Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Editing My Blogs

One of the blogs I follow, A Walk In My Shoes by Susan Mills, has been discussing the topic of what we post in our blogs; specifically, things we wouldn't want potential agents to read. Susan would have been celebrating her 100th post today, but instead is celebrating 88. Why? She recently deleted several posts that she felt did not show her in the very best light when agent shopping. They weren't whiny or negative... just things that she felt didn't belong in the showcase.

I've been thinking a lot about this topic myself. I've been a little busy, and I would rather spend time on my WIP than editing my blog; but it will come. I've begun to look at this blog as a type of business blog. My main focus, in the beginning, was to document my journey in becoming a published author. I also wanted to be able to give a leg up to others... share things I learned along the way. Those are still my main concerns for this blog. However, my objective is still to be published. An important part of that goal is obtaining representation. So, like Susan, I've been considering deleting any posts that I feel do not show me in the very best light, looking at it from the viewpoint of an agent.

I've also been thinking a lot about my sister blogs. Most of my regular readers are aware that I have two other blogs. I've always kept my topics divided. When I want to share what's happening on my farm, I post to that blog. Things about writing and pursuing publication belong here. Then there's my miscellaneous blog, for anything that doesn't belong on the other two. I have links to the others in my sidebar that I will probably remove. Still, if an agent were to google, they would find the other blogs. I don't think anything I've posted there would necessarily show me in a negative way, but then...

What about the opinion posts? What if the agent I'm querying strongly disagrees with my feelings on a particular issue in the news? (Agents, after all, are people.) Would their viewpoint color their decision on my query? I don't think any agent would truly pass up on a manuscript they thought would easily sell, just because they disagree with my politics. It is how they make a living. But what if my book was a probably? What if they weren't sure whether or not to represent me? Could what I choose to write about on my other blogs tip the scales?

Of course, my other blogs could be a positive thing, too. Suppose the agent was a big animal lover. Maybe the scales would tip in my direction when she read about my relationship with Maggie. Then again, I don't edit my blogs. I just type what's on my mind and hit the publish post button. What if an agent were to scrutinize my grammar and punctuation on my other blogs? I don't think it would have much effect, really. It's not like I'm submitting these posts for publication elsewhere; but it is something to think about.

Another thing I've been thinking about lately is using a pen name. I have one in mind that is very special to me. (Sounds like another post, doesn't it? You will be the first to know.) If I do decide to use a pen name, should I completely separate my writer's blog from any ties to my actual identity? I'm not hiding. You all know what city I live in, and from pictures I've posted of my farm, it would not take a genius to track me down. Maybe I'll want to change that when (not if) I do become published.

I have a goal for my manuscript today, so I don't really have time to ponder all these things now. I would like to know your thoughts. Do you think my identity as a writer should be separated from my identity as a grandmother and farmer's wife? Do you think there are subjects I should avoid posting on this blog? Are you in a similar situation with your blog? Let me know what you think...


Eileen Astels Watson said...

I'm torn about this too, Lillian. I do think that if you are seriously planning to write under a pen name, you ought to secure that name for a website and blog, though.

I love reading authors blogs who do talk about their life and beliefs, so I have a difficult time thinking we have to strip our blogs of personal stuff. I wonder what agents would have to say about this?

Susan R. Mills said...

I'm so torn on this, as you know. I personally have connected to people not only because of the journey we are sharing, but also because of the personal stuff. But I do think, as I've found with you, it is possible to get on a more personal level with people without posting it on our blogs. It's the interaction behind the scenes that makes this happen, not necessarily the blog posts themselves. Does this make sense? Great post, Lily, and thanks for the shout out.

Susan J. Reinhardt said...

I have strong feelings on this issue. While I don't want to antagonize an agent or editor, sooner or later they're going to know where I stand.

As far as a pen name, I've considered it for both privacy and to avoid confusion with a writer in the general market. Yet, I've started building a platform on my real name. Do I go back to square one?

Thanks for a thoughtful post, Lily.

Susan :)

Ekanthapadhikan said...

I too have been thinking seriously about editing my blog. But I'm not very sure about it. I mean, I started blogging to let out a bit of steam and what's the point if I'm going to sit a delete some of them?

Lille Diane said...

Ohhhhh great subject, Lily. If someone really wants to find out who you are, and what you're doing, and what you've "done" they can. They don't need a blog to find out about you. If you start deleting things you may as well delete facebook, too. Big sigh.... In today's world our lives are an open book.

I say be yourself. Besides if Oprah likes you and your book what does it matter what the publishers think???? LOL

I also think what you may be seeing in your old posts is growth you've made since you first started blogging. I'm not sure publicists will see a negative out of that. Writing is practice for perfecting your craft. I think what they will notice is if you've been consistent, if you connect with your followers, if you have a nice fan base already. Blogging is a plus, I think.

Just my opinion.

TC said...

I can understand your desire for a pen name but everyone is right. You are still findable so forget that angle @ all.
It's your call, if you feel the pen name would make you feel better go ahead. I LIKE your real name though, it sounds like an authors name, say it sort of snooty like someone from 5th avenue would say it, sounds good huh? As in I'm reading the new Lillan Robinson book dahhhhhlink.

Wendy Paine Miller said...

It certainly is a lot to ponder and I agree with Susan R. I believe when an agent decides to represent me, they'll be deciding to represent all of me. I'm not afraid to present myself b/c I know I'm fallable and will grow.

Really interesting post!
~ Wendy

Sharon McPherson said...

As a small time publisher myself, we don't have probablys or maybes when securing deals. We know what we want because there is too much money at stake. Publishers are a business and businesses have business plans, which means that their choosing to publish someone is not a random decision. Publishers know what they want to publish (perhaps ten years in advance) and when someone approaches them with a manuscript that fits - voila!

Deleting blog posts is a personal decision. I wouldn't worry about yours. Yours is appealing, thoughtful, conscientious - all great qualities in a writer.

A pen name is fun; it adds mystery to your profile, a little history. But all writers I know of in the public domain always ended using their own once they become popular.

I used a pen name for my first books and regreted it, because my friends could not find my books on the book shelf because I forgot to tell them I used a pen name.

Marla said...

Oh Lily, if I start thinking this through, I will end up deleting my entire blog. I am so enjoying your writing. Can't wait to buy your book.