Sunday, June 08, 2008

More on Writers and Blogs

So tonight I'll be signing off until Tuesday night for the holiday of Shavout, where we study all night long and eat cheesecake and I try to go through Mishnah in its entirety. Don't expect your comments to be approved between tonight and Tuesday night.

Looking for clarification...

I understand that an author's website should never be provided in lieu of a good query--but would it necessarily hurt the author to include it?

I am building a site for my unpub. novel, because I am a designer and it is fun/easy for me. My hope is--if an agent likes my query and wants to see more, they can do so instantly.

But, is it insulting to even mention it when youre using it as a tool totally independent from your already fantastic query? I don't want it to seem like I'm giving the agent a job to do, but I want to give them instant access if they're interested.

You can include your website address under your name and other information. Directing us to the website, however relevant it is to the book, is irritating. In publishing, time = money and because it's in NY, time = not enough money to pay the rent, so the fact that we're taking some to read the letter and whatever else you sent in the envelope means we're spending money that we're not likely to get back (there's about a .05% chance). So cruising author's websites is not something we do and we don't like being asked to do it.

Aren't we seeing more and more fiction writers who do have platforms, and Mark Sarvas now being another? Aren't publishers operating out of fear and greed desperate for any promotional leg up?

Publishers realize that blog does not equal immediate and/or substantial leg up, unless your blog was already insanely popular for other things. People like to cite the very, very rare examples of people who got a book deal because they had a blog, like Diablo Cody, whose screenplay was largely unrelated to her hooker blog and whose column in EW I don't care for on a writing level, but these people are exceptions to the rule. Do not expect to be an exception to the rule.

8 comments:

paul lamb said...

I'd guess that a writer's blog is more useful for promoting an already-published novel to potential readers than it is for promoting an unpublished novel to potential agents. I think fans want the blog/website, and that would seem to be an excellent reason for having one established.

Anonymous said...

Apropos of nothing in today's blog - sorry.

I'd love it if you could comment on the status of the non-fiction, business genre. (Think 7 Habits, Who Moved My Cheese, etc.) I am working on a proposal for a business book, but I've noticed that very few agents seem to handle the genre. Is that because the market outlook for such books is poor? Or, is it because literary-types just can't stand reading the genre? (Lord knows I wouldn't read them unless I had to for work.)

Incidentally, I have a very strong platform for my book. I just want to make sure that I'm not wasting my time writing a proposal for a doomed market.

Thanks!

Anonymous said...

In regards to mentioning your website in your query letter, I also think that agents probably differ as to how they want to see it handled, just as they differ on lots of things. I remember reading on one agent's blog that he likes authors to mention that they have a website in their query, because that shows that they're saavy with technology and can use it to help promote themselves later. Or something like that. But he did say that the website shouldn't just be included instead of all the other things he wants to see: sample pages, synopsis, etc. The website should just be an extra.

Rick said...

Great post. I've been looking at different author sites that are centered on their unpublished or self published book. I've even used this approach myself. Excellent food for thought. Thank you.

Rick

Etiquette Bitch said...

not to mention, the Grumpy Dragon's font is beyond awful. I had to look away after 2 (very quick) page views. My eyes hurt too much.

Thanks, rejecter, for helping us writers discern the good from the crap.

Mommy C said...

Blogging can be a nice way to network. I was invited to submit a ms to a normally closed house, because of blogging, and my blog is not hugely popular, yet. I don't know that using a blog to promote what you are actually writing on the blog will get you very far, but some doors can be opened through blogging. I just blog because I love to write. If your pursue what you love to do, the rest should eventually follow.

And a quick question. If you have guest blogged for a well known publisher/ editor/ writing celeb or other notable, is it ok to include that under your writing experience?

Elizabeth said...

smart post...thanks for the info

Jennifer said...

On the topic of writers and blogs and platforms, here's a question I am just dying to know (and I know a lot of others are as well):

What traffic numbers would a blog have to have in order for an agent to consider it a decent platform?

If an author submitted a query and mentioned that he had a blog that had X visits per month (assuming the readership was in the target market for his book), what would X have to be to impress you? 30,000? 80,000? 100,000? I'd LOVE to know the answer to this.