1. marcusl
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    marcusl Member

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    Blogging about your novel

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by marcusl, Dec 20, 2009.

    I've heard that many authors blog about novels they're working on for marketing purposes. I'm wondering if that's an effective way of promoting your book. How would potential readers stumble upon your blog in the first place?

    Also, if you post things like character profiles, would it hurt your chance of getting published? Would they claim that a part of your book has already been published online?

    Thanks.
     
  2. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    I woukdn't blog about a novel that hasn't yet been sold to a publisher. Putting it bluntly, if it doesn't sell, what do you gain by advertising your failures?

    As for character profiles, if I saw anything like that posted on a blog promoting a novel, it would simply scream "amateur!" to me. An author spends an entire book developing a character, and then sums him or her up in a couple paragraphs to promote the novel? It just makes no sense, at least not to me.
     
  3. ManhattanMss
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    ManhattanMss Contributing Member

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    I know one author of a book-in-progress (not a novel, though) who does readings from a work-in-progress in various places (libraries, organizations, book stores, etc.), which I think is very interesting and piques curiosity (it has mine). She uses every professional opportunity to make that connection. From the consumer end, I'd say that's pretty effective. If your novel is related to something in particular that you have (or can contrive) some connection to, maybe you could do something similar.

    As to the blog part, I think the promotion of what it's about is less intriguing (to me) as a blog topic than the process itself. Plus, I think premature promotion has some downsides. I have a feeling that if I read all about it only to find that, not only was it not yet published, it didn't even yet have a publisher, I'd forget about it and/or lose interest before it got that far along. Could be just me and my feeling that if it's not yet got a publisher, well, how do I know it's anything, really (I've felt that way about the "forthcoming book" I mention above). I've also found in various businesses I've owned or been part of that timing of interest needs to be pretty closely associated with delivering the goods, if you're not to lose the interest you've gone to the trouble to stir up. Of course, if you've already published something else, you can always (and probably should) ride the coattails of that, too, in some way.

    I'd suggest you use your blog to fiddle with interesting, well-written, maybe humorous essays about the process of writing and finishing and getting an agent--or even completely unrelated topics of interest, but use any-of-the-above to let folks know--even incidentally--where in the process of publishing your novel you actually are. Then, once you have a publisher (but I wouldn't do it until), go all out with whatever your publisher agrees to (and I'm sure they'll be thrilled to know you've already got a following of some kind).

    At that stage of the game (just by way of suggestions), what I'd do is to make business cards with my name, "Author of TITLE (forthcoming novel)," and website address. In addition to conventional business cards (which I'd print myself and hand out liberally), I'd put an e-card into my signature line for any internet-related communications. You have to DRIVE business to a website or blogspot. It's not likely to happen effectively or as successfully otherwise. But I will say that I'm often intrigued by writers and artists who do something comparable with marketing devices where they simply present themselves as whatever they are and point me to their creative endeavors--intrigued enough to go see what they've got to show for themselves.

    I don't think a blog about your characters or your storyline idea would be any more effective than discussions we have here about similar aspects of novels people are planning to write. Until you can connect that to the actual "forthcomingness" of the novel itself, I'd simply cultivate the farm and plant seeds.;)

    Good luck!
     
  4. bluebell80
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    bluebell80 Contributing Member

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    My newest favorite novel started out as a blog. John Dies At The End by David Wong, started out as a blog by the author under a psuedonym David Wong. It started out as a chapter here and then, then turned into an entire novel length, then after five years and several revisions, his novel was picked up by a publisher and removed from the internet (well mostly removed, there are still some older versions floating around out there.) I read the internet version and purchased the hard back book when it came out and just finished reading it. It worked for him to do it that way. The author...Jason something, also is the editor of cracked.com website.

    There are some people who are writing for passion, not for fame or even publication that choose to write their work as blogs, or internet version earning some money from ads on their webpages by views. Some end up with a cult following and end up published in the end, others just continue to write for the fun of it.

    Just blogging about a novel that you are working on that you intend to publish, might not be advisable, unless you have already finished the first draft of it. I wouldn't start blogging about it until you have a finished piece, because the disappointment to any fans you get by not finishing may harm you in the end.

    Another author who is already published several books, (Dirty Girls Social Club/Playing with Boys) has been blogging her current first draft of her new book on her website. But, then again she is already published.

    I, personally, wouldn't blog about a novel I'm writing. To me that would be like jinxing it. I would wait until I start on the journey of finding an agent and publisher, then start blogging about that experience, and little tid bits about the book. I might try blogging a story, but that is one thing I haven't tried, yet.
     
  5. marcusl
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    marcusl Member

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    Thank you for your helpful responses.

    I'm actually thinking of keeping a blog largely out of interest. If it's just a blog for my friends to read, and I make no effort to promote it until the book has been accepted by a publisher, I wonder if that would be acceptable? It means that when potential customers do visit your blog, it'll have posts that are possibly a year old or more.

    I was going to play with things like interviewing my characters, etc, and post it on the blog.

    Cheers.
     
  6. marina
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    marina Contributing Member Contributor

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    "just for my friends to read"

    ^ I'm sure Stephenie Meyer wishes she didn't let her friends read Midnight Sun. One of them ended up leaking her unfinished draft on the internet.
     
  7. TWErvin2
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    TWErvin2 Contributing Member Contributor

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    Beyond what others have indicted, remember, there are thousands (okay, maybe tens of thousands, maybe more) of writers and aspiring writers out there with blogs.

    What will set yours apart? Not having a novel or other works to link to, discuss, promote, describe the experience of writing and finding a publisher, etc...

    Other than your circle of friends, who would go there and what would keep them returning? You could write about your writing adventure and some bits of the project and experience along the way: Here is an example of one writer I know who is doing this: Footsteps of a Writer. That may give you some ideas.

    I have a blog: Up Around the Corner. I discuss some things about my novel there, events related to my novel, and some things that I personally find interesting and comment on. I do get some steady visits, with unique visitors that spike on occasion and a few returning, but nothing to write home about. Certainly nothing even close to John Scalzi's blog Whatever.

    I'd suggest visiting other author websites/blogs and see what they do. Then think about what you'd like to do. Just remember, the time you spend blogging is time spent away from writing your novel.

    Good luck,

    Terry
     
  8. ManhattanMss
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    ManhattanMss Contributing Member

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    Now that's kind of interesting. Make sure you do it well. And, if you can do that really well and make it compelling, I wouldn't waste it on preliminary marketing. I'd hold it for the real enchilada. Just sayin';).
     
  9. marcusl
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    marcusl Member

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    Thanks again for your answers.

    Of course, like TWErvin2 said, any time spent blogging is time away from writing. I'll be disciplined, though.
     

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