10.17.2006

blog prowling

Do literary agents ever prowl around blogs searching for gifted writers?


no

41 comments:

Snail said...

Damn!

Lorra said...

Only Xlibris does that - yuck!

Nick said...

Only the incompetent ones.

-Nick

p.n. Elrod said...

Bwah-ha-ha-ha!

As my friend Rachel Caine says, "Posting your novel (or blog) on the 'Net in the hopes that a big-time editor (or agent) will see it is like writing the perfect resume and then tacking it to the front door of your house, hoping your future boss will walk by."

Ain't gonna happen, kids.

Go through the proper channels.

~Nancy said...

Legit agents are inundated with queries, etc. - why would they need to prowl the Net when the Next Great Writer might be in among those queries?

~JerseyGirl

Kanani said...

Obviously, Miss Snark is doesn't have time to do that. How can she, when she's always gone?

Anonymous said...

On the other hand, writers have been known to prowl around the blogs of gifted literary agents...

HawkOwl said...

Do agents ever accidentally find the blogs of gifted writers and think "hey, this guy is a gifterd writer?" And then click "Next Blog" and forget about it?

Misty said...

...like writing the perfect resume and then tacking it to the front door of your house, hoping your future boss will walk by."

I had an unmarried friend who used to come home from work, plant himself in front of his Playstation and complain constantly about how hard it was to meet nice women.

*grin*

I imagine the women he wasn't meeting were almost as relieved as the agents who are being spared some of the bloggers' writing.

Anonymous said...

Actually, TL Hines got a contract for Raising Lazarus because an editor read the first chapter of it on his blog. Lightning strikes just often enough to keep the rest of us hoping that if we do something like that, it will work out.

Anonymous said...

Didn't Jenny Rappaport visit the Crapometer and express interest in a writer?

Bonnie Calhoun said...

And a side note on TLHines. He is the marketing guru who founded the Christian Fiction Blog Alliance...and Waking Lazarus has gone into its second printing!

Kim Stagliano said...

Say it ain't so! After all, that's what the guy who sold me my blog name for $5,000 (cash, hand delivered at a gas station on The Merritt) told me!

KS

Eric said...

Well I made a website for such and took it a step further...as said website explains. I've gotten some flak and some praise for the idea.

It was just something I decided to do last year when I made the choice to focus on finishing the latest novel instead of queries. The idea is to have a little hooked worm dangling in the stream while I put the final touches on my fishing boat.

In six months or so I'll get back to regular queries...until then....

Kristi said...

I'll have you know that literary agents, SNL writers, modeling scouts and Hollywood representation are on my blog as we speak.

Blogging=super-stardom in my book. My unwritten, unpublished book.

Anonymous said...

It apparently happens about once in a million - just enough to keep the rumor alive. There's a young fellow named Scott Lynch on LJ who was found just that way, and he landed a 3-book deal with a UK publisher, with more stuff in the works.

BUT ... some people also win the umpty-million dollar lottery, and it damned sure ain't me or anybody I know. I would count it miracle enough if I get picked up by going through proper channels! ;-)
Cheers ~

G. Atwater

NitWitness said...

The word 'no' is rather subjective for interpretation, Miss Snark. Could you be more specific? ;)

Anonymous said...

In the early days of the internet, Diana Gabaldon posted part of OUTLANDER, and the rest was history.

Wouldn't happen now.

skybluepinkrose said...

Exactly. No.

I won't claim writers should forget blogging altogether, but the current push that says writers have to blog bothers me. I enjoy some of them. Those that are done by "marketing gurus" may even result in some marketing now and then. But this is another desperation move in new clothing. "Author X red-painted his novel's hook on a sandwich board and walked all over Manhattan, and his agent jumped out of one cab and his editor out of another and they struck a 6-figure deal right there on the sidewalk!" So we all get up from our keyboards, run to the garage and hammer together our sandwich boards, because this method works!

Christian publishing works a bit differently. If you want a major house and don't have an agent, you pretty much have to submit to The Writer's Edge or First Edition, manuscript screening services that publishers subscribe to. One of the two sends synopses to member publishers; the other posts them online for editors to browse. So it may be significant that the house TL Hines found through his blog happens to be a Christian house. Prospecting on the Internet is a bit less unheard of in the CBA.

In general, though, I feel a bit sorry for writers who do well-written blogs and at the bottom of each posting you see: 0 comments, 0 comments, 1 comment, etc. Why talk to yourself in public?

Put your time and energy into your book and query letter, and stop chasing the next gimmick.

Anonymous said...

Plus that "Things My Girlfriend and I Have Argued About" Guy. Mil Millington. I just saw that he has a novel out now.

Writeguy27 said...

I ALWAYS think Miss Snark is correct, but disagree on this one. Julie Powell got her book deal for Julie & Julia after her agent read her blog. An editor friend is chasing after another blogger to write a book and publishers are always late to the tech game. The last publisher I worked for was OBSESSED with finding bloggers to write books - I'd say it happens few and far between, use it as another way to attract attention to your writing, but don't assume it will be your big break.

Anna said...

Cleolinda got a book deal that way, and is working on her second.

There is some argument that Cassandra Clare got her book deal because of her fanfiction. She definately got a short story published because of the Very Secret Diaries - she was approached by Esther Freisner to do a send up for one of her Chicks in Chainmail anthologies.

Petite Angliase has a book deal...

Which, of course, is just like listing everyone whose won the lottery. Extremely unlikely... but not impossible.

The Curmudgeon said...

"Posting your novel... on the 'Net in the hopes that a big-time editor (or agent) will see it is like writing the perfect resume and then tacking it to the front door of your house, hoping your future boss will walk by."

Maybe that's why I'm having trouble finding a new job.

(I thought it was 'cause the ink ran every time it rained.)

Anonymous said...

They don't prowl around looking for writers, but if they happen to stumble across writing they like and it happens to be on a blog, they do occasionally contact the author.

The point isn't that the writing is done on the blog; it's that the writing got in front of the agent in an organic way. Agents contact magazine writers on the same basis.

Brady Westwater said...

I agree that no agents goes looking, for novels, but in non-fiction, there are publishers who will contact you if they think you might have a book in you after they stumble across your blog.

I have had two university publishers and the Harvard Design Review inquire about my urban planning blog writings, but - alas - both those books are many years off, so it was too early to do me any good.

katiesandwich said...

Seeing as I'm not a literary agent, I can only take Miss Snark's very reliable word on this. And if any agent actually did start prowling the blogosphere in search of new talent, well, have you guys read some of these writer blogs out there? The person may be a very competent novel writer, but writing an entertaining blog post is nothing like writing a good novel. So many author blogs that I've seen are boring as hell! Maybe even mine; I'll let you decide that one for yourself if you ever stumble across it someday. The point is, I have no idea how a blog can show an agent how talented someone is as an author. It might show an agent something about a person's ability to market his/her own work, in which case they won't be looking at the blog at all until they're already hooked by your novel. So my opinion is that if you have to choose between your blog and your book, screw blogging! Write the damn story.

Bonnie Calhoun said...

Skybluepinkrose, Writers Edge and First Edition happen to be the last place that agents and editors look for new clients, mainly because both agencies are so poor at their reporting skills.

If I'm not mistaken, you pay at BOTH agencies to get on their list. That I know, in part, because I applied to one of them quite a while ago, and passed the test!

TLHines was picked up by Bethany House, which of course is a CBA house, because Tony is a christian fiction writer.

And yes...his editor did find him because of his blog...not that I ever expect lightning to strike twice!

swampytad said...

I agree with everyone here who says that you should not blog with the expectation or even the hope that you will get your "big break" that way. Nevertheless, in the whole merry-go-round of you-never-know-who-you-know-who-knows-someone, I've found that blogging is just another helpful piece of getting to know people who might know people.

My blog is largely a separate exercise from my writing, done for a separate purpose; the subject of my blog and the subjects of my query do not intersect. For the most part I blog on the recovery of New Orleans, with the very occasional post of my-three-year-old-loves-the-Ramones or I-got-three-rejections-yesterday thrown in for levity. Yet my blog brings in new acquaintances and friends. While most posts attract a small handful of responses, some hit a nerve and attract thirty to sixty responses. When those people link to you or tell friends, then you never know who becomes attracted to your viewpoint or your mode of expressing things.

If you sprinkle in the occasional reference to your other life as an aspiring novelist, you can get unexpected help. Through people who have come to my blog for the sake of the blog, I have developed very helpful acquaintances with regard to querying. I'm not saying I have had an agent come at me through my blog; I go at them through querying. But I am saying that blogging has tangentially expanded my writing community and contacts.

Of course, you have to have something about which to express. Otherwise, you're just spinning your wheels.

Question said...

A related question: Does a blog help sales for writers who are published?

mamalujo1 said...

"Good writing trumps all"

Doesn't anyone understand what that means?

(NB; it isn't "good writing guarantees all.")

a certain sinclair said...

Just for information: there is a UK publishers, The Friday Project, which ONLY publishes books that have previously existed in blog form. But, I don't think they have any intention of publishing fiction. Their special projects person was formerly the well regarded (well, in some quarters)head buyer for the Waterstone's bookshop chain - Scott Packer - and he's a keen blogger - Me and My Big Mouth I think it's called. Sorry, not yet got the hang of doing links in posts.

Kim said...

And let me guess - posting on your blog to have people inundate editors with why they should buy your manuscript is a great way to get published... ;)

And here I am wasting my time with queries...

Anonymous said...

Then there's people like Jeremy Blachman who write a very specific and very popular blog, generate publicity about who's writing it, and then get outed in the New York Time. Which really is damn near like getting struck by lightening, but also involves being good enough at what you do to get attention for it.

randomsome1 said...

You mean someone won't stumble by, be entranced by my wit and wisdom, and give me money? Damn!

(If it was that easy, I might work a little harder at being less of an asshole.)

skybluepinkrose said...

Bonnie, thanks for your input on First Edition and Writer's Edge. Yes, they both charge. I pubbed with some of the CBA houses before FE and WE were as big as they are now, and when they came on the scene I said no way will I ever use a clearing house like that. Not only won't I pay, I'm not surprised to hear that they're not that effective. But I have no firsthand experience with them, and I have heard stories of novelists that got picked up this way. So I guess it's just another example saying that getting discovered on the Internet is a lightning-strike experience.

Sharron said...

Personally, with the exception of Ms. Snark o’ licious, I find most blogs rather tedious. Do I blog? Sure. But it certainly wasn’t to get a first sale and neither do I continue to blog in hopes it will sell more books. I blog because I like to bitch in public. Or in the case of my travel blog—to let my family and friends know what I am up too

As for getting ‘discovered’, by blogging, I think skybluepinkrose (could your name be ANY longer! :-)) said it best:
"Put your time and energy into your book and query letter, and stop chasing the next gimmick."

There is no ‘magic bullet’. If there was, I’d have found it and shot myself in the foot a couple of times...

dating amy said...

I got a book deal because of my web site Dating Amy, but I approached my agents, they didn't approach me.

Mil Millington has about three books out, but he also had his own column in the Guardian.

Belle de Jour, who is a fantastic writer, got a deal with Warner, but it was after she won the best blogger award in the Guardian.

I thought I heard that Jen Lancaster got approached by an agent because of a craigslist posting she wrote, but I could be mistaken about that.

dating amy said...

Oh, and Washingtonienne, a six figure deal for, what, six days worth of blogging?

a certain sinclair said...

Re: agents, publishers, publishing trade insiders browsing the web I came across this in a comment trail on another blog:
"I don't want to get involved in the bust up but for the record I requested a copy of the Gods Behaving Badly manuscript having followed Marie's excellent blog for some time. It had never been mentioned to me directly or foisted upon me.

This is not unusual for me, I have read 4 or 5 manuscripts this year from unpublished authors that I have bumped in to on blogs or somewhere else on the web. In each case it was me requesting a copy rather than it being offered to me to read. Some were not that great but a couple were very good; I particularly enjoyed Gods Behaving Badly and also a novel called Maps Of Then by Thomas Bourne (an Irish writer living in Italy).

As with most manuscripts both need further work, something I acknowledge on the Top 10 list entry for Gods, but Gods is a very funny book - her way with dialogue is as good as anyone's.

So, while I understand your cynicism and suspicious mind you are wrong to suggest that I was just doing her or them a friendly favour by mentioning it. But I am not going to call you a cunt for suggesting it!

Cheers,
Scott Pack "

jude calvert-toulmin said...

The fundamental issue here is persevering in trying to find the main discipline at which you excel – you may find it and not recognize it, moving on to spend a lifetime believing you excel at some other discipline, only to be constantly crushed by your apparent failure. However you have not failed. You are merely not trying hard enough in the right direction. You’re DREAMING about SUCCESS in an area in which you may or may not be talented, instead of WORKING in an area in which you excel.

The quest for your own personal holy grail, as it were, involves learning how to be searingly honest with yourself, and foregoing artifice, vanity and greed. If you do eventually find this grail, and focus all your energy into succeeding at it, then the NATURAL RESULT will shine out like a beacon – a professional approach and quality work. Which is why that is what agents are looking for.

People waiting to be discovered are merely dreaming of embarking on that personal journey, not actually doing it.

The reason I blog is because writing funny blog entries cracks me up, and they all give me personal satisfaction. I don't give a flying fuck what the people who read my blog do for a living. What I aim for is to write an entertaining blog which people will keep wanting to visit. It's got bugger all to do with writing my books, although I do mention how I'm getting on occasionally.

Southern Writer said...

Only the incompetent ones> ~ Nick

Is the question limited to agents? I've had editors visit my blog - and copy and paste part of it to their own blog. Are they competent? Since they're among the breed of anonymous bloggers, I have no idea.

I also have a site with chapters of my novel on it. I don't think for a second it will lure an agent to my door. But someday, if and when the novel is ever published, a reader may recall having read bits or pieces of it, and buy it. Also, an editor approached a friend of mine on his blog and invited him to submit to her.

Wait a second. That didn't sound right. She invited him to send a submission.