Today’s post is a short update on the Writer Beware Blogs! mention of me by Alyx Dellamonica, one of my teachers at the UCLA Writers Program. The post stirred up a hornet’s nest of controversy by suggesting that current market advice to create an online presence in advance of publication could have its drawbacks, or even be a negative thing if done too soon.
As it’s sponsored by Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America and Mystery Writers of America, the blog has over 12,000 followers and subscribers. Within hours, every writer reluctant to bow to the pressure to market themselves, or whose efforts had not been successful, spoke up against it and I was beginning to feel as exposed and vulnerable as a lost puppy caught in the middle of a multi-lane highway.
You can probably imagine how relieved I was when my agent (Laura Rennert, Andrea Brown Literary Agency), left this comment in response to the naysayers:
“As an agent, I think that a smart and savvy web presence, blog, and a targeted, carefully orchestrated campaign of self-promotion through social media are exactly what authors, whether new or early in their career (or later in their career, for that matter) should be doing.
This kind of a campaign should not be at the expense of writing that great book, of course, and it has to be carefully calibrated and executed to be successful. However, it is not a coincidence that the most successful authors are those who have built this kind of an online platform, who participate in ongoing dialogues with their readers, and who are active in the online world.
I have gone out with a number of outstanding middle-grade, young adult, and cross-over books and the fact the author had already built this kind of online presence and created a following pre-publication definitely made the difference between a fine deal and a stellar one with incredible house and marketing support. This has been a factor in Maggie Stiefvater’s (SHIVER) and Jay Asher’s (THIRTEEN REASONS WHY) success — from the publishing excitement they generated when their books were at auction, to the way their publishers view them as real partners in the process and a very smart investment.
There is already editorial interest in my client Lia Keyes’ work both because of the glimpses of her outstanding writing that some editors have seen and because she has so successfully built this kind of web platform for herself in the course of creating a dynamic writing community.”
She then called me to plan how and when to take my book to market. All of which left me feeling very optimistic and excited about what the next few months will bring and firmly convinced that the world had smiled on me verily when it led me to Laura.
And gawd knows I need a little help. Life has been HARD for a long, long time. I’m really ready for the sun to shine.