While working on the usual stuff this past week — revising, researching, preparing a guest post for another blog, attending Austin SCBWI’s monthly meeting, reading Julius Lester’s terrific On Writing for Children & Other People, etc. — I’ve continued thinking about the panel discussion I’ll participate in this coming Thursday.

On August 19, the Writers’ League of Texas’ monthly panel on marketing topics will address the theme, “Building Your PR Team.” (The discussion starts at 7 p.m. at Austin’s BookPeople; pregame will be down the street at Shoal Creek Saloon.)

At least as much as the various PR tools available to us, we writers (illustrators, too) need to know what our objective is as professionals. Even before I joined Facebook and Twitter, I’d reminded myself occasionally that this blog is a secondary medium that serves to support my primary medium of books. For me, that’s still just as true, and the need for a reminder is still just as great — maybe even more so.

I have no interest in becoming known primarily as a blogger, or Tweeter, or especially prodigious Facebooker. I like researching and writing books, and I want to do more of that. I also understand the need to support my book-writing habit through school visits and conference appearances. (Luckily, I absolutely love doing those visits and appearances.) So, my virtual “PR team” is geared toward enabling those things.

There are also the (occasionally hazy, but nonetheless real) limits on how much of my time I can spend on anything related to my writing. Producing more words to go into those books has to come first, but figuring out which of those PR activities comes second, third, and so forth — and which just don’t get done at all — is a continuing struggle.

I’m eager to hear folks’ thoughts — both this Thursday evening and in comments and conversations in the meantime — about how they prioritize the marching orders for their PR team.


P.S. This doesn’t qualify as “usual stuff” by any means, but last weekend I did visit the National Center for Children’s Illustrated Literature (a.k.a. “The Nickel”) in Abilene, Texas. The SCBWI Golden Kite, Golden Dreams exhibit is there through September. Go see it.