We started this blog thinking we could do an official Question of the Month, answering readers’ questions. But we get so many great questions that one a month doesn’t seem like enough. Instead we’re going to dissolve that idea entirely and simply try to answer reader questions whenever we get a chance. To have your question considered, please feel free to ask it in the comments section below and we’ll get to it as soon as possible.
In an earlier post you mentioned PR for published authors. How important do you think PR is for the unpubbed writer? Specifically, do you think there’s value in having a Web site or a blog before you’re published? Have you ever taken on a client because of something you read on their Web site or blog? Have any of the editors you submit to ever mentioned that a Web site or blog has influenced their buy decision?
In all honesty, I don’t think PR is necessary at all for the unpubbed fiction writer. A Web site or blog is great if you build an audience who will later buy your published works, but if you’re unpublished there’s not much there for us to really care or worry about. If an author has a Web site I’ll sometimes go just to check it out, and if she’s clearly active with her writing—contests, e-books, reviews—that might help sway me. But all of that information should be in the letter anyway.
The only thing that’s going to convince an editor or agent to make an offer is the writing itself (and the story, of course).
Now for non-narrative nonfiction it’s a different ball game. Selling your book is going to be based at least 60 percent on who you are. Therefore, having a successful and active Web site can make a huge difference.