Today, I’m blogging about Mike Jung AKA Captain Stupendous’ Numero Uno Fan and his May 28th Norcal SCBWI talk for writers and illustrators of YA and Kid Lit, aptly titled: DON’T BE A PINHEAD: Building an Online Presence Before Landing a Book Deal.
The gist of the talk: How Mike established an online presence which led to some very cool results. It wasn’t a how-to session as much as it was a terrific opportunity to hear Mike share his story. (Photo courtesy of Mike Jung.)
One of my favorite moments in the talk happened toward the end when we witnessed Mike burst into a raging bonfire of kidlitosphere effervescence–for fifteen seconds–his face twitching, eyebrows arching, eyes bugging out while sputtering: “Don’t you LOVE books and childrens literature? [Everyone nodded.] This is AWESOME! I love doing this! IT GIVES ME JOY!”
That, dear reader, is Mike’s “super power” behind building a fabuloso-bordering-on-megalomania online presence. He exemplifies passion. In an instant, my weariness from a slog rewrites dropped away and I was reminded of my own passion for kid lit. Enthusiasm is infectious.
A few anecdotes and tips on social networking from Mike:
• Join an online community of Kid Lit and YA writers such as Verla Kay’s Blue Boards where Mike is a Moderator. To get the most out of those boards: Participate. Joining is free and lurkers are welcome. But the more you participate, the greater the access to info and discussions. (Sorry, no direct quotes from Mike. I arrived a few minutes late just as he was wrapping up this part. FYI, I’ve known Mike for a while from the Blue Boards and I have a handle on the basics of that forum.)
• Facebook is an obvious way to get to know others in the world of kid lit and YA. Mike emphasized keeping it social and fun. For example, he’s used his FB Profile Pic as a way of sharing good news from others. For example, Mike posted a photo of himself holding a signed copy of Lisa Yee’s Bobby Vs. Girls (Accidentally) after he won her blog contest (more on that below).
• Speaking of blog contests, Mike admitted to entering every blog contest he could (for a while) and winning at least five of them. In Lisa Yee’s blog contest, Mike was first runner-up. Not only did he win a signed book and some other goodies but he made a connection with Lisa Yee, whom he views as an important influence and role model. He said that twice during the talk but who’s counting?
• Mike’s blogging adventures include a joint review he and fellow writer, Tara Lazar wrote (Ebert and Roeper style) about Nan Marino’s novel, Neil Armstrong is My Uncle. This led him to record and post a video of himself howling at the moon. It was a contest–how could he resist? Did he win? Not this time. BUT some librarians liked his effort and sent Nan’s book to him anyway! Moral: With blog contests, even if you lose, you win (if you’re Mike Jung! :p)! BTW, you can also find Mike blogging (and tinkering with HTML) at the Enchanted Inkpot, a blog dedicated to middle grade and young adult fantasy.
• A few tasty Twitter bits from Mike: His highly extroverted pseudo persona–which he blames on his “hidden Leo”–inspired a rival twitter contingency known as #rebelsaginstmikesempire. Also, through Twitter, Mike learned of an agent’s “first sentence” contest in which he won (of course!) and was given the chance to submit the first 10 pages of his manuscript to said agent.
The results of Mile’s online jaunts: Not only did Mike meet people and get noticed but he garnered a total of 17 agent referrals, in which three offered representation. He personally met with an editor. And out of the two agents he met in RL, he signed on with The One: Ammi Joan Paquette at Erin Murphy Literary Agency.
A caveat according to Mike: Doing blog contests, playing on facebook and following others around twitter aren’t a true marketing plan. Yo.
Above photo: Mike captured his audience participating including partaking in something he dubbed “remote heckling.” Find out more and watch some videos here. Photo below: Yours truly giving two thumbs up for Mike’s presentation.
FYI: This blog post does not even begin to cover everything Mike shared. If you get the chance, go hear him talk at a future event.