1. DimeADozenKid
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    DimeADozenKid Member

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    Promoting Before Publishing

    Discussion in 'Publishing' started by DimeADozenKid, Apr 16, 2009.

    Is there any harm in promoting a novel before an agent accepts it?

    I hadn't considered it until today. When I think of writers promoting unpublished material (or material they hope to get published), it strikes me as amateur and desperate.

    Yet, I've seen on more than one website that a few authors have had success with starting a blog about their first novel. They've posted a chapter or two (not enough content that it would affect future copyright), and info about their book and themselves. I think some even self-published and sold copies through their blog.

    Then, in their query letters, they could possibly write "TITLE OF MY NOVEL has achieved internet popularity on my website: www.mywebsite.com"

    Is this tacky, or does this actually work? I'm well aware that it's important for the author to promote his/her book after it is published, or during the publishing process, but what about before?

    Thanks,

    -Kid
     
  2. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    If you PUBLISH your novel on the Internet, most publishers won't touch it. Why would anyone buy it if it's available for free?

    By posting your novel, you are throwing away first publication rights.

    As for merely discussing your upcoming novel, I'd still recommend waiting until it's sold. Don't count your chickens, etc.
     
  3. TWErvin2
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    TWErvin2 Contributing Member Contributor

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    It would be difficult to indicate/define 'internet popularity'. If you post only two chapters of a novel, but claim to have that 'popularity' it may mislead an editor skimming your cover letter.

    There is nothing wrong with posting some information about your novel(s) in progress or completed and out on submission on your website/blog, but promoting something that hasn't (and may never) been published, I don't think will work too well.

    If your novel is accepted by a publisher, it's going to be about a year or more before it is actually published (available on bookstore shelves). Note: with some e-publishers and smaller publishers it may be shorter--six to nine months for example. In any case, there will be time to market then, in conjunction with your publisher's efforts.

    To give you an example of what I am talking about on a website/blog, for what it's worth, I have a page on my website that tells a little about my completed novels: ervin-author.com Novels

    I think better marketing for upcoming novels would be other works that you have completed and had published: articles, short stories, poems, interviews, etc.

    Just my two cents on the topic.

    Good luck.

    Terry
     
  4. DimeADozenKid
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    DimeADozenKid Member

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    Thanks so much for this advice! The information I read on the internet today about this was pretty misleading.

    - Kid
     
  5. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    it's called 'building a buzz'... and whether it works or not, depends in part on how you go about it... from what i see, the technique actually works better for non-fiction, than for fiction...

    when done for known writers, they already have a publisher on board and it's only meant to stir up interest among book buyers... to do it as a new writer, before you even have an agent, much less a publisher, may not be such a good idea, because first of all, if you do get a publisher, the title may well be changed...

    plus, it may take you a year or more to snag an agent, then another year or more to hook a publisher [if you ever do accomplish either], so to be touting a book that isn't available that long makes you seem like a loser... in addition, it takes an average of one and a half to two years after a publishing contract is signed, for a ms to make it into book form on bookstore shelves, with the majority of publishers, though some smaller ones can do it faster, since the advent of pod...

    add to that, the fact that by promoting your book before it's sold can be a serious roadblock in getting an agent or publisher, because if, as is most likely, you try for months and even years to get an agent or publisher, that shows how long you've been unsuccessful, making your book seem to be not good enough to make it...

    this is all just off the top of my head, knowing what i do about the publishing industry as a whole... but 'the times they are a-changing' and anything's possible...
     
  6. NaCl
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    NaCl Contributing Member Contributor

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    John Kremer is the author of 1001 Ways to Market Your Books. One of the very first warnings he offers is NOT to promote or build excitement about your book until AFTER it is IN distribution. Why? He says that studies have shown most book purchases are impulse buys. After the initial excitement has worn off following a special trip to the bookstore where they find out the book is not yet available, buyers won't make a second trip to the bookstore just to get your book. (This is for the typical author...not big name books like the Harry Potter series) So, if you start a premature marketing campaign (which I did!) and people can't find your book in the stores, then you lose both a new fan and all the referrals that fan might have brought you. He was right. I made that mistake and people did exactly what he said they would do. As soon as I read his advice, I suspended my sales efforts and concentrated on getting my book into Barnes & Noble. The first B&N shipment happened in March and sold out. A second shipment was sent last week so I am now getting ready to begin a nationwide campaign to promote the book.

    So in answer to your question, yes, there is commercial harm in promoting your book before an agent has accepted it.
     
  7. DimeADozenKid
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    DimeADozenKid Member

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    Wow! Thank you so much for these honest answers. This is just what I needed to know. :D
     
  8. grnidone
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    grnidone Member

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    Well....I think I vary from everyone else on this forum.

    Miss Snark's site says that, as a buyer of new manuscripts, she often looks for people who have a web site with a good following because there is already an audience to sell that manuscript to. So, she suggests building a site and building a following as a writer.
     
  9. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    So build a site and fill it with works you have no intention of publishing, and promote any works of yours you have already published. But for all the reasons mentioned previously in the thread, hold off on promoting books that are not currently available for purchase.
     
  10. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    when did she become a publisher?... agents do not 'buy' mss...
     
  11. grnidone
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    grnidone Member

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    I think that is old school advice.

    John Scalzi got book offers on a book that he published on the internet because he had so much of a buzz around it. Yes, they actually published the book that he self-published on the internet. (Sure, they told him to take it off his site after it was published, but still..)

    <youtube link removed><added back minus link> www*youtube*com/watch?v=oZN6GA4JsOs

    The thing with publishing a novel on the internet is that you can show hard numbers for how many times that book was downloaded. Hard numbers will make any agent/ publisher take notice of you, possibly for this book, and definitely for the next one. And, for the next one, you've got an audience already established that *wants* to read your next book. (Provided that this one is good.)

    My point: I think, the rules are changing. This article here:

    http://nymag.com/news/media/50279/

    talks about how the Kindle could very well change publishing as we know it.

    Internet Marketing, because it is so cheap could very well be the way that people find new books in the future. I think the Kindle could be the way new authors are discovered, much the way iTunes and Internet radio allows new bands to sell their songs to a wider audience. It actually gives me hope that maybe I can become a published author much easier than many others have in the past.

    mammamaia, don't snap my head off. I've done nothing to you. We can agree to disagree.
     
  12. TWErvin2
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    TWErvin2 Contributing Member Contributor

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    How many novels have been published via the route taken by Scalzi's Old Man's War? What other kind of writing experience and ways of drawing in readers did he have (beyond the novel postings)?

    In general publishers remain hesitant to consider self-published works (online or otherwise), as opposed to unpublished pieces. Can it work, yes. Will it work?...It's a decision each writer has to make.

    There is one publisher who accepts works for print publication that have been published online, that I know of (Gryphonwood Press). There may be more, but none that I've come across.

    Terry
     
  13. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Mammamaia's point was valid, not biting your head off. Miss Snark was an agent, not a publisher (and a rather ascerbic one at that). Miss Snark's credibiliy is less than stellar.

    You are, of course, entitled to your opinion. Others are entitled to theirs.
     
  14. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    thanks, cog!... i was just getting ready to respond similarly, will instead let your words speak for me...
     
  15. grnidone
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    I am frustrated that my last post was deleted. I asked a question which, I believe was pertinent to the conversation. Therefore, I will ask it again.

    Why? I have read her site, and at least in theory, her advice seems sound. OK, so she's not a publisher, but if she is an agent who has to sell an author's work to publishers, it would seem that she would know what they want. If she doesn't know what they want, she makes no money.

    Are you saying that her advice is not good?
     
  16. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    What I said was that her credibility is not stellar. She has a reputation for going against the tide, and of being harsh for the sake of entertainment - sort of a literary Simon Cowell.

    That doesn't mean her opinions are useless, but they aren't gospel either.
     
  17. grnidone
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    grnidone Member

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    Interesting. I never thought her advice was "harsh". I thought it was refreshingly honest. (Actually, I don't think Simon is harsh either, but then, I dislike sugarcoating of any kind.) I'd much rather have a brutally honest opinion than to have anything sugarcoated.

    But maybe I'm different than most people in that regard.
     
  18. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    There's a difference between being honest and being brutal, and there are those ho delibeartely blur that line. You can be very frank and turn the MS crimson with comments without being vicious.

    I;ve said all I plan to about Miss Snark. She is one agent with opinions that don't always correlate with the of other literary notables. Trust in her if you wish, or take her advice with a grain of salt. Hell, take ANY single source with a grain of salt, or an entire salt lick.
     
  19. starseed
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    starseed Contributing Member

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    This is interesting, thanks!
     
  20. marina
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    marina Contributing Member Contributor

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    The Scalzi book was Agent to the Stars. He ended up making $4000 off of voluntary contributions from readers who downloaded it. Pretty interesting stuff.

    ---

    I wonder if book videos are something that would be useful for promoting a book pre-publishing. If you made a really fun, cool video, then posted it on Youtube, that could be some excellent marketing right there. And then based on the # of views & comments given, then you maybe could use that (assuming the numbers of views and comments are really good) when you send your book to agents or publishers. Kind of like what happened with Esme, a teenage singer who got signed by Justin Timberlake based on her popularity on Youtube. (Just spitballing here. :cool:)
     
  21. Emmy
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    Wow - I have nothing to add, but all of this is incredibly interesting to consider for a first timer like myself.

    And NaCl - kudos to you, no kidding. I hope your tour is awesome!
     
  22. starseed
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    starseed Contributing Member

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    Youtube is so cool. I love how we all have this equal opportunity to put ourselves out there, say and do what we want, and maybe become famous for it.
     

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