Sunday, August 7, 2011

Emma Dryden and Harold Underdown's PAL workshop: Social Media for Authors & Illustrators

Harold Underdown is the man behind The Purple Crayon website, one of the first online resources in children's literature. He posts great links and articles about things going on in this industry and also tweets.

Emma Dryden has a website describing her Drydenbks business, and is very active on twitter and facebook and she's even moving into google+ as well.

They are sharing a virtual handout with amazing resources to check out and a paper handout that reviews a large number of the social networks for readers that are out there.

The first thing they suggest to do is to get a website.

Think about your website as a living document - a forum for you as you grow, with new artwork, new sketches, but not everything - you want to give a sampling, a showcase of your writing, your illustration, your interests, your links, song lists, book titles. (But don't give away the store.)

Some great pieces of advice:

Think about who your audience is going to be. The audience for picture books are not going online. But if you write picture books, you could have resources for parents and teachers.

Don't put your unpublished manuscript on your website, but once it's published, put up a few chapters - people love to preview.

Do not post photos of your children: be careful of the presence that you have online - it's totally public. Keep your boundaries in mind from the very beginning.

Own your own domain name (and don't let it lapse.)

They're explaining and discussing the pros and pitfalls of facebook, twitter, and twitterchats, myspace, LinkedIn, and Google+, sharing strategies for how to manage the flow of information.

You can also have a blog as your website. Emma mentions the article Alice Pope wrote about starting a blog in the recent SCBWI Bulletin, and recommends it. You can also use your blog as your website. One way to take the pressure off is to be part of a group blog - a Glog - (like INK)

Some authors doing social media RIGHT that Emma and Harold suggest you look to as inspirations:

Ellen Hopkins

Laurie Halse Anderson

And another example of an author doing an excellent job with twitter is Maureen Johnson

There are even publishers and authors who are tweeting AS characters!

Of course, you can't do everything. (Emma likes twitterchats, Harold doesn't...)
"Social Media is not something you HAVE to do, but maybe you can find one part of it that does work for you." - Harold Underdown

And the attendees of this session are now armed with loads of practical information to help them figure that out!

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