On blogging and trying to get published

April 23, 2010 Blogging, Personal, Writing Comments (0) 208

If you’re new to this blog, it shouldn’t take long to learn that I’m currently trying to find a literary agent.  I’ve completed a fantasy novel, Volve, and I’m working on a second (unrelated) novel now.  I’ve got four to six more novels simmering in my mind, some of which have been there for quite some time.

Writing has been a lifelong hobby, and something I have wanted to do professionally since I was about eleven or twelve years old.  It’s what I went to college for, and though I have a day job that I find quite rewarding for an organization I care passionately about, my career ambition remains to become a full-time novelist.  This is not easy.  It takes a lot of time and hard work, a lot of luck, and a very thick skin to break into the industry, and just getting a book published is very far from earning a living wage as a writer.

Most of the agents who express an opinion on this sort of thing  seem to agree that it is important for an aspiring writer to have a web presence.  I’m also savvy enough to realize that if I am lucky enough to be published, and luckier still enough to have readers who enjoy my work, the first thing they are going to do is take to the internet – and I’d better have some way of connecting with them, particularly during that window of time following publication of a first novel, when I don’t yet have anything else to sell.

Which brings me to the topic of blogging.  As it happens, I’ve been blogging for almost ten years.  I had a blog on WordPress called “The Hanged Man” where I expressed my thoughts about politics and pop culture and posted photos of celebrities I found attractive.  I got a couple of thousand hits a day, but it wasn’t exactly the way I wanted to represent myself professionally.  So when I got serious about  pursuing publication, I made some changes.  I migrated the blog to a personal web space, I deleted all of the more juvenile posts about half-naked celebrities, and I decided to keep my posting related to my would-be profession.

Two things changed.  My traffic dropped to two visitors a day, and I stopped writing content.  My internal censor seized control of my writing brain and nixed every idea I had for a new blog post.  I was terrified that literary agents who received my queries would pop my name into Google, visit this site, and reject me because of some remark I made about David Beckham’s abs.  Nothing seemed professional enough to fit my new guidelines, and so the blog started growing cobwebs.

Eventually I changed my mind about content.  I realized that if I were going to write, I had to be myself, and that while I’m willing to work to market myself, it’s not worth giving up my personality in the interest of making money.  I’m still terrified of literary agents who plug my name into Google (and I suppose this post is really written for them more than anyone) but I’m also guessing that any agent who is going to reject me outright because of what’s on my blog is probably not going to back me up artistically if we do work together.  So while I’m not about to go back to writing posts about Jessica Alba’s behind (we do all mature, at least a little bit) this blog will be whatever I feel like it should be, even if there are some warts

So I guess what I’m saying to any visiting literary agents is this: If you can get me a contract, I’ll take this blog down in a heartbeat.

No, just kidding.  But we can talk about it.

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