A few days ago, author Sandra Scoppettone blogged about her editor, Joe Blades, leaving Ballantine and her anxieties about it. This prompted an anonymous commenter to warn her that her very candid blog posts could be damaging to her career. Sandra angrily fired back. Soon, the ugly little argument spilled over to other blogs. Now Galleycat has picked up on the catfight, so-to-speak, and it will mushroom from there…
Unfortunately, it illustrates that even someone who’s been in the
business as long as Scoppettone has (and whose influence on two
different genres continues to be felt) can sometimes let things go all
too haywire. And it further illustrates the power of blogging in the
publishing world — because you never know who’ll be out there reading,
passing judgment, and jumping to conclusions.
The blog skirmish brings up an interesting issue — how honest should you be on your blog? I have to admit I cringed a bit at some of Sandra’s posts, and at my friend Paul Guyot’s surprising candor about the ups-and-downs of his pilot experience, and at my cousin regularly trashing her employer. Sure, it makes good reading and can be cathartic for the author — but is it self-destructive? I don’t know. I just know I don’t want to find out for myself.
I’ve been very careful here not to talk about the shows I am working on (except to hype them when they air), or the executives and producers I am working with (or hope to work with), or authors/writers I work and socialize with (unless it is to hype their latest work). I rarely name individual producers, writers, editors or executives. I talk in general terms, for the most part, or about personal experiences that are safely in the past.
I’m clearly not shy about expressing my opinion — but I’m careful about it. I don’t hesitate to criticize fanfiction, self-publishing scams, the RWA, or people searching the Internet for Lindsay Lohan’s nipples — those are safe. But, for example, you won’t see me trashing a producer, a studio, a network, or a major publishing company.
I think some bloggers forget that they aren’t writing a private diary — it’s like a column in a newspaper. You have no idea who is reading it or how your words are being passed around. Blogging is fun, but my career is far more important.