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Ramsay
04-26-2017, 10:51 PM
Hello, everyone. I'm working on a novel that's set in Edwardian England. I have published some things before, but just freelance articles for small magazines; nothing substantial. Anyway, one thing I've heard more than once is that the first thing an agent asks you is whether you have a blog and if so how many followers do you have. I am just starting a blog, but it could be quite a while before I get a substantial following--if ever! Is this really a prerequisite to getting published?

cornflake
04-26-2017, 10:55 PM
No, and that is not the first thing agents ask you. That's not a thing agents may ask you ever. I mean some might, but plenty couldn't care less.

Ramsay
04-26-2017, 11:56 PM
Thank you so much for responding. That takes a lot of pressure off of me. I mean, I don't mind blogging, per se, but it can be time-consuming. To be honest, the only thing I really care about right now is writing. And since I'm a novice, I know there's not much I tell other people about it!

Harlequin
04-27-2017, 12:16 AM
Blogging need not be blogging as such. My "blog" is just linked to my goodreads account, and my book reviews appear on it. Other than that, I rebloog other people's stuff if it's good.

I find it a better format than just goodreads itself or I woudlnt bother.

VeryBigBeard
04-27-2017, 01:51 AM
You're quite right to focus on writing over blogging. After all, it's the writing that you're trying to sell. Having a web footprint is never a bad idea but it shouldn't be something time-consuming unless you'd be doing it otherwise.

Make sure you check any agents you sub to int he Bewares forum here and in other places. Not all agents are created equal.

Ramsay
04-27-2017, 05:44 PM
I think my problem was that I had subscribed to a few blogs that offered advice on writing and publishing. They hammered home the message that it's all about marketing. Build a blog and get lots of followers! Then write books and watch your followers snap them up! (Naturally, publishers will be falling over themselves to sign you up.) And of course, they always offered an expensive course to teach you how to do all this. Thank heavens I haven't wasted my money. I, have, though, wasted far too much time and effort on trying to start a blog. It finally dawned on me that the books these blog authors were writing were self-help books, usually about how to write books! I feel like an idiot. I'm going back to my typewriter.

Maggie Maxwell
04-27-2017, 06:51 PM
I think my problem was that I had subscribed to a few blogs that offered advice on writing and publishing. They hammered home the message that it's all about marketing. Build a blog and get lots of followers! Then write books and watch your followers snap them up! (Naturally, publishers will be falling over themselves to sign you up.) And of course, they always offered an expensive course to teach you how to do all this. Thank heavens I haven't wasted my money. I, have, though, wasted far too much time and effort on trying to start a blog. It finally dawned on me that the books these blog authors were writing were self-help books, usually about how to write books! I feel like an idiot. I'm going back to my typewriter.

Don't feel like an idiot. :Hug2: Those kinds of people are predatory, and anyone can become a victim or at least be swayed by their lies or half-truths. Blogs can be important (but not necessary) tools to help you get a deal... for non-fiction writers. It helps them show agents they've got a niche or topic people are interested in. Fiction is a completely different ballgame, but wires often get crossed in the translation. Fiction writers don't have any need for a social media presence at all to sell anything, just a good book.

Harlequin
04-27-2017, 07:04 PM
I think my problem was that I had subscribed to a few blogs that offered advice on writing and publishing. They hammered home the message that it's all about marketing.

That's because it's true... for them. The kind of people you're subscribing to are likely the kind of people who derive the majority of their income from platform-related sources. As you yourself astutely pointed out, it's all a long chain scam in many cases--making money from telling people how to make money.

Carrie in PA
04-27-2017, 07:49 PM
I've had agents tell me they want me to build a platform - even though I write fiction. So I am working on building my web presence, but on my terms. I'm not going to be on ten social media platforms, I just don't have the time. I have a blog but I post sporadically. I have a Facebook author page, which I do better at keeping up with, simply because I'm already on FB. I also have a Twitter account, but it's 99% following writers, agents & others in the publishing industry, none of whom are going to buy my book.

I've looked at my favorite authors, and they run the entire gamut of web presence, from barely visible to ridiculously active. In every case, it affects my enthusiasm for their work exactly 0%. Which leads me to believe that a great portion of the "ZOMG SOCIAL MEDIA!!!!!!!!!!" frenzy is hysteria-driven and not necessarily results-driven.

I understand the *theory* that if you have all these followers, they'll buy your book, but... I'd like to see hard numbers (which would be impossible to extrapolate) that prove this out.

PeteMC
04-27-2017, 08:08 PM
Blogging is massively over-rated for fiction writers. It helps if you *exist* on line, but you don't have to blog at all if you don't want to. My agent certainly doesn't make me, and nor to either of my publishers. I have a website but it's pretty much a static site that hosts my official bio and contact details, links to my social media accounts and of course to my books, and occasionally a news update when I've actually got something to say. I don't do industry commentary or opinion pieces there at all.

Laurasaurus
04-27-2017, 09:17 PM
I'm always hearing from people that if you're not into blogging, don't force yourself to do it. Readers can tell when you're phoning it in. Plus if you don't find it easy to do, it will just give you extra stress and use up valuable writing time, as people have already said!

I've seen several (fiction) agents say that once they sign you they will encourage you to have some web presence - ie, a website with your basic info on it, maybe a twitter account or something if you're willing. But that before they sign you they couldn't care less if you have no web presence at all.

Melanii
04-27-2017, 10:11 PM
I don't think blogging is necessary. Probably just a website with a "news" category. :D

Ramsay
04-27-2017, 10:18 PM
I think my problem was that I had subscribed to a few blogs that offered advice on writing and publishing. They hammered home the message that it's all about marketing.

That's because it's true... for them. The kind of people you're subscribing to are likely the kind of people who derive the majority of their income from platform-related sources. As you yourself astutely pointed out, it's all a long chain scam in many cases--making money from telling people how to make money.


Thank you for the compliment. :)


And thank you everyone for your kind replies. You have no idea what a load it takes off of my mind. If I could I'd buy you all a drink. (We need an emoticon for that.)

Thomas Vail
04-27-2017, 10:28 PM
Thank you for the compliment. :)


And thank you everyone for your kind replies. You have no idea what a load it takes off of my mind. If I could I'd buy you all a drink. (We need an emoticon for that.)
:e2drunk:

Having a blog, a social media presence, a pre-existing potential audience among your online followers _helps_ but it's not required. Having people who will be enthusiastic about your new work and likely to spread that enthusiasm in various ways online is a good thing, but it also takes a lot of work to pull off.

Jeff C. Stevenson
04-27-2017, 11:09 PM
No to the blog and/or blogging. If you ever both to read them, most have zero comments. And if you're a writer, why waste your time posting on a blog that no one reads. Much better to just have a Twitter and/or Facebook account. You need a media presence--most agents will check to see how quickly they can find you--but focus on your writing. Good luck!

Fuchsia Groan
04-28-2017, 05:19 AM
I was asked to establish a site with a news/blog section so I had somewhere to post the announcement when my book sold and link to on Twitter. (Announcements can be a good way to start building buzz.) But until the sale, having a web presence wasn't an issue. (I now have separate Twitter accounts for my day job self and writer self, which feels weird! But the work-related account is for promoting work stuff, not my book.)

Laer Carroll
04-28-2017, 09:58 AM
This is a question that keeps getting asked in one form or another, in several forums. Two of the better discussions are in the Blogging and the Promotion forums.

Do I really need a social media presence? (http://absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?279728-Do-I-really-need-a-social-media-presence)
How to promote your book like an intelligent human being and not an SEO Dweeb (http://absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?241431-How-to-promote-your-book-like-an-intelligent-human-being-and-not-an-SEO-Dweeb)

As soon as you get serious about being a pro writer you need to start thinking about your career as a whole. Just START. You don't have to instantly go all out, damn the torpedoes full speed ahead.

The first matter to keep in mind is that whatever path you follow needs to suit YOU. You are unique in your talents, skills, desires, needs, and situation. Most of these may change, so you may need to change your path. To change from self to trade publishing or vice versa, for instance.

Using the Internet is one of the areas you have some time to consider. Sales of your first book are unlikely to get much boost from ANY kind of internet publicity under your control.

But for your next books you need SOME kind of web presence, because each book you publish is an ad for all the others. Your sales will get a boost for each new book, especially if you've set up easy ways for your fans to find it.

One web place takes almost no effort: Amazon's Author Profile. Just sign up for it and it creates a permanent place for your fans to see all your books. That includes a Follow service, so that fans automatically get an email notice when you publish a new book. B&N and Apple and Google Books have similar services. You can also sign up at Goodreads.com for something similar.

A web site at WordPress.com and its like is also a good place on the web to have. In minutes you can set up a site. Then you can take your time in customizing it to establish yourself as a "brand." You can change background colors and lots of other qualities. You can add "widgets" to (for instance) give links to other web sites, show the number of hits on your site, and so on. You can also change the whole look of your site instantly by changing its "theme."

All the previous are "static" means of establishing a web presence: info that changes rarely. Such as your bio, family trees for your characters, historical and other background info, and so on.

A blog or its like (Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and so on) requires you to add material fairly regularly. It can be very personal stuff (though that's a bad idea since the web is full of trolls and haters). It can be notices of more public info: new movies, TV shows, books, events such as author signings or conferences, horse or dog shows if you're into that, and much more. If you can't commit to keep adding new material it would be better not to blog/tweet/FB/etc.

One feature of WP.com is that your site can be both a blog AND a static web site. My site has a theme which puts a menu across the top of the page. From it fans can select the material in my site. The very first item on the left is my blog. I labeled it News. The last menu item on the right is Bio, since I feel that is what prospective fans care least about.

So do agents care if you have a blog? I'd guess not so much for your first book, most of them. But if you don't have SOMETHING you're almost announcing that you're a beginner, or may never do much publicity yourself, not even minimal stuff like a Twitter account.

Up to you. You are unique; no one else knows better what is right for you.

mccardey
04-28-2017, 10:11 AM
I'm going back to my typewriter.That's always an excellent response to this sort of thing.

And welcome to AW :Sun:

cmhbob
04-28-2017, 06:53 PM
I don't think a lack of comments indicates a lack of reads. I read half a dozen blogs every couple of days, but I rarely comment unless I have something useful to share. I'll share good posts on my social media streams though. I get steady traffic of 15 or so hits per day (admittedly on the low end), but you wouldn't know that from my comments. If you judged my traffic on the comments, you'd think no one was coming by. But I don't just write a post and leave it there. I use Twitter, Facebook, G+, StumbleUpon, Triberr, and even the AW Blog Post thread (http://absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?1397-Have-You-Updated-Your-Blog-Today) to help promote and share my posts.

Don't assume that your blog has to be about Writing. It could be about your writing journey - things that are unique to your life. I focus on just a few things in my blog, things that piss me off or get me riled up, or that I enjoy. I write about human trafficking (one of my books is about HT); wrongful convictions and cold cases; official misconduct (mostly in the justice system); and genealogy (biggest hobby). Some of that pertains to my fiction, but not all of it. But it's all writing, and I decided a while back that fiction isn't all I'm going to do. The blog gives me practice putting together longer pieces of writing, so I can get comfortable enough to start submitting articles. That will be another stream of income for me, and writers today have to go wide to make any money. You're not going to get by on just novels, or just non-fiction articles. You need to expand your business to as many income streams as possible.

Are you a special needs parent? Do you have a unique health situation and wish there was a central point of information about that issue? Become that central point. Writing is writing.

You don't have to cover everything. Just pick 3-5 topics or issues that really get to you on a regular basis, and write about them.

DongerNeedFood
04-29-2017, 10:56 PM
Instead of a blog, maybe at least be active on Twitter. A good example would be Jennifer Foehner-Wells. She worked her way up to thousands of twitter followers before she self-published her first book.

Ramsay
05-03-2017, 03:23 AM
This is a question that keeps getting asked in one form or another, in several forums. Two of the better discussions are in the Blogging and the Promotion forums.

Do I really need a social media presence? (http://absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?279728-Do-I-really-need-a-social-media-presence)
How to promote your book like an intelligent human being and not an SEO Dweeb (http://absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?241431-How-to-promote-your-book-like-an-intelligent-human-being-and-not-an-SEO-Dweeb)

As soon as you get serious about being a pro writer you need to start thinking about your career as a whole. Just START. You don't have to instantly go all out, damn the torpedoes full speed ahead.

The first matter to keep in mind is that whatever path you follow needs to suit YOU. You are unique in your talents, skills, desires, needs, and situation. Most of these may change, so you may need to change your path. To change from self to trade publishing or vice versa, for instance.

Using the Internet is one of the areas you have some time to consider. Sales of your first book are unlikely to get much boost from ANY kind of internet publicity under your control.

But for your next books you need SOME kind of web presence, because each book you publish is an ad for all the others. Your sales will get a boost for each new book, especially if you've set up easy ways for your fans to find it.

One web place takes almost no effort: Amazon's Author Profile. Just sign up for it and it creates a permanent place for your fans to see all your books. That includes a Follow service, so that fans automatically get an email notice when you publish a new book. B&N and Apple and Google Books have similar services. You can also sign up at Goodreads.com for something similar.

A web site at WordPress.com and its like is also a good place on the web to have. In minutes you can set up a site. Then you can take your time in customizing it to establish yourself as a "brand." You can change background colors and lots of other qualities. You can add "widgets" to (for instance) give links to other web sites, show the number of hits on your site, and so on. You can also change the whole look of your site instantly by changing its "theme."

All the previous are "static" means of establishing a web presence: info that changes rarely. Such as your bio, family trees for your characters, historical and other background info, and so on.

A blog or its like (Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and so on) requires you to add material fairly regularly. It can be very personal stuff (though that's a bad idea since the web is full of trolls and haters). It can be notices of more public info: new movies, TV shows, books, events such as author signings or conferences, horse or dog shows if you're into that, and much more. If you can't commit to keep adding new material it would be better not to blog/tweet/FB/etc.

One feature of WP.com is that your site can be both a blog AND a static web site. My site has a theme which puts a menu across the top of the page. From it fans can select the material in my site. The very first item on the left is my blog. I labeled it News. The last menu item on the right is Bio, since I feel that is what prospective fans care least about.

So do agents care if you have a blog? I'd guess not so much for your first book, most of them. But if you don't have SOMETHING you're almost announcing that you're a beginner, or may never do much publicity yourself, not even minimal stuff like a Twitter account.

Up to you. You are unique; no one else knows better what is right for you.


I actually do have a WP site. I've had it for a couple of years; the problem was I couldn't think of anything to say. Then it just recently dawned on me that I am a passionate Anglophile. Maybe I could talk about British stuff, especially in the arts. I love British TV and literature, and I am always reading about British history. My only hesitation was about the time commitment. If I really wanted to, though, I could probably squeeze something in occasionally. Or maybe just mention it on Twitter/FB. I could definitely do that. I already have personal accounts for the latter two, but I could set up business ones.

cmhbob
05-03-2017, 05:27 AM
Or maybe just mention it on Twitter/FB. I could definitely do that. I already have personal accounts for the latter two, but I could set up business ones.

You don't need to set up new accounts for either, unless you need to keep them separate. For Facebook, just create a Page for your writing. It'll be linked to your account, but there doesn't have to be an obvious connection. You get all sorts of analytics with a Page, as well as the ability to run ads. You can't do that on a personal account, and a personal account is limited to 5,000 friends. Pages are unlimited.

Laer Carroll
05-04-2017, 09:41 AM
I reserve Facebook and Twitter to more personal matters, though not too personal. Occasionally I post something regarding politics, but do that sparingly. I want to spend my time writing, not in flame wars on social media.

My blog is also a static web site. I label the blog part News and restrict it to the subject areas that usually crop up in my writing. Which is science fiction and fantasy, mostly, though I'm branching out into young adult and techno-thrillers like those of Tom Clancy. So I post short notices of new books, TV shows, movies in those areas. And the occasional technical event, such as new VR goggles and new space exploration events.

Occasionally I post notices of more general topics. This includes the Oscar's red-carpet fashions, and the goings on of my favorite actresses and actors, such as Emily Blunt, Scarlett Johannson, and Kate Beckinsale.



it just recently dawned on me that I am a passionate Anglophile. Maybe I could talk about British stuff, especially in the arts. I love British TV and literature, and I am always reading about British history. My only hesitation was about the time commitment.


Time commitment is a crucial aspect of publicizing our work. We need to do it, but we also need to keep it down. Writing our books is our main job, not writing posts on our web site.

I keep my posts short, usually two to four SHORT paragraphs. (Reader tend to skip long ones, and long paragraphs take precious time to make them interesting.) I post no more often than once a week. But delay no more than two weeks. You want to keep your readers engaged but not overloaded.

Ramsay, consider posting links to events you think your readers will also find interesting. Like new Brit books, movies, happenings. New history books if you're especially interested in that, maybe one that offers a surprising new take on a familiar topic. Are you a horse or dog person? Are there shows you follow? Then post a notice of a new show.

And last but NOT least. Try to add a graphic at the end of your posts.

It may be static, such as a one I recently created that shows Belle of Beauty and the Beast as a superhero flying and shooting a laser bolt from her outflung hand. Or the main image from a news article. Online publications usually allow that in exchange for posting a link to them and the article you are referencing. (Check to ensure they DO; don't assume permission.)

It may also be dynamic. YouTube videos which preview a new movie can be easily inserted into your posts. WordPress makes that easy. Movie studios typically want bloggers to post such videos, as they advertise their movies. They may even seek you out if you become a frequent poster of such vids. (Again, check permissions.)

Delilah J. Anders
05-05-2017, 04:52 AM
Glad you asked this and I read through everything, because I, too, was told to have some kind of platform and presence to start building an audience. SO, that's what I did. I finally relented to do a twitter account and also made my author FB page.. and I linked them so that when I tweet/ed something it posted on FB as well. I also started an author WP blog to hold short stories, not commentary as such. I haven't updated the blog in a long while because I'm usually busy writing/editing or researching things for the book(s) I have finished. The blog is more or less to get a feel for my writing and genre. I have tons of stories to get down and put up but .. well life.. and I need a few more hours in the day. I try to stay active enough on twitter to get at least a few new followers each week, and I know if I were vigilant with it each day I'd build more,, but again life. HA! I"m glad though that I did this bit of ground work already so I don't have to go back and do it later if deemed necessary at any point. I do have personal blogs that I have done for years but they are under my real name, and I want to try and keep the two separated as long as possible. If I ever make a successful run of any kind, I don't think I'll care much at that point!

Good Luck with getting back to the typewriter! :)

Laer Carroll
05-05-2017, 05:13 AM
Delilah, sounds like you're doing everything right. Start a "social media presence" but build it gradually in a way that suits YOU. Especially in a way that doesn't take too much time away from our most essential activity: writing.

cmhbob
05-05-2017, 06:18 AM
When it comes to social media, don't try to be active on every single platform (although it's a good idea to try to reserve your author or branding name). Look for the platforms your audience is on, and focus there. FOr all the others, just set up the account so you can get the username you want.

Ramsay
05-05-2017, 09:28 PM
Glad you asked this and I read through everything, because I, too, was told to have some kind of platform and presence to start building an audience. SO, that's what I did. I finally relented to do a twitter account and also made my author FB page.. and I linked them so that when I tweet/ed something it posted on FB as well. I also started an author WP blog to hold short stories, not commentary as such. I haven't updated the blog in a long while because I'm usually busy writing/editing or researching things for the book(s) I have finished. The blog is more or less to get a feel for my writing and genre. I have tons of stories to get down and put up but .. well life.. and I need a few more hours in the day. I try to stay active enough on twitter to get at least a few new followers each week, and I know if I were vigilant with it each day I'd build more,, but again life. HA! I"m glad though that I did this bit of ground work already so I don't have to go back and do it later if deemed necessary at any point. I do have personal blogs that I have done for years but they are under my real name, and I want to try and keep the two separated as long as possible. If I ever make a successful run of any kind, I don't think I'll care much at that point!

Good Luck with getting back to the typewriter! :)


Thank you for the inspiration. And thank you for the wise words, everyone. I have been taking notes.

Delilah J. Anders
05-06-2017, 12:27 AM
Delilah, sounds like you're doing everything right. Start a "social media presence" but build it gradually in a way that suits YOU. Especially in a way that doesn't take too much time away from our most essential activity: writing.

Thank you! Ramsey, you're welcome. I am still quite the newbie so learning as I go much like you! We'll figure it out eventually right? ( or maybe not? lol ) At least we're doing something we love!

Ed_in_Bed
05-07-2017, 07:16 PM
I don't know why an author wouldn't blog. They're great for keeping the literary engines ticking over when you want a break from your WIP. I just throw all sorts into mine - short stories, poems, thoughts, rants. For me, it's just an online journal and I don't mind if nobody ever reads it. But - if I do ever get around to finishing something and getting published one day, I've got a ready-made landing pad for inquisitive readers. They're fun, once you get going.

Edzz

shootseven
05-07-2017, 07:32 PM
Hello, everyone. I'm working on a novel that's set in Edwardian England. I have published some things before, but just freelance articles for small magazines; nothing substantial. Anyway, one thing I've heard more than once is that the first thing an agent asks you is whether you have a blog and if so how many followers do you have. I am just starting a blog, but it could be quite a while before I get a substantial following--if ever! Is this really a prerequisite to getting published?

I've had three books published (two nonfiction history, one novel), dealt with plenty of agents and publishers while shopping them, and have never once been asked if I have a blog.

shootseven
05-07-2017, 07:36 PM
I don't know why an author wouldn't blog. They're great for keeping the literary engines ticking over when you want a break from your WIP. I just throw all sorts into mine - short stories, poems, thoughts, rants. For me, it's just an online journal and I don't mind if nobody ever reads it. But - if I do ever get around to finishing something and getting published one day, I've got a ready-made landing pad for inquisitive readers. They're fun, once you get going.

Edzz

I hate the idea of blogging. Would never do it. I'd rather spend time working on books or articles. Can't imagine I'd have enough to say in a blog anyway that most of the people interested in my books would care about.

Laer Carroll
05-08-2017, 11:45 PM
I hate the idea of blogging. Would never do it. I'd rather spend time working on books or articles. Can't imagine I'd have enough to say in a blog anyway that most of the people interested in my books would care about.

Let me stimulate what seems to me to be a woeful lack of imagination!

Are you passionate about any topics? Classic cars, horse racing, exotic locales, space exploration, spelunking, Regency England, tennis - whatever. If so, most likely every week or two you will come across a fascinating tidbit you would love to share, and like-minded possible readers of your books would love to know about.

The easiest topic is new books, TV shows, movies, and events. You only need a very few SHORT paragraphs followed by a link to them. This should not take much time away from your "books or articles."

Include an image or a video at the end. WordPress.com makes this easy to do. Be sure the site where you get them allows you to do this. Amazon and B&N not only allow this but like you to do so, as you are advertising their books. Most movie studios who post previews on YouTube are just as eager, for the same reason. Word of mouth (or blog!) is more effective than even the most expensive and flashy ad campaigns. And they know it.

Post on the average of once a week, not too often or too rarely.

bmr1591
05-17-2017, 06:20 PM
From what I've seen, blogging is dying. Most people don't care to read some random person's thoughts, especially a random person who thinks people want to read their thoughts.

cmhbob
05-17-2017, 08:11 PM
I've also heard that web forums are dying, paper books are dying, and ebooks will never catch on.