I think I got some interesting answers.
One editor put her answer in writing: It’s almost always a good sign to me, when an author has an online presence. Whether it’s an actual website, a Facebook or MySpace page, or a blog, it’s a signal to me that the author is savvy, culturally aware, and plugged-in. The only real negative to me would be if there was any questionable–that is, offensive or hurtful or wildly inappropriate for young readers–content on the author’s page. If the author had published any material online that was offensive or harmful in any way, that might make me question pursuing them.
Another editor expanded on a similar answer, urging aspiring writers to be aware that ANYTHING you say online can be tracked, and editors do search — either just Googling, or more intense searches on forums and comment threads. You should always behave as if you’re on a job interview. Do you want an editor to see you dissing an agent or another author online? Don’t just hide your thoughts behind an online nickname, just think if what you’re saying is something you can imagine saying to that agent or author’s face. If not, consider if it’s appropriate to post.
And as for Googling, the majority of editors I spoke with said they do it, so have a website up there! Even if it’s on a topic other than your writing — if an editor can see you are informed, professional, and eager to update, even if you’re talking about knitting, it’s a good sign.
More tomorrow!

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