5.23.2006

You honest to dog do not need credentials to sell a novel, I swear

More than a year ago I queried agents about representing a novel dealing with stuttering. I got some partial reads and some suggestions, but no takers. In addition to continuing to work on the novel, I also started a blog for persons who stutter. After a slow start, the blog traffic has picked up substantially, thanks mainly to some mentions in speech therapy publications. The blog is in the Miss Snark format -- readers ask and I answer. (While my passion matches Miss Snark, my wit certainly does not.)

Question: Would the blog help validate me in anyway? Should I mention it in my next round of queries?



Validate you how? That you have tons of readers? I think editors are looking for pretty serious numbers of hits for that. I asked the cigar smoking Beatrice about this once, and he mentioned even his hits weren't considered all that great (and he was pretty much THE blog about books at the time).


Validate you for content? This is a novel. Your writing has to stand on its own.

Validate you for being witty and charming? Perhaps, but man oh man, you better make sure your shoes are polished and your mohawk is freshly purple and pointed if you're inviting guests to drop by any hour of the day.

I don't think it's nitwittery to mention you keep a blog, but I also don't think it's a big selling point either unless you're getting those gazillion hits mentioned above.

4 comments:

jude calvert-toulmin said...

> Validate you for content? This is a novel. Your writing has to stand on its own.

I agree. A good blog is one thing, but a novel is a whole different ball game. My own blog is absolutely nothing like the novel I'm writing, which is far darker and written with an entirely different writing voice.

Correct me if I'm wrong, Miss Snark, but I would have thought that running a popular consultancy or technical blog may help someone get NF published in a related genre.

Mark Pritchard said...

Of course, it's not unheard of for a blogger to get a book deal or even a movie deal based on the blog. But that's usually not for a novel -- The Washingtonienne and Wonkette's novels notwithstanding.

But yeah -- just worry about how good your book is.

Mark said...

A blog is a blog and a novel stands on its own merit like any book. Blogs are still vanity presses.

Douglas Cootey said...

I disagree, Mark. Blogs CAN be vanity presses, but a successful blog has a community around it. It generates discussion and debate, something vanity press generally doesn't do.

I've worked hard on my blog and brought it into the bottom of the B list (with a shining but fleeting moment as a Blogger.com Blog of Note) with regular readers and links all over the web. Despite all those efforts comments have tapered off recently. The internet reader is a fickle one. Even when I had 4000 hits a day as a Blog of Note, however, I wouldn't have considered myself an A-lister. That requires a momentum that takes on a life of its own - something Miss Snark referred to as "getting those gazillion hits."

Using my own blog as an example, unless I was getting those gazillion hits and being quoted in Time magazine, what editor would care? Honestly, does anybody outside my niche subject care about my blog? No, and I don't foresee being blessed by another Blog Fairy anytime soon. So I'll just use my blog to hone my writing and serve the tiny community I've created. The author of the letter should probably do the same.

~Douglas
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The Splintered Mind - Overcoming Neurological Disabilities With Lots Of Humor And Attitude