Saturday, December 20, 2008

Your Identity, for the Internet

I am getting ready to query a middle-grade novel, so I thought I should have something up for a website. What sorts of things should an unpubbed writer include on her site, if she should mention a website at all in her query letter?
Not your WIPs. Those are a secret, because they're special, right?

Your website, in the very lucky event that an editor decides to look you up, should tell the editor more about who you are as a person-- your other pursuits, anything that makes you particularly well suited to write for kids, your sense of humor, that sort of thing. Your website is a chance to make the editor think, "I like this person. She seems pleasant and fun, and not needy, neurotic, or crazy. I might enjoy working with her."

Careful with the clip art. A sampling of uncohesive art styles can make your website look messy. Good visuals to include might be the covers of published books you're reading and enjoying-- and make them recent pubs, ok? We like to see that authors are keeping up with the industry.

Once you're published, put each of your own books up with their reviews, the price and publisher. Link to IndieBound as well as Amazon and B&N. Point local readers to your local bookstore. Talk about the events you do with kids.

17 comments:

Chris Eldin said...

This is very helpful! Thanks for posting!
:-)

Marian said...

Those are great ideas. I held off on starting a website because I didn't think there would be anything to put on it before I was published, but that post was very encouraging. Thanks!

Deaf Brown Trash Punk said...

shiiiiiiiiit, please editors, DON'T look at my blog!!!! it's sooo unprofessonal, dirty and nasty. i guess my rep as a writer is going down the drain.

graywave said...

Great idea! Since I am basically unlikeable, needy, neurotic, and crazy, I should start a website that makes me seem like the kind of guy editors would like! It's brilliant!

I should probably take down my other sites too, I suppose - the ones with all the random clip-art and me being cranky and weird.

Editorial Anonymous said...

DBTP:
Your website says who you are, and that's not a bad thing. I mean, as long as you're writing for teens. I liked it. ;)

Graywave:
I like cranky. I can relate to cranky.

Paul Michael Murphy said...

I added a post to my blog that addresses all of your very helpful pointers. So if anyone reading this is an editor (or agent, or writer who has an agent and would like to recommend my work, or the second cousin of someone who knows someone in the publishing industry) hurry up and check it out, because in another week it will be in the "Archives," and let's be real, who ever reads those?

Maria Bergstrom said...

A related question--I've seen several blogs or websites where the author posts photos/scans of the covers of books she is reading and recommends. What are the copyright issues with doing this? I enjoy these kinds of lists, but have always wondered about contributing to the unauthorized circulation of published artwork.

azang said...

That is some sound, sage advice...but, doesn't "needy, neurotic and crazy" just about describe all writers? Well, maybe not the non-fiction ones.

Kate Lord Brown said...

Interesting post - I'm still on the fence about how useful the blog is in career terms (it's just a lot of fun - more like a great global writer's group!) Why do you think it is so many writers use pseudonyms? It never occurred to me to not be open in identity terms.

Chris Eldin said...

DBTP, You need deaf,brown, trash, punk bunnies if you want your site geared toward children.

Visited your blog and saw your Saudi pics. I used to live there (for 6 months). Didn't go to Mecca or Medina, but did visit chop-chop square. You could've gotten some cool photos there. I guess the moral of that two-sentence story is don't get caught doing drugs or prostituting yourself in the kingdom.

Shelli said...

Thanks for this posting. I do marketing (day job) and speak at SCBWI events. I say this all the time and its good to have an example to refer to :)
shelli
http://www.faeriality.blogspot.com/

Editorial Anonymous said...

You can use the covers of books as you talk about them online or elsewhere-- the publisher expects (and hopes for) that.

Kelly said...

Great tips!

AC said...

Brilliant, thank you!

Heidi R. Kling said...

Thanks for the informative post.

What do you think about posting snippets from novels that are under contract but aren't out yet? I know a lot of writers who do that, but I haven't.

Editorial Anonymous said...

I think they'd better have approved that with their publisher, or withheld first serial rights.

Sarahlynn said...

No works in progress. Oops. Something new everyday and all that. Thanks.