Ask An Editor: The Answers (part 1)

November 17th, 2008 • Kate

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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6 Responses to “Ask An Editor: The Answers (part 1)”

  1. bridgetzinn Says:

    Thanks for getting the scoop!

  2. beth Says:

    It's good to know that an online presence is beneficial and something we should mention in a query. Thanks!

  3. lotusloquax Says:

    Thanks, I appreciate this info. It's nice to know that the effort to have the web presence is helpful to us. It just hit me that I need to make sure my blog, etc., show up under my name on a google search.

  4. yellowbrick08 Says:

    This is great info, Kate. Very useful. Thanks for posing the question.

  5. Angela Says:

    Kate,
    Can I assume the same info holds true for agents? Do you often check to see if a potential client has a web presence?
    Thanks for the info – love your blog!

  6. KS Says:

    Kate – I have a pretty unusual name, but there's another writer out there with the very same first/last name who's posted her own stuff (which isn't spellbinding) on writing.com. I'm scared to death anyone googling my name will find her stuff and assume it's mine. Am I right to be worried? When I google myself with "writer" in the search, it's the first thing that pops up.
    Thanks and I also love this blog!