Saturday, February 11, 2017

Children's Books and the Social Media World Panel - Travis Jonker

Travis photo stolen from the Horn Book.
 Travis Jonker is an elementary school librarian in Michigan. He writes reviews (and the occasional article or two) for School Library Journal, and was a member of the 2014 Caldecott committee. He and Colby Sharp produce a podcast called The Yarn. Follow Travis on Twitter: @100scopenotes.

Martha asks: What drew you to social media in the first place?

"Curiosity more than anything, I started my blog in 2007, and wanted to share my blog posts, that's what drew me to social media, and then I realized there were a lot of people there."

For Travis, a way to drive traffic to his blog became a way to engage in a larger, world-size community of people interested in children's books. 

Who should or shouldn't do social media?

Travis says, "One big thing to remember is social media is best when you have an honest, hardworking creative life. When you're working hard and writing/illustrating, it can help boost what you're doing. It's not a shortcut to becoming more popular, the work comes first."

Don't feel like you have to jump in with both feet. Travis joined Twitter in 2009, but didn't really use it or converse on it, but got the lay of the land first.

How can authors and illustrators use it well to connect with people like you?

We fall in love with a book because of its voice, so if your voice can come through in your social media, a good example is the hilarious Bob Shea, his Twitterfeed is as funny as his author/illustrator voice in his books.

A simple guideline from Travis is: 

Have a generous spirit online.

It's okay to try out a social media platform for a time, and then decide it is not for you, for Travis, he tried Snapchat for a few weeks, and then determined it wasn't really for him. 
The apex of Travis's SnapChat career.
How did you determine your audience or direct your content towards an audience? 

"When I first started with my blog, trying to decide who the audience was was tricky. Was it for kids? Adults? I finally decided on an audience of 1, me. What I think is interesting and funny... I think people doing the same kind of job I'm doing will find my blog interesting."

Favorite post?

The barcode of Troll Two... Three... Four...

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