An online friend who also writes historical fiction mentioned something that startled me and then got me thinking.
Heather Lazare, an editor for St. Martin’s–I think, said in a panel: ‘That whenever I find a ms I want to make an offer on, the first thing I do is go to their facebook to see how many friends they have.’
Whoa! My first reaction was to sputter and mumble about how ridiculous that approach is. What about all the platform work we aspiring writers do in terms of blogging, tweeting, involving ourselves in specific communities of interest, writing articles, reviewing books? Facebook isn’t the only measure of connectivity. I was incensed that a well-respected editor would consider such a simplistic measure. My emotional self was in high gear.
Smack! The other half of my brain took over. Of course that’s how an editor might think; FB is where she or he and most of their friends spends a lot of time connecting with one another. It’s a classic generation gap.
Let’s imagine the career trajectory of someone in publishing. According to Random House US, the career path is Editorial Assistant, Assistant Editor, Associate Editor, Editor, Senior Editor and Editorial Director. If an individual is hired out of university as an Editorial Assistant and averages 3-4 years in each career stage, she would arrive at Editor in her early 30s. As an example, according to her LinkedIn profile, Heather Lazare went from Assistant to Editorial Assistant and on through various roles to Senior Editor in a span of 9 years.
Not to get too nitty-gritty about my stage in life, but I have a son who is 29 and a daughter who is 32. Their crowd is on Facebook all the time. They post incessantly – random musings, photos, Pinterest links, Instagrams, links to various URLs, status updates, GPS notations. They click the ‘like’ button, scroll through timelines, make rude or funny comments about one another. They don’t call their friends, they FB them.
So … if this is the world that editors live in, this is the world I must embrace. Wanna be my friend?