Questions on the blog post about rebooting your writing career got your rodent wheels a'spinnin'.
Honestly, you guyz are giving me seizures with the speed, lights and smell of burnt popcorn here.
As per usual, I got stuck on the first step. Googling myself. I'm an academic. When you google me, you get academic journal articles and textbook chapters, institutional pages and citations.
I research disaster responses and humanitarian logistics, which is all very exciting, but has no apparent link to writing historical fiction. Any author online presence would have to be very, very significant to rise to the first few google pages of my name.
Do I have to pick a pen name? My name is unique, I like it, and don't mind colleagues and students knowing about my fictional forays. But I worry that agents/editors/readers will never find the non-academic me.
No you don't need a pen name.
No you don't need to worry that your academic career will derail your trade career.
Get a website with your own (lovely) name.
Have a social media account with your own (again) lovely name.
Then tell us about the very interesting work you do.
A query letter with that in the bio is going to engage my interest almost instantly.
Remember, this advice was targeted for people who have published several trade books, had dwindling sales, or took some time off, and now want to REBOOT their career. In other words, not you.
If those old, and meager, credits are written under another name, what then? Do I not list them at all or do I list them and presume that the agent will ask for elucidation if he’s interested?
You can list your credit and say "written under the name Brenda Buttonweezer".
Or not list them at all.
You'll have to tell me all your sordid writing history (yes, I know about that dino-porn) if we get past the requested full and start talking about representation. Early writing isn't a deal breaker, it's just something to strategize about.
I know that agents google us. And I know Janet has addressed my concern that came from googling myself this morning some time in the past. However, I didn't worry about it then. There was nothing on me 3-4 years back. Now, there is another writer with exactly my name out there. All my stuff comes up with her stuff. She's younger and well, so very not me. I don't want to lumped in with all the other humans carrying my name. I mean, I'll share my name with a dragon or a really fast horse, but other humans. What to do what to do...
Do I just mention to the agent "I am not THAT other person with my name". I am not much into this social media stuff. It's not good for your mental health so I keep it to a real minimum and to stuff that generally makes people happy. Puppy and cat pictures, talking to other writers, and Liverpool FC. That's it.
Well, crap, my rodent wheel just full-on exploded....again
Again is right. I know you Elise, and you go through rodent wheels like sox.
You can amend your writing name EM Goldsmith II, Early Mustard Goldsmith; Excellent Minion Goldmith II.
OR you can say E.M.Goldsmith (no not that one, this one.)
In other words, alert the agent there is a faux Elise on the loose.
So, I love reading this blog but don't usually comment. This really got my attention. Editors are looking to see how many followers I have on Twitter? I'm almost at 800 but just because I follow people doesn't mean they follow me back-- 2000 seems like an impossible number. And as far as getting more reviews on Amazon- how do you manage to do that? A lot of friends and family don't read middle grade...and I've posted on Facebook asking them to leave reviews which made me feel desperate afterward. And, by the way, it didn't work. It seems if you already had a lot of reviews on Amazon then you wouldn't need the career reboot anyway, right? So where do you find these random people to read and review? Even if the reviews are good, if you're in this position it means you don't have readers. So if anyone has advice for how to get more people to follow you on Twitter, review and blurb your books, and help spread the word...I'd love to hear it.
Again, you don NOT need this if you're not rebooting your career.
And middle grade is a whole different kettle of fishfingers; it's a review driven category, not a word of mouth category. Books most often sell through schools and libraries recommendations.
If you're interesting in building your Twitter followers, take a look at @LombardEmma
I'm just wondering whether this would still apply to self-published books that were later removed from sale. When I was younger (as in, 13-16), I self-published a series of children's books with NO IDEA how to market/promote them (not to mention no budget). They got good reviews -- just not a lot of them.
I'm pursuing traditional publication now, and I recently removed my old books from sale. However, Amazon doesn't remove paperback listings in case someone has a used copy to sell, and Goodreads makes a point of never deleting books even if they're out of print.
When you Google my name, my website (which no longer contains any mention of my old books) shows up at the top, followed by my blog and my Twitter. And then ... pages and pages of Amazon and Goodreads hits for my old books.
So now I'm losing my mind because I feel like I shot my dreams of publication in the foot as a young teenager. Any advice is greatly appreciated :)
PS. I have considered switching to a different pen name to have a clean(er) slate, but everyone online knows me by this one. By "everyone," I mean my 1700+ Twitter followers and my 1,100+ Instagram followers. So it's a bit of a dilemma.
Ellie, if the adventures of my misspent youth were available for all and sundry to view and BUY, well, I'd probably be in a convent practicing silence. Probably delivered to convent by my sainted mother who to this day does not know some of the things I did.
PPS. Sorry for how frantic this whole thing sounded -- I just really needed to vent my fears :P
You're right to think you need a strategy.
You're wrong to think this will derail you.
In your query, in the housekeeping section, you say "I published books as an eager teen. I learned a lot."
That's really all you need to say.
We get it.