62. Author Life: Public vs. Private
A bit of a contentious topic this week, but JJ and Kelly discuss the boundaries between your public self and your private self and how that can affect your publishing career, including tips on what to do when your book is called out for harmful content. They also have tips about skincare, especially Korean beauty, if you're into that sort of thing.
Once again, apologies for the audio quality. JJ's mic was acting weird for some reason.
Something we should all keep in mind in this day and age: you as the Author are a public figure, whereas you as the Writer are a private person.
Social media has made navigating this divide somewhat difficult as it has eroded boundaries.
For the querying writer:
Please put your social media links (if you have them) in your query.
The agent is not looking for reasons to fire someone by looking at your social media; they're looking for a sense of you as a person.
Are you being professional? That's really all the agent is looking for.
For the published writer:
Be aware that you social media is public, and therefore don't put anything online that you wouldn't stand by in private.
The distance between the author and the reader is much shorter now, and this is causing the author/reader relationship to evolve and change.
The saying "The Author is Dead" is no longer quite so appropriate.
The access the audience has to the author and vice versa changes the power dynamic and makes it more, well, dynamic in terms of ebb and flow, give and take of power.
WHAT TO DO WHEN YOU ARE CALLED OUT
What is a "call out?" A "call out" is when a member of a marginalized group publicly critiques your work and its (usually harmful) effect on their community.
Here are the most important things to keep in mind when you are called out:
DO NOT DEFEND YOURSELF.
NO SERIOUSLY, DON'T.
It doesn't matter if you're the nicest human being on the face of the planet, you still did something harmful and you should own up and apologize for that.
RACISM/ABLEISM/HOMOPHOBIA/TRANSPHOBIA/etc. ARE NOT MATTERS OF OPINION.
THEY'RE REALLY NOT.
After you're called out, APOLOGIZE and try and MAKE AMENDS.
When you hurt someone in a marginalized community, it doesn't matter if another member of that community says, "Well, it didn't bother me." Microaggressions (and flat-out actual aggressions) don't effect everyone equally, but they STILL HAVE AN EFFECT.
Look at it this way: if you step on someone foot and break it, you should apologize and offer to pay for their hospital bill. It doesn't matter if you didn't mean to break their foot—you still broke it.
On the other hand, say you step on someone's foot and you didn't break it. That doesn't mean what you did isn't harmful. It just means you didn't break this person's foot.
EFFECT > INTENT.
What We're Working On
Kelly is working on agenting stuff
JJ is working on book 2 stuff
What We're Reading
Career of Evil by Robert Galbraith
Flame in the Mist by Renee Ahdieh
Empress of a Thousand Skies by Rhoda Belleza
Off Menu Recommendations
In the Thick podcast
NPR Politics podcast
FiveThirtyEight Politics podcast
That's all for this week! Next week we're going to talk about PROMOTIONS. What works? What doesn't? As always, if you have any questions, feel free to leave them in the comments below or you can ask us using the hashtag #askpubcrawl on Twitter.