Before I get into answering some reader questions, let me offer a PSA that valued WU contributor Barbara O’Neal’s new book HOW TO BAKE A PERFECT LIFE releases today–just in time for holiday giving. Her Take Five with us will go live on the 29th, when she’ll share a special announcement, so stay tuned. Congrats Barbara!
And now, on to today’s questions:
Jennifer asks: I am writing a story for NaNoWriMo! My NaNo story is a romantic adventure set on a horse farm. What kinds of publishing companies should I pitch my idea to?
Also, is there a really good website that agents go to look for manuscripts? I’m a member of inkpop.com (of Harper Collins) and I’ve received great feedback from other teens about the stories I’ve posted. I figured someone from HC peruses those kinds of sites for up and coming unpublished authors.
A: Hello, InkPopper Jennifer! I had a really good time chatting with the members of the Ink Pop community in September to support the release of SECRETS OF A FIRST DAUGHTER.
Congratulations on working on your novel. If you are pleasing the teen readers on the forum, you are probably on the right track as far as writing for your target audience.
As for editors perusing the forums for new voices in writing, it’s possible that this could happen. But – and I hate to be negative but I have to tell the truth here — I doubt it. Today’s editors are so busy with their editorial duties and reading the manuscripts pitched to them by agents, they really have no need to trawl through forums and Live Journals looking for fresh voices.
Agents also have no need to sift through forums looking for talent. They are slammed with queries and proposals.
If you are serious about submitting your manuscript with the intent to be published, and you feel that your work is ready to go, your first task is to find a good agent who will know the right publishers for your book.
Agent Query is a good place to start.
Chuck Sambuchino’s blog is essential reading for the agent search.
And of course Chuck’s Guide to Literary Agents is a must for the agent hunt.
Christina asks: What should an unpublished writer blog about? How should s/he build an audience?
A: We get asked this question a lot. The Internets is a big place and it’s so easy to get lost among the millions of websites, forums, blogs, LJ pages and so forth.
- One lone voice is going to go unheard in the vastness of cyberspace. Consider forming a group blog with like-minded writers. There IS strength in numbers. People also want to see new content daily, if not several times a day. One person cannot keep up that pace for long without burning out. This is why there are a lot of abandoned blogs out there.
- Find a lane and stick to it. Here at WU, our mission statement is empowering writers with information and inspirations to help them with their publishing dreams. We try not to deviate from our “brand” because we know our community members have come to know us for this. To support our mission statement, we started interviewing already published authors to share their writer’s journey with others, and thus inspire and inform. So say you are a mystery writer and you know a couple of other mystery writers whom you think would make good blogging partners. Discuss aspects of that genre that you think would attract an audience to you – maybe you want to focus on craft, maybe the publishing side. Whatever it is, make that your blog’s “brand” so visitors know they can count on your blog to scratch that particular itch.
- Once you have your blog in place, start reaching out to others in the online community by offering posting opportunities either on your blog or on theirs. Use other social media like Twitter and Facebook to get the word out. The thing is, if you invite people to come visit your online homestead, you also need to offer them a reason to come back. So make sure your content is top-notch.
- Be patient. Massive traffic isn’t going to happen overnight. But if you stay relevant, offer good content, network on other social media sites and update regularly, it’ll happen.
Readers, do you have any additional advice for Jennifer and Christina?