Hi Miss Snark,
I love the blog; it's very helpful.
My question is this: how important is something like a web presence for a writer (of fiction)?
I'm not yet published but hope to be someday, and was curious about this. It seems like everyone and his uncle has a blog or something similar. I read on someone's blog that they DO check a potential client's website and appreciate when there is one, and at the very least, I think even you've said you Google us.
Would it look bad to wait to establish one until you're submitting things and potentially being Googled, or would it be more advisable to just do it anyway, in the newbie phase? My husband said it's counting my chickens before they're hatched, and I suppose he's right in a way, but getting a blog/site is something I've wanted to do and what's one more good reason, especially given the Internet-savvy age we now live in? It's also easier to network online if you have a homebase yourself, a problem I've run in to as I live in other blogs' comment trails.
I think it's imperative for a writer to have a web site. You don't need to keep a blog, but you MUST have a site. These days not having a site is like not having a phone.
You don't need one before you're published quite as much but it's a good idea to reserve your domain name, and get started building one. You can put a picture of your dog on it and start building a links page.
Mostly though you can get used to having one and updating it regularly.
I look at author's websites ALL the time now. This is probably one of the biggest changes in my business practices in the last two years. Previously you couldn't have dragged me to a site unless you offered cash AND pictures of Mr. Clooney. Now I'm all over them practically before the ink is dry on your query letter. (High speed access and a speedy little computer are the reasons.)
I pay particular attention to the websites for authors querying me if they've had previous books or they are changing agents.
I look for what's not mentioned as well as what is.
Mostly though you need a web presence so people can contact you. Blurb requests, review requests, library appearances, all sorts of stuff comes in electronically now. Email is always my first choice for initial contact, and that too is a change from a couple years back.
We are in the middle of an information delivery revolution here and you HAVE to be on top of it. This is the equivalent to learning to drive when cars were invented.