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MILLLICENT G. DILLON, represented by Harold Ober Associates, is the world’s expert on authors Jane and Paul Bowles. She has won five O. Henry Awards and been nominated for the PEN/Faulkner. I worked with Dillon on her memoir, The Absolute Elsewhere, in which she describes in luminous prose her private meeting with Albert Einstein to discuss the ethics of the atomic bomb. Read more. . .

SASHA TROYAN is a Professor of English at Montclair University and author of the critically-acclaimed novels Angels in the Morning and The Forgotten Island, both Booksense Selections, beautiful stories based upon her childhood in France. I worked with Troyan to develop her new novels, Marriage A Trois and Semester. Read more. . .

LUCIA ORTH is the author of the debut novel, Baby Jesus Pawn Shop, which received critical acclaim from Publisher’s Weekly, NPR, Booklist, Library Journal and Small Press Reviews. I have edited a number of essays and articles for Orth. Read more. . .

BHAICHAND PATEL, retired after an illustrious career with the United Nations, is now a journalist based out of New Dehli and Bombay, an expert on Bollywood, and author of three non-fiction books published by Penguin. I edited Patel’s best-selling debut novel, Mothers, Lovers, and Other Strangers, published by Pan Macmillan. Read more. . .

SCOTT WILBANKS, represented by Barbara Poelle of the Irene Goodman Literary Agency, is the author of the debut novel, The Lemoncholy Life of Annie Aster, published by Sourcebooks in August, 2015. I’m working with Wilbanks on his sophomore novel, Easy Pickens, the story of the world’s only medically-diagnosed case of chronic naiveté. Read more. . .

SCOTT WARRENDER is a professional musician and Annie Award-nominated lyricist specializing in musical theater. I work with Warrender regularly on his short stories and debut novel, Putaway. Read more. . .

M. TERRY GREEN enjoys a successful self-publishing career with multiple sci-fi/fantasy series set in the Multiverse, based upon her expertise in anthropology and technology. I worked with Green to develop a new speculative fiction series. Read more. . .

ANIA VESENNY, represented by Beverly Slopen Literary Agency, is a recipient of the Evelyn Sullivan Gilbertson Award for Emerging Artist in Literature and has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize. I edited Vesenny’s debut novel, Swearing in Russian at the Northern Lights, and her second novel, Sandara. Read more. . .

STUART WAKEFIELD is the #1 Kindle Best Selling author of Body of Water, the first novel in his Orcadian Trilogy. Body of Water was 1 of 10 books long-listed for the Polari First Book Prize. I edited Wakefield’s second novel, Memory of Water, and look forward to editing the final novel of his Orcadian Trilogy, Spirit of Water. Read more. . .

GERALDINE EVANS is a best-selling British author. Her historical novel, Reluctant Queen, is a Category No 1 Best Seller on Amazon UK. I edited Death Dues, #11 in Evans’ fifteen popular Rafferty and Llewellyn cozy police procedurals, which received a glowing review from the Midwest Book Review. Read more. . .

JUDY LEE DUNN is an award-winning marketing blogger. I am working with Dunn to develop and line edit her memoir of reconciling liberal activism with her emotional difficulty accepting the lesbianism of her beloved daughter, Tonight Show comedienne Kellye Rowland. Read more. . .

JEFF RUSSELL is the author of the debut novel, The Rules of Love and Law, based upon Jeff’s abiding passions for legal history and justice. Read more. . .

LEN JOY is the author of the debut novel, American Past Time. I worked with Len to develop his novel from its core: a short story about the self-destructive ambitions of a Minor League baseball star. Read more. . .

ALEX KENDZIORSKI is an American physician working in South Africa on community health education and wildlife conservation. I edited Kendziorski’s debut novel Wait a Season for Their Names about the endangered African painted wolf, for which he is donating the profits to wildlife conservation. Read more. . .

ALEXANDRA GODFREY blogs for the New England Journal of Medicine. I work with Godfrey on her short fiction and narrative nonfiction, including a profile of the doctor who helped save her son’s life, “Mending Broken Hearts.” Read more. . .

In addition, I work with scores of aspiring writers in their apprenticeship to this wonderful literary art and craft.

  • By Victoria Mixon

    I just got back from a week in the beautiful Columbia River Gorge and a very long drive between Washington State and my home in Northern California by way of Powell’s Books in Portland. I’m wiped out. I left you pondering whether blogs are dead or just evolving into books, plus that pesky question of how to find time to write either one. Now this week I’m going to very quickly teach you absolutely everything I know about social media, all of which I learned from Jenny Lawson, the Bloggess.

    Some of you might remember Jenny. I interviewed her a long time ago, eschewing the normal questions that interviewers were asking her, like, “When did you start blogging?” “How long did it take to build your incredibly faithful following?” “Why did you name your dead warthog after the 20th US president?” “How do you get your cat to sit on your head like that?” and, “Why does Victor only wear a thong and a flip-flop?”

    I asked her which famous comedian she would eat first if she were trapped on a desert island.

    And because this is a writing blog, I asked her about the book she was writing, Let’s Pretend This Never Happened (A Mostly True Memoir), which she said she’d been writing for about ten years then. Two weeks later her agent sold it to Amy Einhorn Books/Putnam.


    Anyway, I’m always really busy, so Jenny is pretty much the only person I ever look up on Twitter just to see what bizarre commentary she’s been sharing with the world in sentences of 140 characters or less. She’s out there every week, just like Pee-Wee’s Playhouse, stirring up the members of her tribe into a frenzy.

    So here are my cardinal rules of social media, every single one of them stolen from her:

    1. Talk to your readers as though you were all real people, not marketers and target markets

      Social media is really only a glorified version of millions of little kids holding tin cans at opposite ends of an incredibly long and convoluted piece of string.

      A background like mine in journalism and writing books is kind of strange for a blogger, because those types of writing don’t have readers attached to the other ends as you’re writing. You hope readers are going to materialize. But they haven’t done it yet.

      Which means even if you say something funny and it makes the reader think of something even funnier, you will never be laughing on different parts of the planet together at exactly the same time. And if you say something sad and it makes them tear up, you will never be feeling that bond of grief in the same moment. And if you say something meaningful that makes the top of their head blow right off, you will never, ever see the fireworks in the distance in your own sky.

      But when we’re out here on the intertubes together, we sometimes do cross paths in the same moment, and the serendipity of that can blossom into a spontaneous gang all over the place, all of us sharing an impossibly thrilling instant in the history of the human race.

      Real people.

    2. Show your real sense of humor, with perhaps slightly less profanity

      I know. Jenny has said many of the people who’ve known her in her life don’t know about her profanity. But everyone who’s ever known me sure knows about mine.

      I think of it as Monopoly money, and I figure I spent the vast majority of my little paper bucks in my adolescence and twenties. So now that I’m kind of elderly you guys are spared the worst of it.

      Still, I grew up in an enormous extended family of California Gothic wiseacres, where tough talk was always about the punchlines, and opinions were worth a whole lot but getting a laugh out of someone was worth more. I married my husband partly because he makes me laugh harder than anyone I’ve ever known.

      And I’ve found the blogoshere to be an extraordinarily liberating world, where I can stop wondering whether or not anyone else is laughing and just assume that if you don’t have the same sense of humor I do you’ll quietly wander away, and if you do we’ll wind up laughing together.

    3. Have the courage to carry on nonsense monologues with yourself

      This is the biggest thing I’ve learned from Jenny about Twitter: a lot more people are reading it at any given time than it seems, and those people love to be entertained. Not only that, some percentage of them love to jump in and entertain back.

      This doesn’t mean anyone wants to know what I had for lunch. Even I don’t care what I had for lunch.

      But when I did impromptu #editingchats last year, people came out of the woodwork to join in, even calling to each other like kids on a playground, “Whoo-hoo! They’ve started a game over there. Let’s go!”

      And every time I’ve just gotten silly, I’ve received instant responses from people who love silliness—people who love that moment when we can all see the fireworks going off in the distance in the same shared sky.

    4. Trust your readers & express sincere gratitude for them

      This is something the writers of books and periodicals don’t train themselves to do, and it’s something marketers often think they’re doing but—so long as the dollar signs are still lurking there in the backs of their eyes—are not.

      Jenny trusts her readers. She doesn’t respond to every comment on her blog or even every tweet directed at her. Holy cow. She’d never have time to go to the bathroom. But sometimes, you know, that’s a nice feeling as a commenter, that she’s not necessarily waiting to leap out of her chair and rush across the room to yank off my shoes and pull over a seat for me. Sometimes it’s more fun to just join the crowd and chat amongst ourselves. We have things to say, conversations to have with each other. It’s a gang rather than a greeting line. It’s like the time I drove with friends from San Luis Obispo to Santa Cruz in my old flannel pajamas because I knew that at the party we were going to that would be okay.

      In fact, Jenny doesn’t even have that most-common of marketing commodities, a newsletter. Readers can’t make funny comments on a newsletter.

      The truth is now that my business is doing well and I have a three-year backlog of posts to recycle, I don’t have to keep blogging. I could quit. I really could. I don’t inhale. . .

      But every time someone comments, “I read you all the time, so I just want to say hi,” I realize I’ve had a friend out there I never knew about. And it makes my life deeper and richer.

      Have I said it yet today? I love you guys.

    Continued next week in Everything Else I Know about Social Media I Also Learned from the Bloggess

    “The freshest and
    most relevant advice
    you’ll find.”

    —Helen Gallagher,
    Seattle Post-Intelligencer

    The Art & Craft of Fiction
    The Art & Craft of Story

    A. Victoria Mixon, Freelance Independent Editor

    Victoria’s Advice Column: Eliminating the Internal Critic—For Young Writers



    “The freshest and most relevant
    advice you’ll find.”

    —Helen Gallagher, Seattle Post-Intelligencer

    The Art & Craft of Writing Fiction

    The Art & Craft of Writing Stories




8 Responses to “Everything I Know about Social Media I Learned from the Bloggess”

  1. This was really helpful and so genuine! Thank you!

  2. Blogs – mostly, keep it light (even if the subject is heavy), keep it fun (even if the reality of the subject is not), use humor. Or at least try to invoke feelings. I try to do that. I think I’m naturally snarky and funny, which I believe helps. Entertain – don’t make it a chore to read the blog. Get to the point, and do it early. Please don’t give me four or five paragraphs of preamble. Dull-lete. And keep the profanity out of it. I think of my mother and Aunt Agnes who raised me – they rarely used profanity. Not because they didn’t know the words, but because they had exemplary vocabulary and did not HAVE to use profanity. Before I post any blog, I think, “Would my mother approve of this?” And I do not give a hoot if my blog is marketable.

  3. Hi Victoria,
    An exciting topic, one that I need to learn more about. Look forward to it.
    By the way, I nominated you for a teeny, teeny award: “The Versatile Blogger Award.” No big deal I know ,but I thought you should know.

  4. Victoria said on

    Thank you, Bill. How kind of you!

  5. The only thing that would have made this article better is if in the very beginning when you talked about millions of kids holding tins cans at opposite ends of string….you’d said “twine” instead!!! lol….love the blogess 🙂

  6. Victoria said on


    I forgot about the twine.

  7. I read The Bloggess regularly but don’t follow her on Twitter. Now I will. It is great the way you pulled out social media lessons from what Jenny does. Good advice to follow.

  8. […] in the middle of a post that was, originally, going to “very quickly” teach you everything I know about social media, all of which I learned from Jenny Lawson, the Bloggess. This all started when I asked myself, […]