Ok, the real title of this post should be Clean Underwear, but I think the word underpants is so hilarious, I use it whenever I can. This probably tells you more than you want to know about me.
The blog post title derives from Mom's advice: always wear clean underwear cause you don't want the ER nurses to see your skanky drawers if you get hit by a bus.
The query letter equivalent of clean underpants is all the stuff that isn't about your book.
1. Your email.
Calling yourself HotpantsHoney212 is obviously not the way to go.
But what about FurBabyMom?
Or Nettie718? (My sisters were DELIGHTED to find a long dead great-grandmama named Janet, who was called Nettie by her family. Me, not so much.)
Not terrible, but not professional.
You want to be taken seriously here. Present a serious face to the world. That doesn't mean leave your sense of humor at home. Far from it.
But use your name if you can. Nettie.Hildengoshen@whatevs.com
2. Your social media bio.
Did you call yourself a wannabe writer?
Call yourself a writer.
Say New to the #WritingCommunity if you want to connect that way.
But there's no law that says you have to announce your newness.
3. Your website
Do you have images of typewriters, feather pens?
No No NO. Not even if you write historical fiction.
If you don't have images of you, or your books, use images of where you live, or your dog/cat/alligator. (Maybe Chicago will let you have Chance the Snapper)
4. Your business cards.
Are they cute?
Get new ones.
Unless you're an illustrator and it is YOUR art.
Or you write about unicorns and the image is of your book cover.
In other words, cute if you own it, but you can't rent it or lease it.
Make sure you get new ones AFTER you get a new email address.
4. Woefully outdated social media posts
If your last tweet was 2012, or you haven't blogged since 2013, or anything on your social media sites isn't current, either fix it (ie update, and continue to post) or take it down.
The only thing worse than no social media presence is one that screams "I don't wanna do this, and you can't make me."
There's a LOT in publishing that isn't under your control.
The face you present to the world IS.