This is a great tip from, Sara Megibow with the Nelson Agency....
TIPS FROM THE SLUSH PILE
This is more of a marketing tip than a query letter tip, per se. Still, I find this to be an important step for all writers who take the business of publishing seriously. Before starting your submissions (whether to agents or directly to editors), make sure your web presence is polished and up-to-date.
I know, I know — another thing to “polish” but believe me, it’s important. If I am reading sample pages that I like, the very first thing I do BEFORE asking for the full manuscript is a Google search for your website. Hopefully, you’ve included the url in your query letter but if not, I go on a hunt. No, it’s not a deal breaker if you’re not 100% web savvy, but I consider websites, blogs, etc., to be a part of the package, a part of the “resume,” so to speak. And, yes — I take it seriously.
1) If you don’t have an author website yet — get one. And get a professional one. Even if it’s a basic template, make sure it looks professional and has professional content on it.
2) If you don’t have an author blog, think seriously about starting one. Right now, blogging is a hot way to increase your own marketing. Next year maybe it will be something different, but for now, a great blog is #2 behind a great website. A few suggestions ... avoid blogging about how the book is going (i.e., avoid entries like this, “I wrote 80 pages today — yippee!” or “I am on chapter 10 and it’s giving me problems.”) The general masses aren’t going to read your blog and want to come back again and again to find out about your writing progress.
Instead, have a hook or a spin to your blog. Is your book a Scottish Highland romance? Then, maybe your blog hosts some really fabulous in-depth information about Scottish clans and their histories! Also, at all costs, avoid blogging anything negative about your submission process (i.e., "so-and-so agent was SOOO rude" = oops.) This business is too small and interrelated to risk a blog entry like this - even if it was true.
3) Consider other social networking sites, but if you do — make them professional! My husband is a musician and he has had tremendous success with marketing through Facebook, Twitter, Myspace and youtube.com. So, check them out and see if they are right for you and if you have time to keep them up-to-date. If you go this route though, remember that agents and editors will probably take a look — so nix the drunken bikini shots from your last beach vacation. It’s a bummer, I know, to lose that kind of privacy and freedom. And, it’s just my opinion, but if you treat all these things like your resume instead of like your personal photo album, it’s a stronger professional representation of who you are.
4) Check out what other successful authors are doing. If all this information feels overwhelming, spend a few afternoons seeing what other people do, what kinds of information they post, what kinds of pictures, what kinds of questions they answer and what kinds of “spins” or “hooks” they use. Two great places to start — http://www.allycarter.com/ and http://www.sarahreesbrennan.com/.
Permission to post, by Sara Megibow
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