Aspiring authors make lots of assumptions about the book publishing industry.
My book is so great that I’ll get offered a contract bigger than J.K Rowling’s.
My book will surely become an instant best-seller. I’ll win truckloads of awards and will retire in style in [fill in the name of your favorite tropical location].
Rachel Kent’s article on the Books & Such Literary Management blog addresses these assumptions. One of Rachel’s items struck a chord with me:
My book is so good I don’t need to follow the rules.
“Refusing to follow submission guidelines because you think your book is so amazing is a quick way to get rejected. Your book might be that good, but working with someone who can’t follow the rules isn’t appealing to agents. How can we promote you to publishing houses knowing that you might be difficult for them to work with?”
This same principle applies to bloggers who hope to connect with readers who will (eventually) buy their book, product, or service.
Case in point:
An aspiring author (who struggles to write a coherent sentence) was affronted when I suggested that it might be a good idea to seek a little editing help.
“Why do I need to edit my blog posts? It’s JUST a blog.”
Ahem. (Excuse me for a second while I leap atop my soapbox.)
While some people view blogs as the lowliest of publications – mentally ranking blogs below books, magazines, newspapers, and even Facebook – blogs are a valid type of publication.
Most agents and editors I know won’t even look at an unpublished writer unless the writer can show evidence of a strong, loyal following. There are myriad ways to develop a following: public speaking, forming strategic partnerships, podcasting, having an “America’s funniest home video” go viral. And blogging.
Strategic blogging, on a theme your readers are interested in.
Helpful blogging, in which you give generously of yourself, without expecting anything in return.
Professional blogging. I’m not talking about getting paid to write blog posts, but rather, crafting articles to the best of your ability and representing yourself professionally on your blog.
Whether you’re an author, a real estate agent, or a hair stylist, the first place you’ll “meet” many of your future customers will be on your blog.
Don’t downplay the importance of that virtual bloggy handshake. When you fail to edit your blog posts, you send a message that you don’t care about the quality of your work. And if you don’t care, why should anyone care to buy what you’re selling?