2010 GLA Excerpt: Blogs, Facebook and Social Media

Publish date:

The 2010 Guide to Literary Agents
arrives in-house within one week and, needless to say, I am excited to
see it in print. I mean - just look at the book. It looks like a
delicious s'more. That is - a delicious s'more filled with tons of
agent info and conference info and articles. I suppose that's just the
marshmallow filling.

The book will be in store in mid to late August. Keep in mind that you can pre-order it now on Amazon. 
In the meantime, I'm going to excerpt some articles to give writers a
little taste of what articles are included to help scribes on their
journey. The following excerpt below is from Ron Hogan, who runs the ultra-popular Galleycat blog on Media Bistro. His article is all about blogs, Facebook and social media for writers.

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"If you aren't blogging now, and you don't plan on starting any time soon, there may come a time when an agent or a publicist says to you, 'You have to get the word out about your book on the Internet—hey, you should start a blog!'
This is the worst possible reason to start a blog.
Remember that scene in A Christmas Story when Ralphie becomes totally absorbed in the coded message from his favorite radio show only to walk away in disgust when he finds out it's a 'crummy commercial'? That's how online readers feel, and they can usually sniff out the marketing a lot sooner. If you want to establish an online presence that will help readers to discover you when you become a published author, now is the perfect time to start."


"You should blog for the same reason you want to write in the first place: There's something you want to say to the world, and you can't imagine not saying it. You should be writing from a position of passionate authority—that is, you should be writing about a subject into which you've fully immersed yourself and ready to share your enthusiasm with others. Once you get past the basic format—a series of posts, similar to short articles or journal entries, arranged in reverse chronological order so readers will see the most recent material first—it doesn't matter what you're writing about: A 13-year-old girl blogging about videogames can be just as passionate as a 25-year-old man sharing his favorite recipes, or a 40-year-old woman writing about the books she's reading.
I started my Web site, Beatrice.com, back in 1995 because I was working in an independent bookstore and realized the opportunity in interviewing writers during their book tours. I posted those Q&As irregularly for years until work commitments forced me to spend less time on my personal site; that's when I started posting short commentaries about the literary world every weekday.
You don't necessarily have to share a lot of your personal life in a blog, but you should be revealing a lot of your personality... and for those of you who are about to ask, 'How's this supposed to help me sell books?' the answer is, it's not (assuming you even have a book to sell yet). If it's about "selling" anything to other people, you are the merchandise. Your blog, along with the other social networking platforms I'll mention shortly, is a way to establish that you are an interesting person who has something to say. Once people are convinced of that, it's a lot easier to for them to believe your book (if you have one) is worth reading."

- Excerpted from the article "The Ins and Outs of Social Networking: Blogs, Facebook and More," by Ron Hogan, in the 2010 Guide to Literary Agents.


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