Monday, July 6, 2009

Fishing for an Agent?

In the book business, we wannabe-writers can use all the tips, hints, and breaks we can get because – believe me – those breaks are few and far between.

So, what’s a newbie writer to do?

Play the writing game like a sport – fishing to be exact. Bait editors and agents to read your manuscript by developing a web presence. It’s a long path to publication but here are a few helpful shortcuts that might help you.

CREATE A WRITER’S WEBSITE

This one small investment will make it easier for agents and/or editors to do their research, when it comes to potential writers. With the click of a mouse, everything is right at their fingertips. (Not every agent or editor will go through the process to click their way around your website - but some will.) And we, writers, will save a boatload of money in postage and mailing expenses. It’s a win-win proposition.

• Keep it simple or people will jump ship before the pages finish downloading. Great graphics sound interesting but they usually take way too long to display. Don’t waste time with fancy flash animation and graphics which will only discourage impatient viewers.

• Lure people to read more by posting a picture of yourself somewhere on your webpage. This helps readers identify with you as a real person out there in the vast sea known as cyberspace.

• Chum your readers by offering links to other great websites.

• Bait your buyers by having an “Upcoming” or “News” tab so that fans (we’re all hoping to have them one day) will be able to look ahead and get ready to buy your next great masterpiece.

• Don’t make too much noise or you’ll scare away the fish and readers too. Music may be fine for mood setting but most people check websites at work, on breaks, during lunch, etc. And, no one wants to disrupt coworkers.

• Update your content regularly. This is vitally important. People don’t want to waste time reviewing old news.

• Remember to post contact information so that readers can comment and/or ask questions, like where can they find your recently published book, article or poem?


Tomorrow I will be posting an interview with professional critique maven Margot Finke. Please come back and visit tomorrow and leave a comment for a prize donated by Marvelous Margot herself.

7 comments:

Jean said...

Great summary for blogging, Kim.

Your trip looks like it was loads of fun, too.

We stayed home July 4 except for going "downtown" to watch the parade in Indian Trail, NC.

It was small-town-America at its finest. Tomorrow I'll post photos on my Encouraging Words blog.

Blessings,
Jean
http://www.jeanmatthewhallwords.blogspot.com

Green Girl in Wisconsin said...

VERY nice suggestions. I'm passing this along to a few folks.

MG Higgins said...

Great tips, Kim. Looking forward to your interview with Ms. Finke.

adrienne said...

Thanks for the great tips!
I'm looking forward to the interview, too.

Kelly said...

Great post, Kim. I just realized I have no contact info on my blog profile. I should probably change that! Thanks!

Christina Farley said...

This is really great Kim. I've found it hard to keep up with blogging between traveling, work and kids. Oh! And writing too! Ha!

But really, these are all great tips. Thanks for the lowdown.

I really need to work on my website. Sigh.

David Batista said...

Love the advice, Kim. I confess that the only reason I started my blog was because I knew some day, somewhere, an agent or editor would ask (read: order) me to create a my own site. I dreaded the thought, so I do what I always: faced my fear straight on!

But I have to say, blogging is quite relaxing and fun. I actually have to hold myself back from updating, because I find the opposite of bloggers who don't update often to be equally annoying.

It's a delicate balancing act.