You write a lot about how much to disclose about prior self-published novels when querying. My take has been that it's not really a positive if your Amazon royalties were $50 last year, as they were in my case.
But you also mention fairly often, "your web site" and things an author might disclose there. I have a nice web site, but because it shamelessly promotes my self-published novels, and I am actively querying for my latest (best!) work, I decided to unpublish that web site and hide my author page on Facebook.
In my query I simply say that AWESOME NEW MANUSCRIPT is my third completed novel. My rationale was that I don't want Amazing Agent to be distracted or unduly influenced by my prior works, when I really believe this new one is my best yet. Plus, the new one is more 'up-market/literary' and the first two were more genre novels. I also took the two novels off of Amazon for now. My ratings are pretty good--almost all 5 stars--but there are only 9 and 12 of them respectively.
Should I be hiding my past works like this? Or am I over-thinking it?
Honestly, when did writers become so invested in transparency?
Transparancy is great for government officials, but holy moly, not here.
As long as this finessing of information isn't going to jam us up down the road, feel free to be judicious in what you tell me. I think taking down the self-pubbed work and unpubbing your Facebook page is a good idea. Honestly, it's what I would have done, were I in your swim fins.
If you've self-pubbed a previous book, you don't need to mention it. As long as you don't tell me this queried book is your debut novel, we're good.
Things you absolutely have to tell me include:
1. If you've had a previous agent
2. If this project you're querying has already been on submission
3. If the book you're querying has been previously published (that includes self-pubbed)
4. If you've pitched this to an editor at a conference or sent it to any editor anywhere
Things you do NOT have to tell me:
5. Any details of your misspent publishing youth that are not covered in 1-4 above)
6. Your health (physical or mental) status
7. Anything about your family (unless you're in my family, of course.)
8. Where you live (as long as you provide me with a way to get you your money that doesn't involve cash in a safe deposit box somewhere in the Bronx)
9. How much research you did for the novel
10. Why you want me to be your agent (cause who wouldn't, right?)