Updated: Dec 21, 2021
I made the mistake of querying a few agents a while back before my manuscript of The Criminal was actually edited and polished off. They, of course, rejected me, but it gave me the chance to see something on some of the forms I had to submit that I might not have seen otherwise. Many of the forms have a place for the author to put their links to their social media accounts and blogs. As if every single author will automatically have a large following of people on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and whatever platform that hosts their blog.
Now, I get why an agent would want this. If an author already has a massive following, they bring that following with them when they are taken on by the agent and then again when a publisher offers them a deal. A huge following on a blog or on social media sites means something when an agent is pitching the book to the publisher (I assume) because they can essentially tell the publisher, "look, this author already has thousands that read their blog and follow their social media and potentially will buy their published book!"
However, what if you aren't a social media person? Where does that leave you? What about the grannies with awesome stories to tell but a lack of ability to navigate Twitter? What about the hermits with great imagination and too much time on their hands but no desire (or maybe even no access) to start a blog? What about the technologically challenged college students who don't care much for social media and would really prefer to put that time and effort towards the book itself?
What about them?
Their book might be great but they may also have to try twice or three times as hard to get the attention of an agent as someone with twice or three times the followers as them and half the story.
Do you see where I am going with this?
Media is important (and helpful) in some respects as it allows us to reach places far and wide and share our opinions and our words. Media allows us to tell the world about our book released on Tuesday or our cover released Wednesday. With our followers online we can get excited about character, plot, and scene and we can discuss what we listen to as we write. We can engage with the #writingcommunity and participate in #writerslift but ultimately, whether or not we will succeed should come down to our story, not the number of followers we have. And I fear, in the desperation to increase sales, find agents and make deals, we have lost this important element of writing.
I will participate in social media, I will blog, I will work to do what I need to do to make sure that my story gets out there but I fear that in this process, my story gets lost in the mess.
Today, I make a promise to hold onto my stories and never let go. Today I make a promise to not get swept up in the tides of doing what may feel necessary. Today I make a promise to let my stories shine.
What story are YOU telling? What promises will you make to let it shine?
My feelings and concerns about needing to have a presence online before querying agents.