WHAT UNPUBLISHED WRITERS NEED TO KNOW:
I.) Agents don't read blogs ...
As a rule that is.
Unless you have 30,000 visitors a month, the agent wants to know the quality of your work not your blog.
II.) People visit blogs to see what's in it for them.
We want the seven secrets to success in getting published ... and if you have them, would you please email them to me!
Sadly, even I have fallen into the trap of trying to get people to buy my book. Wrong way to write a blog.
Have something worthwhile and supportive to say. Most of us know the basics. Most of us are also struggling in the dark of doubt.
Walter Knight had a great idea for all of us: Craig's List. Go there and see if you can snare the attention of non-writing readers. Until we do that, we will not succeed at selling our books unless we devote 12 hours a day to it.
I have a day job so that is out ... and I would wager that kind of investment is out for most of you.
Plus, social networking is a time suck. You can go pretty far down the rabbit hole with Tweets and Facebook updates. Then you lose sight of the thing that’s really going to get you published: writing.
III.) Focus on your writing.
And if you feel the need to be online, which you should, at least in some small way, put up a simple three page site: main landing page with info about your work, about you page, contact page.
blog about school visits, author events, books you’re reading, movies you see that have a good writing take-away,
milestones of your book’s journey to publication if you’re that far along
(check with your editor, though, to make sure you can post cover images and other production-related stuff), your agent search, etc.
Do make your blog a place that other people will want to visit.
Besides, if you rant about how hard it is to get published or what scum publishing professionals are, it’ll come back to bite you.
The agent who clicks on your blog link in your query will think you’re a negative and difficult person…
not a positive business partner who will be a joy to work with.
Don't ...Force it.
Again, there are too many blogs online to try and add yours to the heap if you’re not committed. You’re better off not having one instead of doing a bad or unenthusiastic job.
If it’s from eight months ago, you’ll look outdated.
If you can’t update at least once a week, you should think of a static website like the one I mentioned above.
Respond to comments on Twitter.
Post comments on the blogs of people who comment on your blog. Read other blogs. You can’t expect the “social” part of social media to be a one way street.
(Note, readers… I am a total hypocrite because I am too swamped to do this part… Forgiveness, please.
But ill infants are getting the rare blood they deparately need.)
This should at least get you thinking about how much social media you really need and how much to get involved in.
It’s a slippery slope.
Some people start and can’t stop,
others start and can’t wait to stop,
leaving their blog skeletons up for the whole world to see
Find your own style.
Concerns of online platform are more pressing for non-fiction writers,
so the pressure is less for fiction writers,
but you should still have SOME kind of online face. Agents do look for one, even for fiction folks.
If your book is picked up by a publisher,
they’ll expect you to do some online marketing.
It’s better to have at least a small website and some presence than none at all.
(I once worked for a crisis hot line)
This because I loved GROUNDHOG DAY