I've been working on a book series for a few years and as I'm sure all fiction writers are, am very excited about the characters, world, and story.
I am also an artist and my sister is into musical composition, and we are both decent with computers & design & such. A website for the series seemed like a great idea a few months ago --- synopses, artwork, original music, maybe quotes - i.e. things to get people excited about the story, not the story itself -- and after a lot of research on literature websites, we spent some time putting it together.
I was pretty pleased with our results and I think it could be a fun addition to a query.
In one of your posts I think I saw that a website link is acceptable as a small blurb near the end or under the electronic signature on a query letter. However, I got the feeling this was for the websites of published authors.
My question is, assuming it is of professional quality, do you think it would it be frowned upon or considered an attribute in a debut query? Or should the website remain unpublished until this is discussed with the agent? I was worried the potential agent might think, 'they've spewed all their story into cyberspace and now the rights are all screwed over' or something equally terrible. I don't know about any legal potential situations or publishing nuances for this situation and was wondering if you had any input.
For starters there is no such thing as a "fun addition to a query." Thinking like this leads to glitter, presentation folders, chocolates and unicorn plushies. This is the road to hell, and you want to get off it asap.
A website link under your signature is for everyone, not just published authors.
You don't mention what kind of books you're writing, other than that they are fiction, and you also don't mention what kind of website (with music) that you're building.
[Websites that play music when I click on them mean I click OFF them instantly. If this is news to you, please please please spend some time researching tips on building effective websites.]
To answer your question: you can put your entire book up on your website and not affect any of your publication rights. You can also put up synopses, artwork and whatever else you want. Where you plan to get quotes for an unpublished book, I do not know, but that's a whole other blog post.
But the larger question is, other than you're good at building websites, why would you do this? Is this an effective tool to employ in querying?
The ONLY time this kind of website is going to help you is if you are an author/illustrator writing picture books. [Clever music isn't going to help there either.]
I'm sensing here that you want to stand out from the crowd.
The ONLY way to stand out from the crowd is to write a book I really want to read.
You're spending a lot of time on this website idea; that's time you really should be spending on the books. Every minute you're writing html code for a synopsis, you're NOT writing your book. Every minute you spend creating art work for a book is a minute you're not reading widely in your category.
I fully understand the lure of working on something fun rather than doing the more difficult work of editing, revising, and reading. This kind of fun stuff will not get you closer to being published. It will not boost the effectiveness of your query.
It doesn't screw up your publication rights; it messes with the amount of time you're devoting to what matters: writing.
This is the modern equivalent over fussing about the kind of paper to choose for typing your query. It does NOT matter, as long as I can read what you write.
Don't be clever. Don't try to be different.
Be brilliant. That takes a whole lot more time and effort.