Tuesday, July 27, 2010

FEATURED SWEETHEART: Greg Pincus

We Texas Sweethearts are so excited to featured Greg Pincus this week. To quote his bio from The Happy Accident (because it is awesome):

Greg Pincus helps people and organizations create social media strategies and plans. He also tries to demystify the online world and practices on his mom, believing that if he can help her understand Twitter and Facebook, he can do anything.

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TXS: Greg, you’ve been very involved in creating and running an elementary school library with no budget and you’ll be doing it again for a middle school. Any tips for libraries struggling in this economy?


GP: I can't speak to the challenges of public libraries, other than to say we should all support them with patronage and advocacy on their behalf. As for schools... we are lucky, in the sense that we do not have to follow our school district's protocols for library books. Instead, we can get books however we want and enter them into our collection. So, how do we and how can others get them? Ask. Everyone. Often.


The thing is that pretty much everyone is in favor of kids having books - it crosses party lines, economic divides, etc. We've done book drives within the neighborhood and had other schools do them on our behalf as part of their "public service" clubs (and been lucky enough to be on the receiving end of a BookEnds book drive). And I personally ask everyone for books and/or make it known that I'm doing a wonderful project, and folks can help! As a result... my blogging friends send them (we can usually re-imburse media-mail postage!), authors send them, friends and family send them. (And everyone here can feel free to get in touch if you want to send any our way, by the way). The thing is, it's a win-win situation: a school gets books and the giver feels good. That makes it much easier to ask for books... and in case it's not clear, that's really the way to build a collection with a limited budget - Ask. Everyone. Often.


Oh, yeah... and if your school has a librarian, do everything you can to support that position. A good librarian is such a tremendously added value - find the money, lobby to keep 'em, and support, support, support!



TXS: You’re also one of the masterminds behind Kidlitchat, a Twitter sensation with users ranging from beginning writers/illustrators to big name editors. How did this concept come about and what is its primary focus?


GP: I had been hosting a poetry chat on Twitter, and one day I saw Bonnie Adamson tweet something like "we should have a chat for children's literature." So I tweeted back, we emailed, picked a time... changed it to a better time, and voila! We both view #kidlitchat as kind of a salon - more like a cocktail party than a conference. We do have a weekly topic, but in general, it's a place for us to hang out among the likeminded, share ideas and tips, talk about books, get into some meaty ideas (though always going astray, too) and, in general, build community.



TXS: Many people use their blogs as a spotlight on themselves but you tend to focus on other writers/illustrators/literary events. There are benefits to both, but which is the best way to go?

GP: I think it's really hard to make a blog be appealing AND all about "you." This doesn't mean you have to focus on others exclusively, though. You can also share insights (how to write, how to market, thoughts about business) or review books or or or. I'd also note that while I shine the light on others all the time, I also post my own poetry and announce news on my blog, too. I think that people make connections online with folks who offer something of value. That can mean a lot of different things - we all define value on a personal basis - but for me, at least, someone who too consistently talks about themselves simply isn't offering me value. I use that perspective when I think of my own content and have found a balance that works for me. Everyone will find their own balance... as long as they think about what it would be like to be on the reading end of their own blog.



TXS: The SCBWI Summer Conference is just around the corner, and you’ll be on faculty! What can we expect from the Social Networking talks you’ll be giving with one of our other featured Sweethearts, Alice Pope?


GP: We'll be giving out the secret to successful social networking, that's all. The. Secret.


Well, actually, we'll be talking about social networking from what I think is the most practical point of view: Not "how do you send a tweet" but WHY you'd send a tweet, how it could be part of a larger strategy, and how to use social networks effectively while still focusing on your craft.


Plus, we really will give out the secret (assuming, of course, that someone FINDS IT before then. So far, no one has).



TXS: It’s crucial to make yourself known if you want to be known, and people come to you when they want to achieve this. Could you tell us more about the social media plans you can create for our interested readers?


GP: I like to say that I work to save people time, energy, and frustration by helping them focus on what they'd like to accomplish by using social media... and then developing concrete steps they can take on the path to reaching their goals. There is no "one size fits all" strategy online - we all have different goals, different strengths, different likes and dislikes, and different amounts of time we can spend. All the pressure that's getting put on writers/illustrators these days to "be online! have a platform! Be like !" does everyone a disservice. So, I bring it back to the individual rather than simply "get out there and do!"


And thanks for making me a Sweetheart! I'm flattered.


TXS: Thank you, Greg! We're the ones who are flattered!

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Please email us your nominations for featured sweethearts.

9 comments:

  1. Great, great, great interview. Greg does a lot for all of us kidlit writers and to keep us in the loop. I'm very grateful for him and The Happy Accident!

    Angela @ The Bookshelf Muse

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  2. Great interview, PJ and Greg!

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  3. Great interview, PJ and Greg!
    Regards
    Joe
    S&D book publishers
    S&D UK book publishers

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  4. Thanks, guys! I have to give Jo credit for the interview!

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  5. Great interview, especially the part about supporting librarians ;0)

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  6. Thanks again for making me a Sweetheart. It's much appreciated....

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  7. Great interview. I love libraries and it's sad they are being affected so much by budget constraints. That's a great idea to ask people for donations to build a library's collection.

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  8. Yay! Now I'm eager to find out _The_ Secret_ at the conference. I'm demanding my money back if it isn't AWESOME! Thanks for such a great and funny interview:)

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  9. I'm glad you guys enjoyed! In this techno-age, it's so important to make sure you stay up-to-date (and visible) with technology.

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