Informative article on how to query a blogger for guest posts (Book Reviews and Interviews as well).
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I was reading my scriptures when I decided to check my phone (an every 5 minute habit I’m trying to kick. These days, I have to turn my phone off for a moment of peace). As I did so, checked my phone, I saw a post that struck my attention. Colleen, as she always does, posted a link to another great author resource and I could not wait to get the juicy details of why Authors should watch out for this one dangerous trait from literary agents. As I scanned the article, nodding my head and wondering how long it will take my pizza to finish baking and how the beef sausage I sliced on top is going to be the bomb, I was struck by the following statement:
“In and beyond the writing and publishing industry, the way someone uses social media is often a window into that person’s work attitude and style, and a signpost as to how a potential working relationship will evolve.” – Aine Greaney
I stopped thinking of pizza and thought, “Wow, that is so true!”
This got me to thinking about blogs and Facebook and Twitter. I started to think about how we tend to use them all so loosely. I also started to think about businesses or upcoming businesses. As an author, I thought of course of authors and how being a published author is likened to a business in many ways. Furthermore, this got me to thinking more deeply about the social media world in general.
We all like our personal space and the freedom to post what we want on our blogs. For personal blogs, that’s great. Some people are here to write publicly on a personal level. On the other hand, there are those who are blogging to strengthen their writing or to promote their written / published work. For these individuals, its important to keep in mind that your boss is more than likely reading your blog.
The Boss. Who is he? This doesn’t have to be your actual boss but it is someone out there with the potential to take you to that next level. Facebook and Twitter may seem like harmless entities but the fact that professionals are trolling through pages and timelines is no conspiracy theory. For those of us online for fun, have at it. But for those of you seeking to become authors or to use your blogs for anything slightly professional, you may want to consider that the blog posts that go viral are usually the ones we least expect to do so. Personality is key of course. It is always good to let your personality shine through and to let us all know that you’re a real breathing person with passions and concerns and joys just like the rest of us. That personal touch brings people together and builds a bridge of commonality that helps us to get to know one another better, which in turn works well with building professional relationships.
And now we’ve come all the way back around. How you present yourself online should be a representation of who you are, but it should the best part of who you are. Cursing people out on Facebook and engaging in arguments and being nasty to people may be fun now but one day you will grow up. And when that happens you’ll want to explore new things and maybe you’ll even want to put some of those talents to good use. The problem is that the past image of you is still saved in social media files and although you have industry knowledge, Mrs. Smith, your future boss, just can’t get over how vulgar your language is. Mrs. Smith can’t see someone fitting into her communications department who can’t control something as close to them as their own tongues.
I’ve actually experienced this myself. A long time friend of mine (who I am not in communication with but who I have known a while) was launching a new business and sought out support. For the sake of identity I’ll just call this person a she. She promoted across all of her social media accounts and the business itself looked really promising and got some good reviews. As for my friend, having known her for about nine years now, I know her to be very intelligent and knowledgeable about that particular field. In fact, I always knew she would be a business person some day. However, as I scrolled through her Twitter timeline, the one with the beautiful website layout and crowdfunding campaign and call to action, the more I scrolled the worse it got. Eventually, I had gone back a couple years and there was everything there from the use of profanity to sexual language. If I was a professional looking to hire someone with her skill set for my company, I would have been instantly turned off. Even as myself I was turned off. It was as if none of the prior things I saw attractive mattered anymore. My advice to my friend is to create a business account specifically for the business itself without linking it to her private account. Sadly, I’m not sure if that will even work this far in the game. The lesson is a brutal one.
In the end, we all enjoy what we do and I don’t want to leave without stating this fact. Whenever I talk professionalism I get feedback that suggest that in the end blogging should be fun. Of course it should be, but I wouldn’t take it lightly. Nothing on the internet can be. Employers and agents search social media accounts, such as blogs and Facebook, because social media is the largest data collection service to date for collecting and gathering intelligence and people tend to be themselves on these platforms more than they actually are in person. Social Media therefore becomes a valuable platform for employers to seek out potential clients in their natural state.
It’s not about being phony and fake, its about being mindful of your behavior. It’s OK to be yourself on social media. In fact, I would hope that you are yourself. Showcase pictures of your family, display the music you like, or speak about something that is passionate to you. However, keep in mind that thousands of people are potentially reading your blogs everyday and one of them, just one of them, may turn out to be your boss.
How do we define professionalism?
As I scrolled through my Facebook feed a few weeks ago, I came across a status update that was upsetting, though sadly not surprising: “That awkward moment when your decision to wear your hair natural comes up in an interview… and not in a complimentary way…”
My friend Sonia had interviewed for a position as a Social Media Specialist for a marketing startup in New York City. The interview took place in the common area of WeWork, a coworking office space where the startup had put down temporary roots. As distracting commotion took place around them, she and the rather cold interviewer had the following exchange.
Interviewer: “Is that how your hair is in your LinkedIn picture?”
Interviewer: “Not straight?”
Interviewer: “Oh… Interesting…”
He then made qualifying statements, such as, “So you say you’re good at SEO,” and “You claim to be a good writer.” I…
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I was fulfilling some orders this morning, you know the daily grind, and my thoughts fell on blogging in general. I thought about the history of blogging and how it has changed over the years. But what my thoughts focused on more so is how the increase in technology seemed to have downgraded the professional image of blogging in the eyes of the (wait for it) blogger.
When we launch these blogs, I do not think we really understand its significance. At least I didn’t.
Anyone can create a blog today. It is as easy as signing up for a Word Press free account. You can write about what you want and organize your blog how you see fit. Though it is easy to do, have you ever thought about what it means to be a blogger? I remember watching television over the years and seeing someone speak. Sometimes the person speaking had a title that said “Blogger” and as he or she spoke concerning their subject of expertise I never second guessed that they were a professional. “Blogger” was no different to me then than “Attorney at Law” or “Psychologist”. That is because before the blog evolved into what it is today, it was a big deal.
“The modern blog evolved from the online diary, where people would keep a running account of their personal lives. Most such writers called themselves diarists, journalists, or journalers. The Open Pages webring included members of the online-journal community. Justin Hall, who began eleven years of personal blogging in 1994 while a student at Swarthmore College, is generally recognized as one of the earliest bloggers, as is Jerry Pournelle. Another early blog was Wearable Wireless Webcam, an online shared diary of a person’s personal life combining text, video, and pictures transmitted live from a wearable computer and EyeTap device to a web site in 1994.
The blog was independently invented by Ian Ring, in 1997. His online journaling platform was called an “e-journal”. Ring’s project was later abandoned, but was rewritten in 2006 but didn’t become popular amid the overwhelming flood of other CMS systems becoming available, including WordPress. Ring still maintains that he “invented the blog”, which is technically true even though there were other projects that could make the same claim with greater authority.
Another early example of an early online entry into the evolution of blogging was created by Dave Winer. Winer is considered a pioneer of Web syndication techniques and has been considered one of the “fathers” of blogging. As the editor of Scripting News claims that his site “bootstrapped the blogging revolution and that it is the longest running Web Log on the internet”, Winer did not use the term “blog” and has never claimed the term. However he has gone on record as saying that “The first blogs were inspired by this blog, in fact many of them, including Barger’s Robot Wisdom, used my software.”
Websites, including both corporate sites and personal homepages, had and still often have “What’s New” or “News” sections, often on the index page and sorted by date. One example of a news based “weblog” is the Drudge Report founded by the self-styled maverick reporter Matt Drudge, though apparently Drudge dislikes this classification. Two others—Institute for Public Accuracy and Arts & Letters Daily—began posting news releases featuring several news-pegged one-paragraph quotes several times a week beginning in 1998. One noteworthy early precursor to a blog was the tongue-in-cheek personal website that was frequently updated by Usenet legend Kibo.
Early weblogs were simply manually updated components of common websites. However, the evolution of tools to facilitate the production and maintenance of web articles posted in reverse chronological order made the publishing process feasible to a much larger, less technical, population. Ultimately, this resulted in the distinct class of online publishing that produces blogs we recognize today.” – Wikipedia
So what of all this? What’s the point?
From personal reflection, understanding the magnitude of what it means to blog helps me to maintain a level of professionalism on my blog; whether that is the appearance or the quality of the content. It helps me to remember that people are browsing the internet and coming across this blog from Google everyday in hopes of finding solutions to problems, or to overall be informed. It is not to say that blogs are not fun because I have lots of fun on this blog. And as we have read the first blogs were online diaries. Interestingly enough, many of the blogs I come across have this format.
The blogger is not a writer in the organized sense, just someone using the web as a way to publicly vent their thoughts (which I think we all do to an extent). It is just to say that I have come to look at blogging in a new light. As opposed to when I first started this blog, I place a kind of value on it now that I didn’t really think about before. Not value as in its my whole world or anything, but value as in the fact that real people are taking the time to stop here and to read and to learn. Therefore, how I present myself online, as a reflection of my real self, is not just some mediocre past time. What we write here is a big deal. Every day you are helping people in every aspect of their lives. To be a blogger then is kinda a big deal. I would even say it is something worth mentioning on a resume.
Timeline: Blogging Evolution:
Swarthmore student Justin Hall creates first blog ever, Links.net.
Online diarist Jorn Barger coins the term “Weblog” for “logging the Web.”
Programmer Peter Merholz shortens “Weblog” to “blog.”
Blogger rolls out the first popular, free blog-creation service.
Boing Boing is born.
Heather Armstrong is fired for discussing her job on her blog, Dooce. “Dooced” becomes a verb: “Fired for blogging.”
Nick Denton launches Gizmodo, the first in what will become a blog empire. Blogads launches, the first broker of blog advertising.
Talking Points Memo highlights Trent Lott’s racially charged comments; thirteen days later, Lott resigns from his post as Senate majority leader.
Gawker launches, igniting the gossip-blog boom.
“Salam Pax,” an anonymous Iraqi blogger, gains worldwide audience during the Iraq war.
Google launches AdSense, matching ads to blog content.
The first avalanche of ads on political blogs.
Jason Calacanis founds Weblogs, Inc., which eventually grows into a portfolio of 85 blogs.
Denton launches Wonkette.
Calacanis poaches Gizmodo writer Peter Rojas from Denton. Denton proclaims himself “royally shafted” on his personal blog.
Merriam-Webster declares “blog” the “Word of the Year.”
Study finds that 32 million Americans read blogs.
The Huffington Post launches.
Calacanis sells his blogs to AOL for $25 million.
An estimated $100 million worth of blog ads are sold this year.
Time leases Andrew Sullivan’s blog, adding it to its Website.
The Huffington Post surges to become fourth most-linked-to blog.
You may remember the article I re-blogged from fellow blogger Colleen of Silver Threading when she spoke about the importance of an Author Media Kit. And so yall know I’m always looking for free resources right? I was looking for something completely off this subject and discovered this website filled with tons of information for authors and you won’t believe what I found. That’s right, a free editable author media kit. Of course, not everything that says free truly is free so I checked it out and guess what, it’s FREE!
Just visit this website, and follow these directions:
Free Book Stuff > Free Editable Author Media Kit
Put your email address in and they will send you a free editable word template. Download the zip file and save it to your PC / Mac. (When you open it click “Enable Editing” to replace the information and pictures with your own) I would suggest creating a hard-copy Author Media Kit portfolio. Go to Wal-Mart or the dollar store and purchase a nice thick binder. Edit your free kit and print it out. If you could, get a professional author photo taken sometime in the future and add it to your portfolio.
Do we have time for a story? We do. Briefly, this discovery reminded me of women and nice clothes. I know, but hear me out. I always find it exciting that when I ask other women where they got their shoes or how they decorated their home, their answer tends to include bargain stores. Beautiful homes and lovely attire pieced together between Wal-Mart and the Goodwill. Bedroom sets and living room sets that look like they cost a fortune that somebody got from a garage sale. The moral of the story is that professionalism does not have to cost a lot of money. There are tons of free or extremely inexpensive resources available to help us to increase our professional image in just about every area.
So anyway, class dismissed. I’m going to get started on my free author media kit.
Dear Indie Authors, do you have an Author Media Kit? Colleen has great advice for why you should get one. Yes, like, today.
I love books! I also love reading and reviewing books. Why? Here are a few of my favorite reasons.
- I get to read great literature from new authors.
- I usually get these books as complimentary copies.
- I like to promote new authors and their work.
- I get immense satisfaction from all of the above!
However, lately I have been running across a situation that is prevalent with new authors. This is the lack of a media kit or a prepared biography including social media links that we book reviewers use to promote an author’s works.
In other words, help us promote your material. I know I have spent countless hours searching for information on authors on the internet. These searches take time and effort.
Every author should have this information saved on their computer so that they can retrieve it whenever it is requested. I have an area on Silver…
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