Pub Rants

Talking Websites

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STATUS: I’m working on contracts. Need I say more?

What’s playing on the iPod right now? STICKSHIFTS AND SAFETYBELTS by Cake

I had many interesting chats with editors while I was in New York City this past month but I just remembered one that I had meant to blog about. And then I received an email survey about this very question and that reminded me that I hadn’t yet blogged about it.

The editor and I were talking about not-yet-published writer websites and whether we look at them when we’ve requested sample pages and might be contemplating asking for a full. (The URL is often included in the cover letter.)

For both of us, the answer was “yes.” When reviewing sample pages where we like the writing, we’ll often give the writer website a glance and see what’s there. I don’t bother if the sample pages haven’t caught my interest.

I cannot stress enough how important it is to have a good website, with solid content, if you are going to have one at all. More on this in a minute.

If you don’t have a website, that’s fine too. I’ll still ask for a full manuscript if I like the sample pages enough. There are pros and cons to footing the bill of a website before you are even published so don’t stress about it or run out and get one right now because I don’t think it’s absolutely necessary.

But if you do have a website or blog and you are currently looking for an agent, or to make your first sale, or what have you, I can offer a couple of words of advice.

Don’t have a website/blog unless it can be a professional one. The homemade sites look it and just make me cringe. It won’t keep me from asking for your full (or if I like the novel, offering representation) but it’s not putting your best foot forward and that’s never a benefit.

What content should it have? Well the standard. About you, what you are working on, any cool interests you have that might inspire your writing, workshops you are doing, critique partners or anything about the writing process.

What you might not want to include is a whole play-by-play of your current editor, agent, or publisher search. This could backfire. I have seen sites where an author has clearly outlined all the rejections (sometimes the letters are posted there verbatim!). It would make me think twice about asking for the full (although the one time I encountered it, I did end up requesting the full as opinions can vary widely) but think of the psychology impact of that. If lots of people are saying NO, maybe I’ll think twice about saying YES.

Now once you have that book deal or agent or editor, I think it’s okay to write about it after the fact.

For blogs, remember that the writing you have there needs to be representative of you and your good work. It doesn’t have to be perfect but you shouldn’t blog if the writing doesn’t represent your “usual” quality—if you know what I mean.

In short, if it shows you off to an advantage, then have a website. If it can’t at this point in time, I wouldn’t worry about it.


48 Responses

  1. bookfraud said:

    we’ll often give the writer website a glance and see what’s there. i don’t bother if the sample pages haven’t caught my interest.

    you just made my heart sink. if an agent takes one look at my blog, he or she will say, “that schlub writes like a fourth-grader on catnip.” or some such.

    what about blogs that have nothing to do with literature or writing? should an aspiring novelist bother with their website on, say, politics or nascar?

  2. Anonymous said:

    I’m afraid to say anything. Moderators and all, you understand.

    Having a website is probably more important to younger writers. Older writers can probably afford to hire webmasters to set their sites up for them.

    I wouldn’t blog, because it’s largely a waste of valuable creative energy. And time. When I stay off the web I get 3000 words or more a day.

  3. Dave Shaw said:

    bookfraud, the agent or editor can only follow your link if you provide it in your query letter. I sincerely doubt that they’ll try to track down every page that you have on the net.

  4. Anonymous said:

    Just out of curiosity, why don’t you make this the kind of area where people need to create usernames and passwords to have access to the comment fields? Or make it so posters have to supply a valid e-mail address?

    Of course, then you’d probably lose some of your regular visitors. It would drop the number of hits your website gets in a given time period. Would that effect your standing in the blogging community, getting less hits? Just curious.

    Sally

  5. pjd said:

    that schlub writes like a fourth-grader on catnip

    It seems to me this might be helpful in some cases. Judging from some books I’ve read.

  6. Anonymous said:

    why oh why can’t we all get past the fact that the web IS NOT A GOOD REPRESENTATION OF REAL LIFE?!? just because some people feel it is the most important thing in the UNIVERSE does not make it so! for the love of god, isn’t interacting with people more important than how you represent yourself on the stinking internet? i would personally rather read a book by someone who leads an interesting life in the REAL WORLD as opposed to somebody who’s known primarily for being things like NET-SAVVY and TECH-WISE. a person who spends all of her time tweaking her website is SITTING IN FRONT OF THE SAME COMPUTER EVERY DAY! she isn’t doing anything, she’s not going anywhere, she’s not experiencing anything. a good website is a sign of a boring human being.

  7. agilebrit said:

    This is why, when I post about being rejected on LiveJournal, I lock and filter it. That way only the people I want to see it will come across it.

    However, I’ve been told by more than one person that the fact that I keep submitting even after being rejected is an “inspiration” to them (something about perseverance in the face of adversity), so I’m going to keep posting about it.

  8. CM said:

    This is why, when I post about being rejected on LiveJournal, I lock and filter it. That way only the people I want to see it will come across it.

    Sadly, this is not 100% true. For whatever reason, a lot of these posts end up on Google’s Blogsearch. I don’t know how. The person who searches can’t click the link and see the full content, but Google sees the leading few phrases. And so if you have “SCREW AGENT NAME FOR HER PITIFUL REJECTION!” and the agent does a search for her name, she can find it. She won’t be able to access the site, but she will (a) see the name of the blog and (b) will be able to read about 50 words of your post.

    Just sayin’.

  9. Anonymous said:

    Good advice, Kristin. I think everything you said applies to general readers, too. If I come across an author on a website or forum or something, I’ll often check out their website/blog. I don’t care if there are minor issues, but if they can’t forumalate a sentence competently, I notice, and decide against buying the book.

    The internet has become a necessary to tool in marketing yourself. If you don’t have a website, that’s fine, but keep in mind that certain things about you are bound to pop up in a Google search. A website gives you the opportunity to put something out there that you created yourself… so, I for one, think they are a good idea.

    However, I do disagree with Kristin about the homemade sites. If you can’t afford anything else, and you can keep things looking clean, then I see nothing wrong with them.

  10. agilebrit said:

    Oh, lord, I’d never be that unprofessional. Most of the time it’s a “*sigh* So-and-so magazine didn’t want the thus-and-such story, guess I’ll ship it off to the next.” And if they give me helpful (or any) crit, or a reason why, I’ll make a note of that as well, because crit and rationales from editors is like gold.

    Of course, sales get gleefully published with happy flailing. 😉

  11. CM said:

    Oh, I wasn’t trying to say you’d be unprofessional. Just wanted to let people know that even if you think you are under a cloak of privacy, you might not be, and so you should be professional anyway.

  12. Tammie said:

    Everyone makes good points here.

    As for blogging, I use it but I keep it on task, no “this is what I did last night” or “what the kids did or hubby did”.

    I agree it shouldn’t look homemade and you can google free templates and find something unique for wordpress, blogger, without being a techy wizard or taking too much time or any money.

    And I agree interacting with people face to face is important and that most times the web is not a good representation – you can be easily fooled – which is why IF you choose to take it on, it should represent the person you would show face to face unless fooling someone is your goal.

    Face to face networking is best but in this day with agents and editors all over the place, online workshops, conferences, it is a useful networking tool.

    Your blog or website is used as a calling card or business card you would place in someones hand.

    But if you don’t do it, it’s no big deal.

  13. Anonymous said:

    Before I write anything here about author websites, I want to tell you about something I have been wondering about your big NY trip. What meeting had the most impact on you and why? Now I realise this may not be something you want to share, but if it is, I am really curious.

    The website thing. I am a graphic designer as well as an aspiring writer. The writing thing came out of needing to revise so much of the copy given to me by clients, and it has ended up being an important source of revenue.

    When I go to favourite author’s sites, I am often appalled by the poor quality, and at how they can be totally out of sync with the quality of their writing. I does sometimes turn me off reading more of their work. I don’t feel proud of this, but it is a fact.

    When I am interested in services, I tend to choose those that present themselves well. I know I may sometimes pay a little more, but I suspect that in the long run I may save a bit of money, as they seem to have a good standard of self regard and this can reflect in their work.

    Off to design my own website now! And I’m thinking it might be a nice sideline to design them for other writers. It can be good to have personal experience in the area in which we work.

  14. Katie said:

    I’m smiling over this last Anon comment, because I’m another! I am both an aspiring writer AND a graphic designer. (Actually, I design with both fabric and digital medium, but I don’t see that the draperies really come into play here, LOL!) Anyway… I’ve recently started designing author websites, too, after I had so much fun designing my own. *smile*

    Another comment I had is that it’s the same with me, for agent websites. I’ve ruled out a number of agents, just because their websites were terribly unprofessional and had tons of grammar mistakes. The grammar mistakes make me wonder… well… lots of things, and the unprofessional sites make me think that the agency must not be very successful, if they can’t afford several hundred to at least have a simple professional website built!

    But what I actually got on here to post is a question for Kirsten. What if the author, whom you’re interested in enough to check out their website, has a free read… and you don’t care for the free read? Writing skill aside (I’d assume that the grammar and general writing skill should mirror the quality that their manuscript will offer.), what if you just plain old don’t like the story? Will that make you change your mind against requesting a partial or full?

    I’m asking because I’m working on a free read for my potential readers, but, due to the necessity of it being shorter, it will most likely lack the same level of plot depth that a 90,000 word novel will have. If this could count against me, than I’ll just keep hold of my story until AFTER I have an agent!

  15. Katie said:

    (Sorry for spelling your name wrong, Kristen. One of characters was a Kirsten, and my fingers get away from my occasionally and type things of their own!)

  16. Anonymous said:

    Another Graphic artist here. 🙂
    Leaning more to the Photoshop/Photography/Painting side.
    I use to design web sites for real estate companies back when the web started to become popular. Back then it was hard, now it is easy. If you are an apple user, there is iweb. That’s what i used for my web site and althought it’s not full of animation and flash it’s simple and professional.
    So as an aspiring author IMHO you should try and get something on the web. Check other sites out to get some ideas. Generally simple and clean gets the point across.

    Paul

    http://www.paulphillips.ca

  17. Amra Pajalic said:

    I resisted developing a website while I was unpublished. I’ve seen so many would be writers get caught up in creating promotional material rather than focussing on their writing.

    I also didn’t want to build an ameteurish website just for the sake of having something. I know that design isn’t my strength and anything I created myself would look like a dog’s breakfast.

    While I was submitting I used my blog as a webpage and listed all my achievements and links to them. It was a functional way of providing more information about myself, without much time wasted.

    Now that I’ve got a publishing contract I will get a website created by a professional company and I’ll have the facility to update the content. This is the time when i need a website, while having one before I had the publishing contract would have served my ego and nothing else.

  18. Jamie Ford said:

    Wow, plenty of designer cum writers out there. In fact, I’m one of ’em too.

    I set up my site about two years before I sold my first book. It gave me something to tinker with and someplace to write when I didn’t feel like writing fiction.

    If you’re an aspiring writer, the least you should do is buy your URL. Hey, gotta start somewhere…

  19. Anonymous said:

    I bet most of you people don’t even realize that there was a time when domain names were free. Yep, I got my domain name way back then. Seems like ancient history, the good old days. Now you gotta pay, and if you don’t pay attention, your domain name may get swiped out from under you by some ‘bot that is trained to watch for expiration and jump on the ownership.

  20. Katie said:

    I think that what Amra did is what more authors should consider doing… using a blog for a website for a while. After all, it’s extremely easy to set up a professional blogger blog!

    I don’t think that creating a blog before being published only serves our ego, though. While I created mine just for the fun of it, it has also helped with networking. I have also heard some agents and editors say that it is NEVER to early to start marketing yourself. After all… my book fits a niche that many readers are actively looking (and failing) to find books in. It’s great to give these fellow readers a chance to see who I am, contact me, and chat with them!

  21. ~V said:

    I wonder what you think about a site like ABNABooks.com, which brings several writers together on one site, linking to the Author Web sites and allowing for downloads of their excerpts.

    ABNA began as a group of entrants and semifinalists of the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award. Through the forum, they grew into a community of writers working together to improve their writing and promote their books.

    ABNABooks.com is the next step in their evolution, a place to maintain that solidarity while promoting their work and perfecting their craft.

    Can you foresee agents and editors perusing such a site for clients? What would the site need to offer/be in order to attract such attention?

    Thanks!
    Valya

  22. WitLiz Today said:

    I think Ms Nelson’s comments are partly based on the presumption that your blog is being written with the idea that an agent, and/or editor will be reading it at some point. Or that you’re angling for them to do so. Au contraire. My blog is clearly meant to inform and entertain the newbie writer. If an agent or editor stumbles across it and gets offended then I’ll make my apologies now. If they stumble across it and enjoy reading about a writer’s bungling first attempt at having sex, I mean getting published, then I’m glad for them. But it doesn’t change the purpose of the blog.

    Two years ago, a writer’s blog was personal and you could use it in place of a hand written diary. Certainly I had that in mind when I started one. But today it is suddenly, tres chic, or tres sick (depending on the subject matter you’re writing about) to have a blog. NOW we have to put on our designer clothes and walk the runway as we write into them. Seems so anyway.

    Well, let me disabuse an agent and or editor that my blog has anything to do with them. It has everything to do with me and my desire to share this writing adventure with a boatload or thimble-size load of people who are walking the same path as I am, but who are having a more difficult time dealing with rejection. Is it easy to post rejection letters and then smile about it? Hell no. But like another commenter alluded to earlier, it is inspiring for many writers to see you fly through it and continue on.

    As hard as it is to believe, there are people out there who do nice stuff purely for altruistic reasons. Like for instance, the many literary agents who are blogging.

    I, myself, enjoy writer blogs that post their experiences in the publishing world. I wish I had time to read them daily. Since I don’t, I do my own blog.

    The other point I want to make is this: if an agent I’ve queried hasn’t figured out that the odds of them being the first one queried is pretty astronomical, then they’re looking through a very narrow tunnel with their name carpeting the entire path. Makes no sense to me that an agent would pause to ask for a partial or full, if they truly understand they weren’t the first queried. That means that if they’re the second queried, then guess what happened the first time around? And not only that, these rejections letters are standard form letters for the most part.

    Yes, maybe seeing it in black and white makes it more definitive, but the results are the same.

  23. Tammie said:

    It seems that having a blog was used sometimes for nonfiction writers to collectively showcase their clips. Does anyone here do that?

    It seemed easier to put a blog address in a query than attach to an email several pieces.

    I think its fun to see other writers write about their process or tidbits of publishing news. But like anything else it can be a distraction from the real work. Just like solitare for freecell :o)

  24. Just_Me said:

    I’m nervous about the whole website ordeal. I’m not computer literate past the basic blogspot or AOL blog. I’m not sure I could put together my own website and I don’t know many people who can.

    On the other hand…. if I publish I want people to be able to look up all the information I have on the worlds I’ve created and the books I have out there so that if they like one I can point them at another (lots of IF’s in there but oh well).

    So, I suspect getting the website is inevitable. But I don’t intend to put a link to my blog or a website on my queries.

  25. Sarahlynn said:

    I agree with Anonymous 2:12 about amateur sites. I designed my own site, so it’s “amateur” but it’s neat and clean and nice looking. There’s no pink-on-black text, no fairies flying after my cursor, no distracting ads or animations.

    There’s a picture of me on a simple, tasteful, solid background with links in a graceful arc to one side. The links include: Home, Blog, Biography, Writing, and Contact. Information on those pages is similarly professional in tone and presentation (if technically designed by an amateur).

    My question is about my blog. I’ve had more than 130,000 unique visitors in the last few years, though it’s hard to track current traffic patterns as many of my readers admit to using aggregators (and aren’t counted by my statcounter since they often don’t click through to my site).

    I’d planned on mentioning my blog in my query, because it demonstrates that I write daily and in such a way that strangers find reading about my life interesting.

    From reading various agent blogs, I’ve gotten the impression that some agents would be interested in knowing about that.

    But from reading Agent Kristin’s posts about professional websites and blogs, I’m thinking that she’d be turned off by a general blog, which talks about writing, but also family life, travel, politics, etc.

    (Politics is also an obvious area of some concern. I doubt I would have started reading certain authors if I’d know their politics beforehand.)

    So: to include or not to include the blog? That is the question I’ll have to grapple with over the next couple of months as I polish up all my materials for my first round of queries.

  26. Anonymous said:

    There was an agent that I was considering submitting to, but after I read the agent’s blog, I didn’t. Now, I’m not perfect with grammar and stuff, but that blog was so full of crazy sentences and invisible punctuation that it made me wonder how the agent would submit my work to publishers in a professional manner. Yep, the blog changed my mind. For the worse.

  27. Beth R said:

    This is very good advice, but I am still a little lost. Could you possibly give some good examples of what would make a GOOD not-published-yet website? Or could you critique a few? (I’d be willing to offer my website up for critique–I’ve already querried you and been rejected, so there wouldn’t be any conflict involved.) I’ve tried to find not-pubbed-yet author webpages, but the majority of them are either entirely wrong for my genre….or entirely wrong and not the kind of thing I want to emulate at all. I’m just not entirely sure what content to include, and how to format it for agents/editors…as opposed to already published authors who are obviously formatting for readers and fans.

  28. Janny said:

    Two comments:

    First…I used to have both a website and a blog–in fact, I had two blogs. One was supposed to be more “writing oriented” while the other was a little bit of everything. Then…I took a controversial public stand (on a writing issue!) and people went to my “writing” blog and blasted me. We’re not talking dealing just with the issue at hand, either–we’re talking slamming everything on my profile. I duly posted the comments in the interests of “free exchange,” then called a halt to it…only to discover that some people enjoy going on blogs and calling other people names so much that they weren’t ready to let go. So, after a couple of warnings, I took that blog down and haven’t reinstated it.

    The webpage was great, except that my webpage designer was at times slow in getting changes made, to the point that I don’t think there were more than a couple of months in there where my web page actually sort of looked like what I wanted it to look like. (!) Along about the time when I would have renewed, I had such limited funds available that I didn’t renew the website…so now I have no “official” website.

    The blog I do have left, therefore, I’m putting everything on. Mostly writing talk, but also sports, music, general rants, job stuff, etc. I have a lot of links and hope to add many more–and I put that URL on pretty much everything, even my resume. So that’s where I’m concentrating my “name” and my “brand” now. I have to admit, at first it made me nervous not to have a web site, but not anymore. Any web presence nowadays can get your name out there, where it pretty much never goes away. Trust me; at least some of the bashing that went on against me two years ago is still in cyberspace to read. :-\

    And second–on a lighter note!–when I saw the title of this post, the first thing I thought was, “Wow, websites with sound effects that talk to you? What WILL they think of next?”

    I know, I know. More coffee…

    JB

  29. Jeff said:

    Interesting post and interesting comments, but I had one more question that immediately jumped out to me—where would one include the website address in a query letter? Underneath your e-mail address or something? Is it worth mentioning in the text of your letter or should you just put down the URL?

    -Jeff

  30. Anonymous said:

    Hi,

    I have a web site also, http://www.dobbinsdreamstories.com which has received a lot of attention. I am looking for responses from people on it. I have had a magazine request to do an article on the book. It is not yet published, but I am looking for an agent or publisher.

    Please feel free to comment on it.

  31. Cindy Procter-King said:

    Jeff, I do include my websites (I write under two names) when I query editors and agents. I put it in the address block, below my email address (for a snail mail letter–I don’t include the email address for obvious reasons if I’m querying by email). However, when I query by email I still format the email like a business letter, with my snail mail address, phone number, etc., at the top.

    So…the regular address block, then a blank line, then (1) Home Phone (2) Email Address (3) Websites, each on their own line.

    Then another space and the date. After that it’s like any other letter.

    Or you could put your website addresses under your name at the bottom of the letter.

  32. Katie said:

    I was wondering the same thing about where to include your URL. It’s in my email address, of course… but do all agents know that since my email address is [email protected] that it most likely means that http://www.KathleenMacIver.com is my domain name? (It is.) I don’t know. I figured that, since mine is automatically in my signature file of every email I send, I’d just leave it there and not worry about it.

    As for those of you wanting website critiques or information about what makes one good…

    There are so many aspects of good web design that it would take pages to describe it all. It’s in the layout of the site, and leading the visitor gently from one page to another, offering links where and when the reader looks for them. It’s in the layout of the page, in the balance of both color and text/images.

    My suggestion on this is the same that I give my clients initially. It’s what I think everyone should do occasionally (regardless of whether they think that they know what they’re doing or not) because it keeps you on the forefront of what’s out there. It gives you an idea of how your website compares with others that your (potential) readers will be seeing. This is what I do all the time.

    Go and look up the websites of every author you come across. Look up well-known authors. Look up your favorite authors. Follow links in the signatures of those on author e-groups. Click on the links of fellow authors on blogs, and see if they’ve got one listed in their profile. The more you find, the better-educated you’ll be. Just browse them as a regular reader would. It won’t be too long before you’ll start seeing the difference between professional-looking sites and unprofessional-looking ones. You’ll notice that some are easy to navigate, and others aren’t. You’ll see that some instantly portray the author’s fictional world, while others don’t give you a clue as to what the author writes. Some will look like a gorgeous medley of images and text, while others will appear more like a list of links and “This is what I write.”

    Now go back and look at your site… you’ll know whether it’s good, bad, or somewhere in the middle. Chances are, you won’t have any idea how to make yours look as good as the best (few of us do), but you WILL have some ideas on how you can, at least, improve it.

    Otherwise, just keep in mind that simpler is better, unless you know what you’re doing. It’s difficult to balance a lot without it looking too overwhelming.

  33. Anonymous said:

    I don’t even need to read “Write Liz’s” blog. I can tell just from this comment that she’s probably impossible to work with. No thanks.

  34. Anonymous said:

    Kage Baker says that your website should be a bulletin board to put your credits on. She says to put up a list of your publications, where to buy them if they are out of print, and to list all of your appearances for the next six months. When I heard her speak in California, she stated that blogging is a waste of time, and there is the added fact that something you say might piss off a potential reader and sour him/her to buying any of your books. Posting opinions about anything has the chance of causing readers to disagree with you. How many liberals do you know who would willingly buy a book from a conservative, and vice versa?

    I’ve read a few blogs before getting to this one. Most of the time I get bored after three or four days of material. I don’t let it spoil my view of the blogger. I can’t really say if I would do business with a serious blog fanatic. Maybe if they did it once a week. Can I say I’m impressed by a website? Now that I think about it, I can’t say that I’d be overly impressed. Not that kind of guy, I assume. I don’t log onto someone’s website and say WOW, what a great site. I can tell when they’re bad, though.

    I agree with the agent here, sort of. If you have the potential to make a really cool professional website, than do it, but without anything hinting at your opinions. I’m with Kage Baker on the blogging thing. Maybe once a month would work for me, or maybe a log of what you did in regards to writing.

  35. Sarahlynn said:

    I am often bemused by the animosity some people express against blogging/bloggers.

    Rarely do I see screeds against those who choose to jot down their thoughts in a daily journal or do any other sort of daily writing exercise. Blogs can be a convenient daily diary, a record of events, a way of keeping others abreast of your current developments, and can serve any of a large number of other functions.

    Writers who publish are, by nature, a little bit exhibitionistic; it’s no surprise that many of us also blog. And the beauty of someone else’s blog is that – if you don’t want to read it, don’t!

  36. jwhit said:

    What a well commented topic! Good stuff in here. I’ll add my little bit.

    I have three or five presences:
    1 – my small business site which is my main domain name
    2 – a personal site with fluffy stuff that is a subdirectory of my main site
    3 – a blog that is also a subdirectory of my main site.

    Then there is a holding place on LJ for simple stuff I do there and I believe a skimpy blogger page. I don’t have time to keep those up, and pretty much leave the others alone as well. Even then, I get over a hundred hits per day, including retrieval of my resume, reading of my 1980s newsletters from Australia, but mostly of my blog.

    When I added the blog, my hits went through the roof. So if you’re really serious about it, consider a blog because they seem to get the highest exposure for some reason. I use an installed WordPress on my own host, rather than on WordPress’s domain.

    Hosting is NOT expensive. I bought 2 years for about $25US for quite adequate diskspace and traffic allocation. Domain names in the .com area are cheap in the US, too and can often be just part of your hosting package, although you don’t need to continue that way. These hosting services also often have designers OR template systems that look quite nice and are very easy to use. Don’t be afraid. Have a go. Save on a contest entry and get some exposure going.

    My humble opinion and experience.

  37. Kathleen said:

    And the beauty of someone else’s blog is that – if you don’t want to read it, don’t!

    but I think Kristen’s point is, don’t include the link to your blog in your query letter, if your blog is filled with posts about all of the rejections you are getting.

    So many of the comments here are based not on what Kristen actually said, but the commenter’s own baggage about their blog.

  38. Anonymous said:

    You people are hopeless. You are incapable of letting anyone have an opinion.

    I like the comment by the poster mentioning Kage Baker. Why? Kage Baker is a writer’s writer, someone who ignores trends, who writes more for the art than the money. Someone Kristin would chastise for not being commercially viable, when in fact there is not a writer in Kristin’s stable of romance/chick lit-churning dullards who could hold a candle to Ms. Baker’s writing. Sarahlynn, you do not get it… you should not be allowed to type.

  39. pjd said:

    You people are hopeless. You are incapable of letting anyone have an opinion… Sarahlynn, you do not get it… you should not be allowed to type.

    Talk about hopeless. This is hypocritical, Anonymous… if that’s your real name.

  40. beth said:

    I’d just like to thank everyone who posted links to their webpages…I’m looking at them to get an idea of what I should do to make mine better. Basically, I look at webpages as another form of self promotion–not necessary, but probably helpful.

    PS–Anonymous, just because people don’t agree with you doesn’t mean they are incapable of letting others have an opinion. And just because you’re posting anonymously doesn’t mean you should be so rude.

  41. Sarahlynn said:

    Kathleen, I agree, especially with the idea that what you blog about can hurt you if it’s under your real or pen name and easily accessible for readers/editors/agents to find. Perhaps I wasn’t perfectly clear above. With my first comment I was replying to Kristin’s post, and with my second I was responding comments like these:

    I wouldn’t blog, because it’s largely a waste of valuable creative energy. And time.

    a good website is a sign of a boring human being.

    she stated that blogging is a waste of time

    I can’t really say if I would do business with a serious blog fanatic. Maybe if they did it once a week.

    Also, in response to the Anonymous who’s so found of insulting others, I find use of the word “retarded” as an insult to be incredibly offensive.

    My writing website (from which the link to the blog might or might not be removed before I send out queries): http://www.SarahlynnLester.com

  42. tommy jonq said:

    1. Why on earth would you publish anything, including a blog, that you think will damage your reputation as a writer? How could you expect any publisher to invest money, not to mention time, and energy, in you and your career?

    2. This is the 21st century. The 20th century is over. There is nothing in the world cheaper or easier—especially for a writer—than a blog to go out and start making fans. I used to do standup comedy. On a good day, my blog attracts more new fans in an hour than I could pick up in a month on the road as a comic. And I spend a couple of hours a day, in my underwear, in the comfort of my living room, reaching those fans, instead of driving 700 miles a day and sleeping in cheap hotel rooms and eating three meals a day at Golden Corral. Fans who can subscribe to my blog or see my other website with a single mouse click. All for four dollars and forty-eight cents per month.

    3. It’s good practice. Writers write. And if you don’t get comments or trackbacks (take one good look at just how many comments there are on this post) then you’ll know you need to do something differently. Before you start realistically asking people to pay you significant amounts of money.

    4. Your competition (me) is doing it. Whether you keep up or not. And yes, Virginia, getting paid for something is a competition.

    5. It shows that you’re serious. About your career. As a professional writer.

    6. It’s fun. It’s worth it just to Google myself and see all the hits. It’s also encouraging.

  43. Joe Novella said:

    Hi Kristin,

    Just wondering what the professional’s take is on publishing content on blogs.

    I have recently started a blog that has generated more interest than I had anticipated. I am getting requests to publish/email extracts/chapters from my fiction work-in-progress but I am not sure whether that will become an issue when it comes to approaching agents.

    Kindest regards,
    Joe Novella