Wednesday, March 9, 2011


Oh, the irony! Of being slow to blog about the schmooze where we discussed "Presenting Ourselves Online!"

Over 46 of us gathered at the Westside Writers Schmooze last month to talk about social media, networking, platforms, and all manner of online goodness.

To start, we went over a schmoozerific checklist Rita brought of easy steps we could all potentially take (not saying "should," just "could") in presenting ourselves online.

These steps progressed from Basic: Be findable, professional, and explore the community. (Read blogs! Get informed! Don't know where to start? Try the links listed here.)

through Intermediate: Create content and engage with the community

to what to do before you submit a manuscript, once your books are out, and a bigger discussion about platforms.

A number of interesting ideas were discussed along the way. Such as: Do different email providers have different stigmas or status attached to them? Are we better off choosing a gmail email address than, say, yahoo? What about best addresses for our blogs? (Blogger? Wordpress? Livejournal? Our own?)

Or the "crazy test" - which is what most editors and agents are really doing when they're interested in buying your book or representing you and they google you. They just want to make sure you're not crazy. So consider that when presenting yourself online. As above, you want to be findable and professional.

It was recommended we set up Google alerts on our own names, so that we, too, could find out what others might learn about us. (On this, Greg Pincus recommended his two-part, quick tutorial on how to set up a Google Alert, at his Web site The Happy Accident.)

Other great tips from that night:
- the benefits of Google Reader to organize your blog reading,
- compelling reasons to sign up for free Twitter and Facebook accounts sooner rather than later,
- and blogging platforms! Regarding understanding platforms, Greg Pincus also suggested everyone check out Christina Katz's Web site. (Click on the links list at the right to find her posts
sorted by tag, such as under "Author Platform.")

The entire group also worked through some illuminating worksheets Lee generously shared from his "Ready, Set, Blog!" workshop, to help each of us define the theme that runs through our writing - and to consider the synergy we can create between our on-line presence and our writing for children and teens.

A discussion of what goes in our "About Me" bios led to our climactic, go-round-the-room exercise: Each of us took a turn sharing one interesting tidbit about ourselves that people might not know, which we might or might not choose to incorporate in our bios. The resulting reveals were wildly various--and eye-opening--helping us get to know each other anew, and giving us food for thought on how we'd like to present ourselves going forward!

So think about what YOU are doing online, and for inspiration and cheering-us-all-on support, make sure to check out the following websites and blogs of our Westside Writers Schmooze Schmoozers!

Rita Crayon Huang
Lee Wind
Joshua Hauke
Megan Frances Abrahams
Lori Berezin
Phil Houtz
Rhonda Hayter
Melaine Bryant
Stephanie Dreyer
Daniel Teeter
Joan Charles
Greg Pincus and
L. Fernandez
June Sobel
Cindy Marcus
Jennifer Bao Yu "Precious Jade" Jue-Steuck
Bob Miller and
Serge Delpierre

Namaste, and Cheers,

Lee and Rita

Photo of The Westside Writers Schmooze in action by Rita Crayon Huang


  1. I'm in the photo on the far left. Woo Hoo! I'm somebody! Ha! Ha! Ha!

  2. So, I shared at this schmooze that it was getting past time for me to "upgrade" my yahoo account to gmail, owing to the stigma attached to different addresses, and the idea met some surprise. Here, for your amusement and edification, is a handy little breakdown of "What Your Email Address Says About You":

    (Though I disagreee yahoo is under hotmail! HEY! That is not true!!)

    A friend posted this on my Facebook wall today, basically to badger me into getting a move on. :D