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Friday, October 2, 2009

Putting All Our Shoes Out There...

...might not be a good thing. I recently read an agent interview (don't remember which one, of course) in which the agent said that when she visits a potential client's blog, she specifically looks to see how much of the manuscript the writer has already made public by posting it on their on blog. She went on to say that bits and pieces are okay but not entire chapters. I've never been one to post samples of my writing on my blog, but I know many who do so successfully without giving too much away. I don't know what this particular agent considers bits and pieces, but I do know that it is something we all need to think about. We have to find that balance between enticing readers with sneak peeks and giving away too many details. My blogger friend, Robyn Campbell, asked a question yesterday about whether or not posting a pitch line on her blog for feedback was acceptable. My not so expert opinion is yes, it's okay. My gut feeling on this issue is that if something doesn't give away more detail than the blurb on the back of a book cover would, go for it. Again, I'm no expert, so I'd love to hear your opinion. How much is too much? And it's Friday, which means Silver Shoe of Sincerity Award time. Frankly, though, I can't keep narrowing it down to just one person. You are all such incredibly kind and sincere bloggers. I have to wonder why I ever subjected myself to having to make this weekly decision. That being said, and in honor of my 100th post (just keeping the celebration going here), a Silver Shoe Award for everyone! Feel free to pass it on now or to wait until someone truly touches you as being kind and sincere in the blogosphere. Or, don't pass it along at all. It's entirely up to you. You are all the greatest. Have a great weekend!

49 comments:

MeganRebekah said...

I always go back and forth on posting teasers. I love reading other people's teasers because it gives me so much insight into their writing style and their book.
Overall, I stopped doing it myself. Except today I posted a true teaser. It's not even a complete scene, just some dialogue. I can't see an agent or editor being put off by that small amount.

FictionGroupie said...

I've only posted a very small snippet once or twice. After doing it, I realized I'd rather keep thing under wraps. I think a line here or there is not big deal, but I agree chapters are too much.

Diane said...

Good thoughts on not putting it all out there. "Why buy the cow" mentality..... :O)

Wendy @ All in a Day's Thought said...

Susan,
Jody Hedlund posted something the other day about her publishing company contract asking her not to post more than 1,000 words. Thought that was interesting and applied to this post.
~ Wendy

Patti said...

I've read that on a few agents blogs, that posting a lot on line is not a good thing to do, although I do like to read what other people are writing.

Strange Fiction said...

I can't see a problem with posting snippets and small teasers. After all, isn't the writer expected to be the main marketing machine when the books hit the shelves. There has to be some content info put out there to generate interest.

Solvang Sherrie said...

Life is all about balance, huh? Wish I had more!

Rae said...

I have often wondered about that. I have read excepts that have been posted and thought it might be a questionable practice to post it. Something to consider for the future.

Jeannie Campbell, LMFT said...

100 posts! awesome. :) i left you a blog award at my blog today....enjoy it AND your weekend!

jeannie
Where Romance Meets Therapy

Karen said...

It took a LOT for me to get up the nerve to post an extract for my novel this week, but I made sure to keep it to under 1000 words and to only show a part that gave away absolutely nothing about the details.

It was fun hearing feedback from my blog readers and getting the response that they want more. That was exactly what I was hoping for!

Beth said...

I think a little snip here and there is perfectly acceptable. Just enough to pique people's interest, right? I even think it's especially smart because it seems publishers are all about authors who can do the whole "self promotion" thing. If you get enough people intrigued by your MS, then hopefully the more people who will buy your book!

Have a great weekend!

Janna Qualman said...

Yay for silver shoes! :)

Very interesting question! I'm like you, I feel one shouldn't give too much away. But I also feel like one's blog - when they're a writer - should display their written voice. (Will be doing a post about this soon, in fact.) I suppose it comes down to finding your own happy medium with it.

Tamika: said...

Susan, I'm actually too shy to post any of my material this early in the game. It's good to know what's considered profeesional and fitting for my writing journey with potential agents.

I loved your post picture!
Blessings to you...

Stephanie Faris said...

I do have one of my manuscripts online, entered in a contest to win a publishing contract from a major publisher. But I never post my work on my blog. I've had my blog stolen before...found it being posted elsewhere with someone else taking credit for writing it. Plus, most of us aren't here to read each other's fiction. Those aren't the blogs I read, anyway.

L. T. Host said...

This is a toughy. On one hand, I LOVE feedback, and can always use more. On the other, I don't want to give it up too soon and take the chance. So I've decided to keep it to myself. But it's hard... I so desperately want to share and ask what everyone thinks of certain sections that bug me, or that I'm not sure about. Alas, alack, alay, such is the writer's online life.

Jill Kemerer said...

I don't like to share my work with anyone other than my trusted critique partners. It's anxiety inducing to me!

Have a great weekend!

Dawn VanderMeer said...

I'm on the conservative side with this one. I've heard warnings about posting too much as well. I'm guessing a blurb is fine--like the one sentence pitch. I, too, thought of Jody Hedlund's post. If people haven't read it, it's worth checking out.

Great post, Susan, and the model in the pic is so beautiful.

Jody Hedlund said...

I'll just repeat what Wendy said above. But even then, if I was unpublished, I don't think I'd publish ANY. I never have and I really see no need for it before you're published. Afterward, then it can act as a way to help promote a specific book. But otherwise, what would be the purpose?

Jungle Mom said...

I have this problem. My blog readers want jungle stories. but I cant put it all out there!

Eileen Astels Watson said...

I agree about sticking to the back cover blurb, and maybe the first chapter even as being safe. I didn't realize people posted more than that on their blogs.

strugglingwriter said...

I've posted some stuff, just to get some feedback. I would never post something entirely if I wanted to sell it somewhere.

I might post an entire chapter, such as a Chapter 1, but never more than that.

Girl in My Own World said...

I agree with this to the fullest because I don't really like to talk about my work at all anymore. I could see how an agent would view this as a not so good thing because it is kind of like giving the book away and with it being so easy to just click copy on a blog... people can steal your work. I thought of posting fiction to my blog, actually making a short fiction blog, but I decided against it partly for fear that it may get stolen. I don't know. That is just me. The covert writer. lol! :o)
P.S. Love the pic for the post! Very cute! Thanks for the award... how do I take it. Just copy/paste?

Lily said...

OK, now you've gotten lazy with the silver shoe... LOL.

Yes, I would think bits and pieces would help to promote the book, growing an audience. Like you said, as long as it tells no more than the jacket...

Dominique said...

I'm sort of with Diane about the teasers. Why buy the cow...

Besides, I don't know how I'd feel about posting what I've written online where just anyone could see it. It's just not ready.

Heather Sunseri said...

I'm afraid I can't add much to this discussion other than I'm not a fan of posting anything about my book other than the general genre it falls into, and I'm not sure I've been very clear on that.

Heather Sunseri said...

Oh, and have an awesome weekend!!!

Faith said...

Hmm... well, I don't see anything wrong with posting a plot synopsis and maybe a general review of where you're at in the manuscript now and again, but I'd be afraid to post much more than that! I'd want to reveal just enough to make people want to run out and buy the book :)

Girl Meets Gun said...

It's funny you bring this up, because I've been thinking about posting my synopsis to see if it catches anyone's eye. Now I know how some people feel about it! Makes it easier to decide.

I think it is perfectly fine to post small parts of your work online, so long as it doesn't give away big plot twists or ruin the surprise of the novel. I'm all for looking for some critiquing. I guess it depends on the author posting it.

If you feel it is alright to do so, then the agent you are potentially querying should feel the same. So long as it doesn't hurt your chances. :)

And how sweet, giving all of us the Silver Shoe Award! :D

Angie Muresan said...

Gorgeous photo! I would love an off white sofa... Too bad my kids are still too young to remember not to wipe hands on every available surface.
I tend to agree with all those who do not post their work on their blog. A little teaser here and there is fine. But no more. That mystery makes us all the more intriguing.

storyqueen said...

I don't post bits, but only because I'm chicken. I love to read about other people's projects, but I think my skin is a bit thin...what if I loooove a project and other people just don't get it?

It will make me sad.

Amy Tate said...

I've heard negatives about this as well. Why would a publisher want to publish something that is already offered for free? We need to be careful.

staceyjwarner said...

Thanks for the silver shoe! Interesting post! The book I'm writing is based on the three months of my blog and what happened to me two years ago. As you know I deleted my blog, which I now think was a good thing (and possibly a sign)...I know an agent wouldn't want to sell what is already out there for free (even if its rewritten).

much love

Robyn Campbell said...

How nice to award the Silver Shoe award to all your bloggy buds. I have decided to maybe post a few excerpts...maybe. Thanks Susan. Wonderful posts. :)

Tracy said...

Yeah, I don't post much of my stuff on my blog. I think I only put up a little blurb, and a couple of paragraphs that I wanted feedback on to see if I should add to queries (which I did, and which got me some more requests almost instantly). Sometimes you need a little help from your cyber friends :)

Tabitha Bird said...

I think it s so important to think about how much of your work we 'publish' by posting it on our blog. I don't put any of mine up on my blog for this and other reasons, namely my memoir is very raw and not the kind of thing everyone would want to read.

Lori said...

I did post a bit of the books I am working on. But not more than three or so pages. I don't know if they seem enticing or not (most probably not) but I think I have to give a feel of what I'm writing.

Nevine said...

I post short stories and other snippets of poetry and such on my blog. It's really the reason I have it out there. I'm working on a novella, but that's never put out. It's not something I think I ought to be sharing, and if I do, I will probably just put out a paragraph or two. I write the short stories and share them because I love that genre of writing, and it allows me to get feedback on my writing style from other bloggers, most of whom also write.

K. M. Walton said...

I think I fall somewhere in the middle. I share cautiously and not too often. I've put my query up on Absolute Write though, for feedback.

La Fleur said...

Wow, great comments out there! For me, I started my blog to post a few chapters of my novel. Now I am beginning to wonder if that was a wise decision. Recently, I have been considering taking them down (I rarely have the opportunity to update them). I believe that it may be a wise decision to do so, after reading your post. Thank you!!!

Cammie said...

Ok, I'm going to sound very naive, but do agents actively troll aspiring writers' blogs?! I've got an agent lined up to read my novel once it's revised, and I was debating whether or not I should let him know I was blogging about the revision process. My old-school instincts lead me to believe that the very act of blogging might make me seem unprofessional, but perhaps I've got it all wrong ... hey, does anyone out there have a blog on the etiquette and social ramifications of blogging (as a "writer")? ;-)

Carolyn V. said...

I love the picture too!

I've read a few writers who have posted complete chapters. Some have gotten good feedback, but others haven't. I don't know if I would want to do that. A little too scary for my taste. =)

Kathryn Magendie said...

I sometimes post short exerpts, but never full chapters. I never ask for feedback on my blog, though. If I want to do that, I find 'readers' after I have the entire novel written! :)

Amy De Trempe said...

I think it is great to give teasers, but not entire chapters.

Suzanne said...

Lazy: You are a good Blogger pal!

Nancy said...

I'm considering, in fact I'm planning to do a whole children's novel on my blog. It's just something I have wanted to do for a long time. If that means that I can't market it, well then I have others ready to go. I can see your point about a current novel,though.

WhisperingWriter said...

If I ever do post bits of my novel, it's about a paragraph or two. Nothing more than that because I don't ever assume that everyone wants to even read my novel. Sometimes when people post entire chapters I don't even bother reading that entry.

#167 Dad said...

I do post short exerpts rather than complete chapters. This has nothing to do with giving away too much. I'm just happy to have people reading my stuff. It's just that very few people who stop by my blog are willing to read an entire chapter.
I've given up on the agents - for now. I'm hanging my head in shame and getting started with the self publishing process.

Susan Berlien (warmchocmilk) said...

Interesting I never thought about it before. I want to be a writer some day too. My posts can get long. THanks for the info.

P.S. I'm following you. :)

Robyn Campbell said...

Susan, I came back to get my Silver Shoe. :) I realized I forgot to mention thanks for posting my question the other day. And I've decided to NOT post anything from my story. I am taking your advice about my pitch though. As long as I didn't give away anything and I didn't. Thanks my blogger buddy. :)