Pub Rants

Editors Do Read Blogs

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STATUS: TGIF! I’m off to my assistant Sara’s 10th wedding anniversary party.

What’s playing on the iPod right now? SOMEBODY HAVE MERCY by Sam Cooke

But here’s the sticking point, they only read a writer’s blog or review a website when they are interested in potentially buying a project an agent has sent their way.

They want to see how savvy the writer is. How well he/she writes outside of the novel or the proposal. They might even take a look and see how the author photographs.

They definitely take a look.

Now, they don’t spend time perusing websites or blogs of random unpublished authors. That would eat up too much time…


29 Responses

  1. Kimber An said:

    Yeah, that’s what I thought.

    This information super-highway is a wonderful thing, but sometimes we do get conflicting and/or confusing advice. One of my mentor-type Blog Buddies told me never to mention my blog in a query, regardless of the traffic. And then an agent said to always mention it IF I have high traffic. A publicist said in an interview it’s a waste of time for aspiring authors and published authors alike to blog at all. And then I read here on Pub Rants the excellent speech at BEA on the benefits of the Blogosphere. It’s easy to weed out the cynics and the scammers, but it gets a lot more confusing when the advice-givers are wonderful, experienced professionals in their field who simply have a different point-of-view from one another.

  2. ORION said:

    This is a really good post.
    When I started to blog I did so mindfully with the thought that ANYBODY could be reading what I say. Now that my book is about to come out my blog is visited by my agent, editor, sales force,booksellers and readers. Again I still have to be mindful of how I am perceived. I recently found out my foreign publishers visit my blog and website and get information about me from these places (which is fine — it is all correct) but it allows me to realize I must be polite, professional and (come on what’s another P word?)
    My personality comes across loud and clear but I try to make sure what is on my blog reflects on me and others in a positive way.
    It is helpful (I think) to keep this in mind when a writer starts to blog. Things stay in cyberspace for a long, long time.
    Thanks Kristin for pointing this out.

  3. Carolyn Burns Bass said:

    That does it. From now on I’m getting Catherine Zeta-Jones to model as me on my blog.

    Great advice, Kristin. I’m off to link this and Wednesday’s post in Backspace.

  4. Adrienne said:

    So true man, so true. My agent before she was my agent looked me up on my blog, and every once and a while I am startled when one of my editors brings up something I wrote about in casual conversation.

    Fortunately though I imagine that some day kids will start to google my name so I have been very careful with the material I put on my blog, it keeps me most vigilent.

    I think people forget that the internet is a public forum, that anyone can read what you’ve written. I truly believe it is important when you are blogging to formulate your thoughts well, be very careful what you are revealing to the general public, and for goodness sake, please, spell check!

  5. Anonymous said:

    “To see how well the author photographs?”

    Oh, please. Come on. What matters is what is written on the page. That is, if the writer can write. At all. Hell, even a little.

    We’ve all heard of the pathetic newbie writer who has disgraced themselves by sending in their photo with a query only to have the entire office laugh at that kind of stupidity.

    If you’re writing a NF book about your days as a supermodel, then yeah, you should be pretty. But the rest of us? I don’t buy it.

  6. Wendie O said:

    Not only do people notice your BLOG, but this past weekend I was startled to be recognized by someone who had read a Blog COMMENT I had made!

    As I passed the SLJ booth at ALA, I heard Nora R. (or one of her staff) call out — “There’s Wendie Old who complained on Betsy Bird’s blog about our ad.”

    Naturally I rushed back to that booth. Shocked that they had even noticed my comment. Double shocked that they had gotten it wrong — because I was one of the few people who had said that the ad didn’t bother me because it stayed tucked down at the bottom of the screen. In fact, I didn’t even know what the ad was for. The one sentence that did show to me didn’t make any sense. (It was a quote from a Voya review about whatever book had been advertised.)

    Soooooo — not only do people read your BLOG, but they notice your comments on these blogs, too. And not always acurately.

    And, as for correct spelling on a BLOG — if someone could tell me where the spellcheck is on Blogger, I’d appreciate it — because I’m spelling-impaired. Always have been. And I worry about the possibility that there’s been a spelling mistake on my BLOG.

    I always carefully check manuscripts before sending them out and still editors find mistakes. very embarrasing. Thank heavens they get fixed before my books are published.


  7. Heidi the Hick said:

    When I started blogging, I wasn’t thinking it would be as a platform for my future writing career. I just needed to write. From the beginning I knew that whatever I write is going to hang around in the internet nether world for a loooong time. Yes that includes comments I make on other blogs. I’ve made it a challenge to be myself without being a cussing nasty mess, because I don’t want to present myself that way.

    As I started to get serious about my writing, I realized what a great networking tool this blog thing can be! I can read about what other writers are doing. It fuels me.

    Of course I’m afraid of the possiblility that some day an agent could read my blog on the day that I write about my dog’s eye snot.

    Good to know that they won’t be looking until they already know they want me…!

  8. Anonymous said:

    This week an aspiring newbie sent me a lengthy synopsis for each of her three (convoluted to the max) novels and links to her website.

    The newbie’s novels were (sort of) in the same genre in which I write. But beyond that I couldn’t figure out why she e-mailed me, another writer who only occasionally edits. Maybe she thought I’d be overcome with curiosity and order all three of her self-published wonders with their day-glo-crayons-on-crack covers.

    Instead I made it known that the e-addy was the business address of the webmistress. If she had business to conduct or needed mail forwarded to (me-the-writer) I would do so. I pose as my own mail screener to keep the nutters at a safe distance.

    Her reply was the sort you can expect from a pampered teen in an unholy snit.

    I’ve likely lost a reader, but hope in a few years she will have learned enough to blush a bit.

    Sometimes you don’t have to cruise the Net–the weirdness arrives all on its own.

  9. Kate said:

    Blogs are silly. It’s just too easy to ramble about irrelevant crap you falsely believe is important. I also like how if somebody is about to have a first novel published, they suddenly believe they’re full of great advice. They’re usually full of something else.

  10. Anonymous said:

    kate said, “… somebody is about to have a first novel published and believe they’re full of great advice. They’re usually full of something else…”

    THANK YOU! I have a first novel published, and I swear I know less about this business now than I did starting out.

    But what’s worse? Listening to blowhard writers give blanket (and also false) advice which newbies eat up?

    Or having people that have never completed a novel (and probably never will) ASK for advice and then proceed to argue with every humble statement you make.

  11. clarice said:

    As someone who’s been blogging since before the word “blog” was coined, I’m occasionally frightened to see some writers’ heightened expectations of what the blog world can do for them. (I don’t mean in this comments string. Just, you know, in general.) An aspiring writer I know realized she needed to build a platform, and so tossed up a Blogspot page with some poorly spelled missives about the publishing industry and some photos of her dogs. Eek. It also bothers me when writers misrepresent their blog traffic / popularity — don’t position yourself in a query letter as a “popular blogger” if you’ve got 250 “friends of” on Livejournal or 500 daily pageviews on your Blogger site. That’s not enough.

    What the blog world can do for writers is connect them with other writers. I love the community that’s built up around these publishing industry blogs, and I love the community of YA lit and kids’ lit writers and enthusiasts on Livejournal. It’s great to see writers supporting other writers, veterans and newbies alike.

    That said, I think there’s a fairly clear line between blogs meant for other writers and blogs meant for potential or current readers of our books. “I sent 3 queries today!” belongs in a blog for writers. Keeping a topical blog about a subject related to your book would be far more interesting to your readers. Most of us don’t have time to keep both kinds of blogs. Choose one kind wisely, and do it well.

  12. Manic Mom said:

    What I want to know is extremely important–How the heck does Sara get a 10th wedding anniversary PARTY?!!?!??!

    Happy Anniversary!

  13. Kimber An said:

    Clarice, readers preferring one topic for a blog has not been my experience at all. The Bloggers I know like to mix it up! But, this is a good example of it being all in who you talk to. It all depends on your personal experience. Most of my experience has been positive.

    Bearing that in mind, I recommend people try blogging and stick with it ONLY if they like it. Blogging when you don’t like it will show, regardless of your goals.

  14. Tammie said:

    Great topic. I’m turned off by bloggers that really don’t have much to say, yet somehow update their blog every single day, those don’t stay on my – need to read.

    But every now and then you find a gem, like Pubrants or Miss Snark and a few others and its a fantastic way to communicate.

  15. ORION said:

    OK. I hope I am not considered one of those pesky soon to be debut authors who are handing out unwanted advice! I try to give writers who are striving to be published a glimpse of what the journey is like.
    RE ANONYMOUS: “to see how well an author photographs…”. I beg to disagree but I was specifically told that is one of the reasons the foreign publishers and publicists peruse a new author’s blog or website – straight from the source.
    Yes indeedy it’s true.
    I had to take off all those pics of me modeling lingerie.

  16. Adrienne said:

    I’m with Orion, or at least hope I am! I too am a newbie author about to be published, and I enjoy sharing the tale of the trip because well I just think it’s just so trippy! I can understand about the unwanted advice, but I’ve been reading many newbie author blogs, and a lot of them are quite good, quite humble and as a matter of fact rather funny as well!

    Also the whole author photo thing, I know it sucks, and it so shouldn’t matter, but the truth is they are looking at that as well. Not saying it’s right, just saying it does happen!

  17. Anonymous said:

    Though an unpublished writer, my blog is regularly visited by both agents and publishing houses. It does happen.

  18. Writer, Rejected said:

    “But here’s the sticking point, they only read a writer’s blog or review a website when they are interested in potentially buying a project an agent has sent their way.” Or when their name appears on said blog via google alert. Or so I’m told has happened from time to time with certain editors and certain blogs. Maybe we should all start naming names. 🙂

  19. Anonymous said:

    Orion and Adrienne,

    There are definitely debut authors who aren’t snobby as they discuss their path to publication. I think kate was referring to authors whose sheer “know-it-all” attitude comes through in their blog posts. For me, it’s a tone issue as well as how one phrases the advice being posted.

    The doubly irksome part is when a debut author dispenses all this advice, but isn’t exactly a great writer. I spotted multiple continuity errors in the first three paragraphs of one debut author’s novel that apparently even her agent and editor missed, yet she goes on about writing and publishing til the cows come home. It’s basically an attitude issue, but certainly not all debut authors are guilty of this.

  20. The Anti-Wife said:

    My blog started because I thought having one was the only way I could enter Miss Snark’s contests. Now I enjoy posting and really enjoy reading other blogs. There are some wonderful people on the internet. Blogging has allowed me to “meet” them and keep in touch with new developments in their lives and in publishing.

  21. LindaBudz said:

    Kate wrote: “Blogs are silly. It’s just too easy to ramble about irrelevant crap you falsely believe is important.”

    I don’t get that viewpoint at all (though I respect your right to have it).

    I am (as yet) unpublished, but I don’t think that means I have nothing relevant to say about writing or even publishing for that matter. Some of my favorite blogs are written by (as yet) unpublished writers.

    If someone doesn’t like a person’s blog, they don’t have to go back. And who’s to say what’s relevant or important? The blogosphere is a big place, and it’s free. If people enjoy writing and reading blogs, whatever their topic, what’s so silly about that?

  22. aspnovelist said:

    Hi Kristin:
    I just discovered your blog on Backspace – it’s like the Wikipedia of blogs for aspiring writers. Thanks for sharing.

  23. Jess said:

    *embarrassed cringe* When I mentioned I had linked you and said you could stop by, I didn’t mean that in an “I hope you read my blog!” way but more in a “So you can see I’m not a crazy” way. Oops. Every editor or agent I read about sounds way too busy to spend time cruising the blogosphere, for sure. ^_^

  24. Southern Writer said:

    I’ve never succeeded at playing the good little girl role. I’d rather be a character. I think I’ve been blacklisted by one or two agents who would probably never open a query from me after perusing my blog. I wish that weren’t the case, but better they know who I really am, than to present a false front and have them be surprised later. I also don’t make anonymous comments. I own up to what I write. I think blogging is a bit like dating in that regard. Better to enter into a good match than be divorced down the road. I don’t hide that I’m not perfect. I’m human: often opinionated, occasionally angry, and sometimes wrong, interspersed with moments of great compassion, overwhelming gratitude, and candid humility. If there’s one thing I’ve learned in life, it’s that you can’t please everyone all the time, and trying to is futile. I’m betting no one told Kurt Vonnegut or Hunter S. Thompson to pipe down. No one ever told Miss Snark or Evil Editor to “be nice.” The very thought of it is ludicrous. I will always aim for writing well and querying widely, and let the rest take care of itself.

  25. Chumplet said:

    When I received my first contract, I started my blog so my friends and family could follow along with me while I learned the ins and outs of publishing. Sometimes I’d post about little discoveries which were totally new to me, but probably old hat to others.

    Still, other writers have been kind enough to read and comment. I appreciate each entry.

    My first entry was about my cat. Nobody was interested, and I learned from that.

    Blogging is a great networking tool that one should use with prudence. If you’re gonna be off the wall and outrageous, you’d better be darn sure that’s how you want to be seen in the cyber world.

  26. Gabriele C. said:

    They might even take a look and see how the author photographs.

    That settles it. I’m going to invest in a hand-crafted lorica segmentata, pteryges and helmet, and get me a scarlet cloak, sword and shield and have my author photos taken dressed up as Roman tribune. Because I look a lot better in that stuff than in normal clothes. 🙂

    And I writer historical fiction about the Romans.

  27. Deb said:

    OMW, this is news to me. Can’t comment much, since I’m off to upload either Guinevere in full medieval splendor, or Gwyneth Paltrow, to my blog as my photograph.