Choosing How Much Writing-Related News to Share Online

Choosing how much writing-related news to share with our cyber pals can be a challenge.

While it’s fun to share our good news, we don’t want to come across as boastful. And even though sharing our disappointments might make us feel better, we don’t want to go public with our pity parties so often we become a pain.

So, what do we share?

The answer to that question will be different for each person. Some writers are more comfortable discussing the ups and downs of their writing journeys than others. I’ll share some of the choices I’ve made and the reasons for them.

Contest Submissions – Some writers are comfortable telling others when they’ve entered certain contests and will even name the contest. When I was cruising the contest circuit, I didn’t like to make that information public. I wanted my judges to be as impartial as possible.

Since the writing community is a tight-knit group, it was likely a preliminary round judge might have known me. The less I discussed my contest submissions, the easier it was to maintain anonymity and get unbiased feedback. Not only that, but when I didn’t final, I could keep that disappointing news to myself since no one but my CPs knew I’d entered.

Working Titles – Referring to our stories by the names we’ve given them can be tempting. However, before I began entering my story in some contests, I chose not to refer to it by name, calling it my WIP instead. My reason was that I didn’t want a contest judge  to plunk the title in the Google search bar and have it pop up along with my name. Again, my goal was to maintain anonymity as long as possible.

Contest Finals and Wins – This news is public, so sharing it is fine. I try to remember that for each finalist who is happy dancing there are several who aren’t, though, and not to go overboard with my announcements. One per blog, social networking site, or loop is adequate. From there, the news will spread without our help.

Disappointing Contest Feedback – Bashing a contest judge or grousing about the feedback received might make us feel better temporarily, but we can do damage. The judges give of their time, and while we might not agree with their comments on our stories, airing our gripes can be detrimental.

We tend to travel in the same circles, so its possible the very person we’re complaining about could read our rant. It happens. I know from personal experience, having had an entrant complain about the feedback I gave on an entry (not by name, of course, but by sharing information about the comments). Waiting a day or two to give the initial sting to pass before posting such thoughts can prevent an unfortunate situation.

Querying – Most agents understand that we’ll be querying several of them at once and actually encourage us to do so. While sharing the news that we’ve begun querying is fine, my practice was not to publish the names of those who had my manuscript. Agents hang out in many of the same places we do, so conducting ourselves as professionals and not divulging names is, I believe, a wise decision.

Submissions – Multiple submissions are common practice. My agent sent my story to a list of editors whose houses she thought would be a good fit for my story. Many knew we were preparing to go out on submission, so I was comfortable sharing that news. However, I made no mention of which editors had the manuscript.

Discretion when we’re out on submission is, I believe, the only way to go. When our agents are working hard on our behalf, our job is to support their efforts and not divulge the names of those considering our proposal. An exception would be when the story has gone to a single house, as was the case with my CP Jody Hedlund, who blogged about her submission process so we could learn from it.

Passes – I advise against sharing the news that an agent or editor has passed while others are still considering the manuscript. News travels through cyberspace at warp speed, so why advertise the fact that we’ve received a rejection when it serves us to keep quiet?

When my agent submitted my story last October, we received a pass a week the first three weeks because the story wasn’t a fit for their houses. Since we still had editors considering the story, I kept quiet about the passes, only sharing the news with my CPs.

First Sale – Once you have a contract offer, your agent or editor will advise you on when you can go public. My agent advises her clients not to share the news until the contract is inked. One it is, we’re free to shout the news from the cyber rooftops. And that’s news well worth sharing. 🙂

* * *

How do you handle the different types of writing-related news mentioned above?

Have you ever shared a news item and later regretted your decision to go public?

Do you agree or disagree with my choices? Why or why not?

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About Keli Gwyn

I'm an award-winning author of inspirational historical romance smitten with the Victorian Era. I'm currently writing for Harlequin's Love Inspired Historical line of wholesome, faith-filled romances. My debut novel, A Bride Opens Shop in El Dorado, California, was released July 1, 2012. I'm represented by Rachelle Gardner of Book & Such Literary. I live in a Gold Rush-era town at the foot of the majestic Sierras. My favorite places to visit are my fictional worlds, other Gold Country towns and historical museums. When I'm not writing I enjoy taking walks, working out at Curves™ and reading.
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9 Responses to Choosing How Much Writing-Related News to Share Online

  1. Jessica says:

    I definitely try to share enough to encourage but not so much where anyone could guess where something is or who has it. It’s tricky, for sure. Good points above!

  2. I try not to post anything on impulse. If I’m unsure about posting it, I wait a day or two to make sure it’s the right thing to do.

  3. Wendy says:

    I agree with you, Jessica, and Julie above. I tend to keep quiet. It’s hard enough just sifting through my feelings on lots of this stuff anyway. Keeping quiet (at least at first) helps me work it out with God and respond in honoring ways, no matter what the news is.
    ~ Wendy

  4. candidkerry says:

    I’m learning to keep my mouth closed, too (or should I say, my fingers still:). I tend to overshare, but I’ve realized (through FB) exactly what you detailed above — most of those in the industry run in the same circles and network regularly.

    I try to keep info about my book and/or writing fairly quiet, but if someone specifically asks, I’ll talk about it.

    This newbie LOVES all your helpful info! Thanks so much, Keli!

  5. Susan Mason says:

    Very wise and professional attitude, Keli. If I ever do rant or complain, I make sure to keep it very generic so no one would have a clue. (Most times I don’t have a clue either, so that’s easy!)

    Definitely words to live by!

    Cheers,
    Sue

  6. Keli Gwyn says:

    Thanks for the great comments. I’m looking forward to hearing good news today from some of my writing pals who receive The Genesis Call.

  7. Cindy R. Wilson says:

    I like this post, especially for writers who are just starting out with their blogs and don’t know what to talk about and what might be better to keep secret. I tend to be on the quiet side about my writing, though I wasn’t so much in the past. But you’re right about the writing community being tight knit. We can learn as we go what’s best to talk about and what’s best to keep to ourselves. Have a great weekend!

  8. Gina Conroy says:

    Good guidelines. I am very turned off by some authors who only seem to “brag” about their contracts, or words written, or some wonderful thing their children did. I can’t help thinking they’re not telling the “whole” truth. I like to see the “real” author and when all they portray is the good stuff, I tend to ignore what they have to say via not following on twitter or visiting their blog as much.

    I share my triumphs and struggles with others if I feel I have a lesson or message to share or that in someway my journey will help others. I hope it does. But I don’t tell all the little querying details! How boring! I held on to my “contract” news for a while and will just be releasing the cover tomorrow, though I’ve had it for over a month.

    BTW, got my little weasel and other gifts last week! Thanks! My daughter wants to steal my weasel but it’s on my desk as a writing reminder!

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