Which Comes First
- By: Jessica Faust | Date: Aug 05 2010
This came from the comments on a previous post . . .
There has been contradicting advice on agents’ blogs these days about what should come first: the book deal or the website? A web presence before being published, or create a website after you’ve sold? Any takers on this debate?
Frankly, I don’t think it really matters. Sometimes it’s nice for agents to be able to check you out and see if you have writing posted somewhere, especially if you are an author who’s winning a lot of awards or getting a lot of attention. Sometimes agents will check you out before you even query.
You need a website well before your first book is published. You don’t need a website before that.
Something else to consider: If you've been using one name for your blog or web site or Tweets, and decide to go with a pen name, switching from one to the other can get a little confusing!
I'm this question was addressed, because I've been wondering that myself. Thanks!
And Taryn: Good point!
I'm thinking of setting up a website which claims I am a published writer with a contract with a huge publishing house. Then the said publishing house might be fooled and pay me loads of money/publish my book. I realise it would have to be a good website.
Every author seems to tackle this issue with their own unique approach, too. It's interesting to watch.
This is very timely in my case – I've had a website under development for some time, wanting to get it just right, and had thought I would wait until after finding an agent to light it up publicly. Good to know that's a viable choice.
I Googled my pen name before I decided on it. There are very few Catherine Bybees out there!
I've read a few interviews with editors that said web presence is something they consider when reading submissions.
But overall, it's the writing that's important. If the writing doesn't move them, the rest of it doesn't matter anyway.
I didn't put up a website until I had a sale. Granted, it wasn't a huge sale, my first was to Alien Skin Magazine and then to Dark Realms Magazine. But it was something. *g*
I started a blog about ten months ago. That is three months longer than finding agent's blogs and so many other interesting web sites.
It has come in small steps, learning who is who and if they are interesting and can teach me valuable lessons before I make mistakes that might cost me more time.
The good thing about the blog is that I began writing it for my own personal pleasure, as I write "period" for my own pleasure.
I am glad in a way I knew nothing about BookEnds or other agents, that I knew less about sites like Joe Konrath and so many other sites warning me of the long, hard, impossible struggle to become traditionally published.
Back to your original question … Which comes first?
Stop worrying. It's like the first kiss. Giggle and enjoy yourself.
Then go out into cyber space and meet folks like Chuck Sambuchino, Rachelle Gardner, other published or wanna-be published authors, agents and publishers, and have fun!
Loving what you do is not always a guarantee of success, but it is a good place to start.
Curious? Visit me then:
I think it is important for a professional technical writer (which is what I am) to have a LinkedIn profile.
There's no harm in designing and planning your website whenever you're ready to start thinking about it, but website hosting costs money! If you already know what name you want to write under, you can register that domain (MyName dot com) for $10-$15/year and you don't have to put up an actual site yet. Then when you're ready to shell out $10/month on it, you can have a domain and a website design all ready to go.
Keep in mind, though, that some publishers may ask you to change your pen name ("Nora Robert" might be too close for comfort!) and if you've poured a ton of time and effort into your Nora Robert website, you're stuck.
Blogs are nice – and can be free – but they do take time and creative energy. If you're not published yet, you're probably better off to focus on your writing!
I hope that you're joking; I imagine that any dishonesty on such a grand scale may leave a very bitter taste on the tongues of agents, editors, and publishers.