Thursday, May 8, 2008

Using the Web to Your Advantage

Today's Writing Process post is going in a different direction. In this post, I'm going to assume you're a serious writer, you've finished (or nearly finished) a novel you plan to submit to agents, and you are focused on the goal of being published.

Agents interested in talking with you about representation will google your name. Then, they actually read what they've googled. With that in mind, how you present yourself on the web can help or hurt your publishing career.

The following advice is gleaned from entries I read on the blogs of Rachel Vater, Jennifer Jackson, Kristin Nelson, and Jessica Faust, all top notch literary agents.

1. Don't write anything in your blog, myspace, livejournal that you don't want a stranger, your grandmother, or a potential business partner to read.

2. Keep the profanity to a minimum.

3. Have your freak out moments in private, not on the web.

4. Be careful how much you share about your writing: if you went through a period of playing Guild Wars instead of working on your manuscript, it's best to keep that quiet lest an agent fear you'd revert to ruling virtual worlds about the time your edits were due.

5. Share your personality but make sure you're comfortable with strangers, readers, future business partners knowing that part of you.

6. Realize that some parts of your life are private and should stay that way. That's what friends-locked entries or private myspace journals are for.

7. Don't bash other authors by name. It will come back to haunt you.

8. Don't bash agents or editors who reject you. That will also come back to haunt you.

Basically, use common sense and present yourself both honestly and in the best possible light, keeping in mind that, just as you use agent profiles and blogs to figure out whom you want to work with, agents will google you and do the same.


  1. I guess I should consider getting a blog going or something before I reach the querying stage...

    These are good reminders, though. I've seen some pretty wild stuff on some potential author blogs and I wonder what kind of agent would want to work with them!

  2. Keep profanity to a minimum? Don't bash other authors?
    Don't rip apart agents who reject me?

    Where's the fun in that?!

  3. Leave Guild Wars out of it. It's awesome. Paul where are you on this one?


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