When something bad happens, it's usually a great opportunity to teach a lesson.
Not that anything truly bad has happened. But in pondering a recent Twitter experience, I realized I had enough to say about it to post something thought-provoking. Or at least mildly interesting.
First of all, if you're not aware of the awesomeness that is #askagent on Twitter, you need to get with the program. Of course, that means you need a Twitter account.
The #askagent hashtag allows you to tweet questions to agents and get quick responses. Gracious souls like Colleen Lindsay, Elana Roth, and Lauren MacLeod often share their time and expertise during these sessions, and even if you don't have a specific question, you will learn a lot by reading the questions and answers that fly by (and they do fly).
That's the backstory. The "being misunderstood" part comes in when Authoress begins to read tweets insinuating that she is somehow trying to "gimmick" her way into being published by hosting an anonymous blog.
Granted, the comments came from folks who obviously don't read my blog. But this is an opportunity to for me to clarify what, exactly, I'm doing here, and why.
So. Here goes.
I started this blog in April, 2008. Honestly? It was a complete, spur-of-the-moment idea. As in, "Hey! Wouldn't it be cool to create a supportive blog for my fellow writers? And I'll stay anonymous and keep this separate from my real blog, real self."
So I did. And the rest is history.
I've never been the kind of gal who wants to spill her personal journey-toward-publication all over the Internet. Even my account on Verla Kay has always been anonymous, and once I started this blog, I stopped posting my stats on agent responses over there.
Because, you know what? People simply don't need to know all the nitty-gritty, behind-the-scene details. It's unprofessional.
So. The confusion arose when I began to talk about my blog as a potential platform. Because, let's face it -- it is. It's a great author platform.
We all need one of those, yes?
So here it is. Mine. Except I'm anonymous. Which doesn't lend itself to selling my novel when it's finally out there.
"Okay, folks, my novel's on the shelves. Just browse the YA section, you'll find it!"
Anyway, the platform exists, though that wasn't my original intention. And the question I posed on #askagent had to do with when/how to unveil myself in order to actually use the platform.
Then came the subtle accusations.
I mean, seriously. How stupid would it be to attempt to woo the publishing community by creating an anonymous persona? That would help me get published...how?
You all know me better than that, despite the fact that you don't, ur, know me. But I'm awfully transparent around here, despite keeping my personal details private. If you were to meet me in person, I think you'd say, "Wow! You're you!" Or something else (profound) like that.
And I'm not pouring time into this thing to "gimmick my way" into being published. That's kind of hard to do if, yanno, nobody knows your name.
No. My efforts to publish my work are separate from this. Otherwise I'd be signing my queries, "Sincerely, Authoress."
I'm not doing that.
And I'm not switching the blog from "Authoress" to "Real Name", either. Not yet.
I'd dearly love to hear your thoughts on all this, so comment away! I may not attach my name to it, but this wonderful community of writers (you! all of you!) is an important part of my day, and of my journey.
I noticed that little exchange the other night.ReplyDelete
Really, I don't see your blog or your wish to remain anonymous as a gimmick. This blog is about writing and helping writers though creating a community and providing opportunities. It's clearly not a blog about you or your personal life!
I don't know you, but from what you post here and on Twitter, you don't strike me as a person who'd resort to gimmicks to get where you want to go. You've made it quite clear (at least from my perspective) that when you venture into Query Hell, you'll be doing it as yourself and not as an anonymous Authoress.
Does that make sense? I'm not awake yet.
I caught tweets as well. Heck, I always thought you were already published and your site was a way to help those of us, still in unagentedland, out - you know helpful insider tips and "i've been there done that and you're where I was a year/two years ago" kind of thing. Maybe the best thing to do is keep this site anonymous even when you are published and then you'd be doing what I thought you already were doing - helping us see the light :)ReplyDelete
Here's the thing about comments and tweets: people are cruel and hateful when they can, pretty much, do it anonymously!ReplyDelete
Okay, that's not a reference to your blog, btw, only to the lovely people who like to comment/tweet unader the anonymous pseudonym and/or without a picture to easily identify themselves.
I personally think that your blog is a great help to aspiring writers and is one of the few to actually have such great contests that offer help to aspiring writers.
And obviously those that thought you were trying to woo the publishing industry have no clue how un-wooable the publishing industry is. I mean, has an agent ever bounced over to your blog after you've left a comment and said "Please, send me everything you've every written?" Oh, if they have, please don't tell me! : )
Now, I know Janet Reid pops over to the blogs of people who comment on her blog, as do some other agents. Still, I doubt they've ever asked a commenter to submit their material. I could be wrong, but doubt it.
So, it seems to me, that those who made those comments are, well, just a bit less informed than the rest of your followers!
As for me, I hear some dark chocolate covered espresso beans calling my name. I must heed the call!
According to agents, blogs can help or hurt a potential client, depending on how well they're written. Just because a blog author is popular doesn't mean it will facilitate a contract. What if an agent doesn't like the author's blog-writing style? If that's what they check after a query and it turns them off, that's that.ReplyDelete
Even if you are anonymous, I suppose you could sign your real name and put your blog info at the end of your contact information (Not that I'm accusing you of doing that). Because I'm not anonymous, I do. Many aspiring authors (me included) have blogs that will come up in a Google search anyway.
I have found your blog helpful, as well as your links, and I hope to be part of your next query critique. My blog targets substitute teachers, writers, and mothers. Writers have a voice and perspective we want to share, anonymously or not.
I was also on the #askagent chat the other night.ReplyDelete
I think your initial intent when you created this site is what matters most. If you weren't intending to use the anonymous persona as a platform, then it's not a gimmick. And even if you were, my background is in marketing, so what's wrong with a gimmick? (Cue music from "You Gotta Have a Gimmick" from Gypsy!)
More importantly, your blog has provided many great opportunities to showcase writers and that is priceless. I myself was part of one of your "contests" (for lack of a better word) and I gleamed many good insights from the comments.
I now have an agent, and I utilized my blog and Twitter to network and get to "know" agents and get them to "know" me. It worked for me. Of course, you've got to have the writing to back up your networking.
Where your platform will come into play is when you have a book for sale. The more followers you have, the better.
No matter what, I wish you the best of luck along your writing journey. You have done much to assist our community. That doesn't guarantee you anything, but it does show you mean business and are committed to your writing and that of others. Pretty awesome, if you ask me. ;-)
I saw a little of the #askagent chat the other night. I can't understand why people would think that you're being gimmicky (though I hope you are mentioning who your online persona is in your queries).ReplyDelete
I wouldn't worry too much about the people making comments about a gimmick. You know it's not the case, right?
You know, the people who say stuff like that are just petty and jealous. The truth is, all the gimmicks in the word aren't going to help your writing career if your writing sucks. Period, end of story, let's call it a day.ReplyDelete
Sometimes the aspiring author community really makes me wonder. We've all been sitting there wondering why an agent didn't sign our MS or why something similar to ours sold but not our MS. The professional ones shrug and work their next idea. The unprofessional ones...well, they let that jealousy eat them up, and it comes out, usually to the chagrin of others.
Forget about the naysayers. Your site helped me see where my writing was lacking and improve enough to land my own agent. I know other people have used your site in the same way. If that's a gimmick, it's one that works like gangbusters.
As has already been said, forget about the naysayers. It's obvious from the track record of your Secret Agent contests that you've done much more to help aspiring authors with this blog than to help yourself.ReplyDelete
No one who matters really believes that you set up this anonymous blog to create intrigue and a mysterious platform for your own eventual personal gain. Sure, "gimmicks" are helpful in creating a platform-- though I hate too use that word when author branding might be more appropriate. But no gimmick, no matter how popular, is going to get a writer published unless the work is good. And I do wish you the best of luck with your work.
So whatever you decide to do, know that your contests and other fun opportunities-- like Drop the Needle-- have certainly helped me on my path.
Seriously Authoress, you can't give those people satisfaction. I've been online in the world of writers and agents for a couple of years now and the one thing I've learned is that there is always...ALWAYS someone who wants to complain because "They haven't gotten a fair chance." Its always "The Agents are selfish and Horrible". Or "The Publishing world is against me". Or "No one knows what a great piece of literature is!"ReplyDelete
If they haven't been signed the first query out in some sort of cinderella fairy tale, its the "entire world is against my genius."
So do your thing, Girl. Its obvious by your following and all of the agents that freqent your site that you're doing something right. So keep it up and tell the nay-sayers to get a life.
Am I dying to know who you really are? Yes. Would I buy your book if I knew? Yes. Would I purchase your book anyway and not even know it? Probably. =DReplyDelete
Yes, having a huge online following can boost your readership. I bought your Agent Demystified because I liked this blog. Would I have purchased it otherwise? Probably not, but only because I wouldn't have known it existed without this blog.
That being said, let's look at this a minute. Did you start this blog in the hopes of it helping you sell your own work someday? No. However, once your work is out there, I don't think there's anything wrong with revealing who you are. There may be those who DON'T want to know and that's okay too (leave a link along the lines of "for those who want to know" and link it to your "real person" blog).
I also think you should mention it in your queries, but I'm not an agent so I'm not sure about that (which is why I think you were on #askagent . . . I caught some of it, but I'm new to twitter and it's so hard for me to keep up with the chats). This blog has a huge following and as such, you have a huge base of potential readers for your book. In this day and age, that can mean the difference between getting your book published and being passed over. Let's face it, agents and editors are looking for a sure thing (as much as possible), and if you have the potential to sell a lot of books because you already have a large following, use it.
There will always be those who will accuse you of horrible things. It's life. Jealousy rears its ugly head and people say stupid things. Don't let that get you down or change who you are. This blog has been incredibly helpful to me, and I'm more than happy to give you a little back by purchasing your work (as I did with Agent Demystified). Others probably feel the same as I do and others won't.
There is no way to please everyone. Some will hate you for revealing yourself, others will love you for it . . . but in the end, it's all up to you. I'll still be here no matter what . . . and I think many others will too. =D
And that's my two cents (or maybe it wasn't even worth that much). ;-)
This blog is incredibly helpful to wannabe authors like me. Even if the haters were right, and it's part of a nefarious scheme to get published, so what?ReplyDelete
If you can use the platform to help get published, please do. You've earned it.
um, screw those people. They're just jealous THEY don't have a super cool website that gives them steady access to agents and a cool twitter account.ReplyDelete
You rock lady, and you can either come out and say who you are (or just email it to me) or just be anon. You don't have to prove your worth to anyone.
I missed the tweets, but am going back right now to read em!
I agree with so many of the other comments such as Anonymous above. This site had been nothing but AMAZINGLY wonderful for me- fantastic crits, opportunities to have an agent actually look at your work, not to mention they crit it too! People have gained agents here! You are providing a service and if you do get to know professionals in the industry, then, I say great. First, because you deserve it and second, because it helps out all the rest of us who use this blog.ReplyDelete
I also agree with Te Awe-some Sauce, the tweets sound like sour grapes. I didn't see them, but methinks the twit just wished he/she had thought up your great idea.
And you know what, others may have a blog like this, but you work hard at it and are so fair and thoughtful in all you do, bending over backwards to make sure lots of folks get the opportunities and keeping your own work out because you say its not ready (I really admire that one- doubt I could do it.)
I know it's hard but shrug off that naysayer. Think of it as a compliment. You are successful enough to cause envy!
I use to be a middleschool teacher and no matter what techniques I used (and I used all kinds to appeal to all types of learning), what extra credit opportunities I gave, how hard I worked to provide help and be as fair as I could be, there would be some parent who said, "But why don't you do this? or do it this way? or that's exactly what's hardest for MY kid?I know you stay late but I need you to come early," etc. etc
I only lasted 6 years in teaching. I couldn't take it. I hope you won't be like me.
I was gonna say what Anonymous said.ReplyDelete
Even if this blog helped you to a seven-figure advance, I don't think that it would be payback enough for all you've done for your fellow writers.
I said that crappy (and I call myself a writer! Ha!), but I think you get my drift. Don't let the jealous people bring you down. And they will always be there.
You should be proud of what you've done here. I've grown so much as a writer thanks to this site.
I agree with ~Jamie: I don't think this is so much a case of being misunderstood as it is of being the object of another's envy. So often we perceive others' gains as our losses, as if there's a fixed amount of success in the world and we have to fight and claw each other for some small piece of it.ReplyDelete
It's ridiculous, of course, but it's the way we sometimes act. And it's too bad you had to be caught in the middle of it.
Well, press on, Authoress, naysayers be darned. Sooner of later, they'll realize their mistake - or spend the rest of their lives pretty unhappy. No need for it to bring you down, though.
Thanks for giving me a reason to use my Twitter account. (If I can remember how to log in.)ReplyDelete
I think it's pretty clear that those who made the accusatory tweets are not regular followers of your blog.ReplyDelete
Why do so many people have to turn good deeds and a positive, supportive place into something that has an alterior motive?
Besides, with all the work you've done to help people along the way, all the contests and continued positive and helpful posts, you deserve the platform - if you so choose to unveil yourself.
Hmmm, though now I hope we don't end up in an identity theft situation. Beware, I don't want someone to do a drive-by hat snatching and begin masquerading as you!!
Personally, I couldn't care less if this blog helps your career or not the point is it is helping all of us!!!!ReplyDelete
You are offering a great blog with useful help and contact with other writers and I thank you for it.
I've never seen the blog as a gimmick, Authoress--the original intent was to create a community to help other writers, and it turned out so well, you end up with a very large community and a web presence (because you did such a good job with forming and supporting the blog as it grew).ReplyDelete
I completely understand and respect a wish to remain anonymous on the interwebs (until you have your book published and we actually need to know how to find it ;)). I don't like the people who hide behind anonymity in order to flame or abuse others since they think they can get away with it--but that never applies to you.
When you get a novel published, I think you could entirely start a new (named) blog for yourself, and direct people there--and keep MSFV like it is. O:)
I see nothing wrong with keeping this blog--and its purpose and community--how it is and keeping your publication journey and goal separate. :)
I enjoy reading the blog and hope to see your novels published regardless of whether you stay "Authoress" or reveal your real name in the future.
Blogs are funny. They start out as one thing, and steamroll into something else. I started my blog under a name different from my own, because I honestly didn't know what type of people I would run into on the blogosphere. I didn't want any nutjobs tracking me down.ReplyDelete
Recently, I "came out" with my own name, because I like the people who have found my blog, and because it felt right to be authentic.
I get why people may want to be anonymous on-line--and I support that. But I think that you should be able to utilize your platform to the fullest. It is YOUR platform afterall. You have it not because you are anonymous, but because you are fair, caring and thoughtful to your followers. And because you have provided people with an invaluable service.
I feel like I know you just based on your wonderful blog--a name would just be the icing on the cake, so that I could buy your book(s) when they come out and support your whole journey. Whatever you decide, I hope you know that you have a lot of supporters out here.
You have a popular, helpful, talked-about site, so people are jealous. You've built this blog up through lots of hard work and generous time giving and it bugs me that people want to snipe at you for it. There's nothing wrong with stepping back, realizing that you've built something substantial and wanting to make the most of it. So let the insecure types whine and knash their teeth. Jump on your platform and use it! Best of luck, you deserve it.ReplyDelete
Oh, for pity's sake. I didn't read the tweets, so maybe I'm misunderstanding, but from you've posted here, I'd say that instead of people complaining about your gimmick they should expend that energy trying to come up with a gimmick of their own.ReplyDelete
when I first came to your blog I thought it was brilliant. I wished I'd have thought of it. You have Miss Snark's name in the title so you'll get some search engine traffic off that. You have agents volunteering to look at and comment on fifty first pages every month. What is not brilliant about this idea? Of course you have a platform and you darned well deserve it. It's your platform, you built it and it's no one's business but yours.
If you could actually get published just because you have a great blog and it didn't matter whether you were a good writer or not, then these people might have a point. But since it's the writing that matters, or at least that's what agents and editors and readers have led me to believe, I think these complaints of this timorous or carping few (words here stolen from the preface of Jane Eyre) are totally pointless.ReplyDelete
I've never Tweeted in my life, but I have noticed that when someone has a really good idea, other people frequently assume the worst. Running this blog is a great service for other writers. But you've also learned so much yourself - surely, since you are "getting something" from your altuisitic gesture, you were really selfish to start with.ReplyDelete
Too many people think they can only get ahead by being jerks, and so they forget that giving to others is often its own reward. These are the same folks who, if you had volunteered your time at a homeless shelter for 5 years, and then met a wonderful man doing the same work and married him, would claim you had been scoping for a hot date the whole time!
Ignore the little people and go on with your life.
I missed that #askagent but your post makes me want to read it so I can find out who said that about you and then throw virtual poo at them.ReplyDelete
You rock. Nuff said.
Well, as Authoress's husband, I must thank all who have written such wonderful things about Authoress.ReplyDelete
From Mr A's point of view, Authoress has dedicated a tremendous amount of time to this blog. I watch her day in and day out posting submissions communicating with readers who need help, negotiating with agents to do Secret Agent contests.
Bottom line, I agree with the aggregation of all of the comments here.
This is a platform and I expect Authoress to leverage it. It is just good business.
I am proud of Authoress.
Happy New Year!
I was following that #askagent. And I think you should do whatever you want. If it's easier for you to get guest judges for the blog anonymously, do it.ReplyDelete
Of course, *I* would use it to my advantage when querying. I'd include it in the bio part of the query letter. Then agents will know, but I don't think they'd shout it from their rooftops. But then they know that "Hey, Authoress is XXX" and she has a great platform. Then perhaps later, when you're ready, you can "unveil."
I think, rather than deanonymousization (wee!), we should just all go out and buy _all_ the books on the YA shelf. :)ReplyDelete
As for people seeing the blog as a gimmick... well, imnsho, the difference between a gimmick and a platform is sincerity. What you do here is sincere and it shows.
There is, however, a whole class of hand-out people who have decided that something is only honest and good if it doesn't put bread on the table for your family. As soon as you can afford to do it, you've somehow sold out to the man.
I experience the same issues in Open Source software development so I see the pattern on two fronts.
Just recognize that this is a selfish trait and that as long as you stay true and sincere to helping others (here I'll raise my hand as one of the beneficiaries), then you can afford to ignore them.
And I, personally, hope that you platform helps get your book out!
People are people. Don't let them worry you.ReplyDelete
You're doing an awesome job helping other writers out (especially since you have no obligation), so if you can reap the rewards later, good for you.
At the end of the day an agent is going to sign you because your book rocks not because of your blog.
Keep at it.
Yeah, what a gimmick! Start a blog, think of something to post every gdm day -- wait! It has to be something interesting that will attract readers.ReplyDelete
Then set up and monitor exercises and contests to help people polish their craft.
Then get agents to actually come appear on your blog to also donate of their time and expertise.
Keep everything organized, useful, meaningful.
Do this day in and day out while also actually having, yanno, a life.
That's a real gimmick you've got going there, you sneaky vixen!
Gah. Ignore the trolls.
As for "coming out"? You can only do it once. I'd forget about it for now. Save it for when there are no longer any advantages to remaining anonymous. At least wait until you do have a book deal and an agent you can discuss it with.
And, like I said, ignore the trolls.
I think it is a mistake not to use leverage that you have. I know you want to be "yourself" when you query and say, if they don't love ME as ME, then I'll never tell them my secret identity!ReplyDelete
But the thing is, it is human nature to look more closely at things when we have a reason to. I always perk up when I see that somebody has some amazing platform, and I can pretty much guarantee that a query from somebody I know, either in person or online or through a referral, will get a closer look and at least a personal rejection with some feedback, if not an outright editorial letter. It wouldn't make me take on something that I wasn't in love with, but it would CERTAINLY make me pay attention.
But whatever, it is none of my beezwax, either.
I know I already commented, but I just wanted to add:ReplyDelete
Bravo to Mr. A! We're grateful to you for supporting Authoress as she spends so much time with us. You rock too. =D
I didn't see the tweets, I'm not on twitter. Based on what you've said, I have a different perspective.ReplyDelete
This blog is a resource you own. It's the same as having a job at an office. It is no more wrong or 'gimmicky' to use money you've earned at a job to attend conferences, network there, and get an 'in'. Why should using a resource you've built yourself be any different? You created it, you own it, and you can use it any way you like. What you are likely hearing on twitter is jealousy and envy.
And besides, no reader anywhere is going to care how awesome your blog is if your novel is sub par. The writing has to be there too, and we all know that. Referring to this as a 'gimmick' implies that you don't still have to work for your goals. Ridiculous.
Don't listen to them. They need clubbing with a clue stick.
Well, I'm sure you've heard the saying - No good deed goes unpunished.ReplyDelete
Whether this was a diabolical scheme planned and plotted by a conniving evil Authoress,(hats off to you if it was. What foresight!) or an unplanned outgrowth of a random decision, it doesn't matter.
You were the Little Red Hen. You did the work, you put in the time and effort, and you didn't kill, crush or destroy anyone in the process. In fact, you did much to help others. If it gets you a step ahead, or a 6 figure contract, the rewards are yours.
If you want to use the blog as a platform, use it. It's yours. You created it. Those who love you won't care. They'll be happy for your success. Those who don't love you -- well, they don't love you. You can't expect them to be happy about anything you say or do. Why waste time, effort or even thoughts on them? (Although, you might ask them why they have their own blogs.)
Anyway, here's hoping you have much success in the New Year, with or without a platform, with or without a name, with or without a face.
And remember the words of Ricky Nelson -- You can't please everyone so, you have to please yurself.
I was there during the askagent session. It wasn't a jealous author- it was someone in the business who had not read the blog. That's like saying chocolate sucks when you haven't ever tried it.ReplyDelete
You help so many people with your blog. I was in the last critique session and let me tell you, my rewrites from all the advice kick butt! When I read what I had to what I have now, it is 50 times better. Your blog helped improve my writing- can there be a higher compliment than that from a writer?
I think you should reveal yourself to agents when you query- especially the ones who are salivating to know! This business is hard enough to get into, why not use every advantage? If they don't like your writing- they are going to say no regardless.
Think of it as your good deeds from helping so many people coming back to you by giving you recognition. You deserve the good karma!
Ignore the naysayers! We love you.
Man, this pisses me off. I didn't see what you're referring to so I don't know if it was a writer or an agent shooting out of their blow hole, but frankly, who the f*** cares? You bring AUTHORS and AGENTS together. That is not self-serving, that's a generous, time consuming effort for someone who is still struggling to break into this insane, disjointed business and I'm guessing you do it for the love of the craft, because I never received a bill. You provide a platform for yourself, of course, so does anybody with a website or a facebook account. But you take it further. You help other authors and you haven't even punched through yet! That's a very humble, kind thing to do. I personally find great value in the critique posts, agent input or not. So just remember that you do good things for no glory and small people will bitch about that. Just like some people will bitch if their ice cream is cold.ReplyDelete
Anonymous or not, your blog provides a valued and valuable service on som many levels. Your e-book does the same (thank you very much). I will be every so slightly disappointed when/if you reveal your name. I have so much fun guessing who you are.ReplyDelete
As for the critical tweeters...I have only a question. If this blog were a platform to assist you in marketing your work, so what? There is something wrong with that? NOT!
Not even if the blog were only a marketing platform--but it isn't. Those tweeters tell us all more about themselves in their narrowness than they do about you.
Thank you, for steady information, tips and motivation.
If other people list their community service and volunteer work on their resumes, I don't see why you can't use this blog in the same way. You're providing a service, and those of us who read your blog appreciate it.ReplyDelete
I just want to add one point. I didn't realize you never mentioned in a query that your are Authoress. I think you should in that last bio paragraph say that you are Authoress with a following of blah and a twitter following of blah. Why the heck not? You worked for it. Agents are always saying to tell us what you've done. You've done something.ReplyDelete
And I don't think the agents are going to run around blowing your cover. That would be way tacky.
I went over to #askagent and thought the comments were made by somebody who's never looked at your blog.ReplyDelete
I also wasn't impressed with #askagent. Okay, it's networking, but it's also a whole lotta people lifting their legs on fire hydrants.
No matter what you do in life, somebody somewhere is going to criticize you, so you might as well do what you want.
Your blog here is great. You've maintained a welcoming atmosphere and have given your readers tons of opportunities.
I wouldn't even worry about the anonymous issue. Plenty of people have chosen to be anonymous on the internet (even Miss Snark herself).
When your WIP eventually finds a publisher, I would unveil Authoress in a grand manner: announce she's going to take off her red hat, give people choices, and let them match her photo, name and bio to the cartoon.
The bottom line: just finish that manuscript. We're all rooting for you.
I'm not sure what all the fuss is about. It is now a common, if not universal, piece of advice online to use a blog and/or other online presence to increase your marketability and publishability (Is that a word? It is now :)ReplyDelete
Although it's certainly counterintuitive that making one's blog anonymous would help in this regard, maybe it does provide some sort of advantage. Either way, why should anybody care? If you come up with a publicity technique that makes you more publishable, that's what you're supposed to be doing. Is somebody miffed that they didn't think of it first, maybe? I have to wonder about the general level of discourse in a venue where such a criticism would be raised.
On a related issue, I actually encountered an agent known to be active on askagent on a blog comment thread. A discussion was occurring about the expectations a writer might appropriately have of an agent they had queried. I felt this particular agent presented themself in a way that indicated smugness, superiority, a sense of entitlement, and a level of emotional control appropriate to grade-school recess. I would never under any circumstances seek representation from that individual.
I'm not a twitter user, but I suspect that maybe askagent isn't all that. There are many fine agent blogs where agents give their views and invaluable free advice in a supportive (though occasionally somewhat raucous) environment. And you get to pick ones that you find congenial.
I'm not a Twitterer(er), so I didn't see the discussion, but here are my two cents:ReplyDelete
You could certainly use this blog as a springboard to publication, I'd think, because it demonstrates that you can get lots of people to read what your write.
On the other hand, everyone else has the same opportunity. You were just clever enough to think of it and persistent enough to make it work.
Which are two more desirable characteristics in an author.
So maybe people should stop whining and get back to work.
(Okay, that was more than two cents. Damned exchange rate.)
The whole idea that you could/would 'wheedle' your way into getting published is not only insulting (to you), it's laughable. Let's face it - books get published because agents and editors think they can make $$ from them. So unless your already a big name or your favorite uncle owns a publishing house (and you're his favorite niece), you, like the rest of us, have to write a very good book. Period.ReplyDelete
That said, the fact that you have accomplished SO MUCH with this site says a lot about you as a person and a professional, much of which will likely translate into career success when you are published. Writing a good book is essential to getting published. Being a top-notch promoter, networker, blogging, and peer-supporter are all critical to a CAREER as an author. And you Authoress, through your hard work and freaking brilliant idea/website are well on your way. Go you!
Ugh. What whiners out there.ReplyDelete
If you garner attention through your blog and score an agent (and a deal!), well good on you.
If there was one "right" way to get agents, then every agented and published author would have the same path.
But that's not the case. Some get their agents through queries and slush. Some from a published story. Some from a conference or a conversation. Some are referred.
The fact is that you have created a good community and some great things have come out of it.
I usually don't ever comment on this kind of junk because it's just stupid people saying stupid things out of frustration.
If you can get yourself an agent through this, what's the problem? It's not like cheating.
I was following that...and I like that you're anonymous over here. It doesn't seem gimmicky at all, at least to me. In fact, I think it's downright awesome, because when you get to be big famous author lady, we won't know that it's you and this blog stays the same awesome place that it is instead of a "ZOMG, COME READ MY BOOK!!! ZOMG, ADVERTIZING!!!" sort of thing, or some sort of place where fans flock instead of serious writers. If that makes any sense...ReplyDelete
So, long story short (too late), I like what you've got going over here. :)
I don't belong to Twitter. I even hate the name. To me it infers brainless, mindless twaddle. Like schoolgirl chit chat in the girl's toilet during morning break.ReplyDelete
The inference that my enjoyment of your blog is because I am dumb is encapsuled within that insult and I share therefore the burden of being affronted with you in equal part.
When I was little and hurt at school, my mother would often say "oh they're just jealous". But to me that didn't make sense. Jealous of what??? I think what my mother really meant is "oh they're just stupid". And stupidity doesn't have a cure.
So I won't say they are jealous to you. But they certainly are stupid.
A lot of people blog. But a lot of people sing in the bathroom. Nobody reads their blog. And there isn't an audience in the bathroom unless the window's open and the neighbors can hear. But they won't be clapping.
But your blog is read, enjoyed, followed and noticed. I think my impression of Twitter is probably instinctively what I suspected it to be. The twitter twatter of twaddle by twats.
I don't know what your name is, whether it's Susan, Grettel or Divinia... but it's Authoress and it's true you. You come through genuinely fragilely human like the rest of us - we are writers and we hear your 'voice'. That is you, and even though you use a psuedonym, it's the person behind the voice that counts and in the end...
I feel like I know you. And if I ever find out what your name is, that will be but a nano detail.
So chin up kiddo. Ignore the ignorance.
There was a lot of wise-ness floating around in my old alma mater art school. One of them was the wisdom of the saying which I will twitch a little to match the context here...
Those that can DO.
Those that can't BITCH.
Pennyoz (your friend on the internet) I'm only using anonymous because I have forgotten my password because I've been busy with other things but your blog comes through my email every day so smile.
AA - Adam Shankman posted recently about the "dark side of twitter" and stopped sharing behind the scenes photos from his movies b/c people are nasty.ReplyDelete
The truth is, wouldn't it have made a lot more sense for your blog to have NOT been anonymous for you to use it as a big platform and woo your way into publishing. And, um, isn't that what lots of other people with blogs do anyway? Use their platform.
The accusations don't even make any sense. Blow it all off girlfriend! Your blog *is* encouraging and helpful and I'm glad it's here. ;)
Some people are nuts and nasty. Shake them off. Move on. Anyone with a half a brain knows you've helped an enormous amount of people with your blog. I for one love the way you keep your anonymity. Keep doing what you're doing. We appreciate it!!!ReplyDelete
You already have a lot of comments of support... but I thought I'd chip in here late in the day with my 2p.ReplyDelete
I didn't see the #askagent session prior to reading your post just now, so I'm not sure what was said by the agents or fellow writers. <- I love Twitter, but I'm really too busy with real life stuff lately to go on it or other social sites as much as I want.
My best guess is when you query agents, you might CONFESS to them - that way they know you can handle yourself in public (unlike some other writers).
You website can remain anonymous until you publish though. Why not?
Good luck and keep you chin up. :)
I don't think its just a matter of jealous readers, and since I haven't read the comments, I can't say whether or not they were rude.ReplyDelete
I do get the impression from the comments here, though, that many readers feel that just asking the question (and it is an obvious one) is rude.
The thing is, getting her novel published because of this blog, (and any others that she owns) has crossed Authoress's mind. (Like the rest of us, she's human.)
But there are a few things that make this blog a gimmick for both Authoress and her readers.
This site isn't about writing technique. It lacks the "how to," that other writing blogs offer.
It's not really a critique blog, because the critique opportunities out side of the contests, are sporadic at best. More over, this blog teaches one thing really well, and not much else. How to perfect 250 words. How useful is that really?
Take away the agents and readership goes down. Authoress has noted this fact in previous posts. The agents (and the potential to beat the slush) are the gimmick that get readers to return.
And then there's the book self-published book. One could easily argue that the primary goal of this blog is self-promotion, that the contests are a gimmick to get readers who buy the book. I've struggled with this myself, but I was okay with it, until the commercial was embedded at the top of the page. (And it's 9.99 for a PDF file! It's not like she's printing bound copies via Lulu)
Evil Editor has his own self-published books, but they're linked not showcased. He occasionally drops a "buy this" blurb, but he didn't turn the whole blog into a commercial.
For this reason I stopped being a regular reader. I don't critique anymore, and I only stopped by today because there's a link on this page to another blog I read regularly.
But since Authoress brought it up, yes this blog is a gimmick on dozens of levels. Even the title is a gimmick to get readers who are looking for the real Miss Snark. Why not call it Authoress?
And yet none of it matters as much as people think it does. Gimmick or not the blog exists and lots of writers who's work has been passed on will get published. (What will these authors have to say about the blog?)
I read the comments on the #askagent chat finally. It was a publisher mainly who seemed to have singled Authoress out as she joined the chat... like she had some kind of weird itch or PING. :)ReplyDelete
There are so many other authors under various other names who participate in #askagent and other such chats, and many of these operate their own blogs anonymously or otherwise under 'writing' names. Many of these other authors may or may not do so to protect themselves as they express opinions that may not be helpful to them when they seek agently approval.
As far as the Miss Snark's First Victim - I think from the title of the blog it should be obvious that Authoress isn't exactly pretending to be Miss Snark. There is an amusing story behind the title - I think it is posted somewhere on the blog.
What I really like about the MSFV blog is that it gives people an opportunity to do a writer-thing with other writers and being helpful or helped without expending too much time and energy (as happens when critiquing something longer than 250 words).
It offers something different from SO MANY other author blogs, where every post seems to be a 'how to'. Nothing wrong with 'how to' blogs, but there is a point when you can't see one blade of grass in a lawn. Or something. :]
Many people initially started following this blog because of the 'first line' and 'drop the needle' games. Not to say the agent games aren't the main draw for a lot of people - especially those who see it as a contest where the winners may snag an agent's attention for a partial or whatever. But there are also other writers (like myself) who like to watch and see what works or doesn't work not just with queries but with the first page.
It also is a good gauge to see what works with X agent or Y agent, and what doesn't work right now.
About gimicks - this would be more of a gimick if Authoress did this under her own name. Or if she entered her own contests and pleastered practice video promo things for novels she hasn't completed yet or may be querying all over the blog. <- Basically, using the contests to attract agents and readers to her blog and then trying to profit from them and hook an agent herself.
Anyway I'd say her blog is no more a gimick than other blogs or tweet feeds (under anonymous or 'writer names') that other authors do when they build a platform for themselves.
They're just jealous they didn't come up with your brilliant idea first. ;) And they probably don't have anywhere near the same following you have. Be proud of what you've accomplished, and ignore the idiots.ReplyDelete
Anyhow, I love your blog because there is that air of mystery.
How bizarre. You're trying to weasel into being published by running a (brilliant) anonymous blog with (time-consuming, generous, writer-helpful) contests?ReplyDelete
Someone is nuts, and it ain't you. Don't let the trolls get you down. (Did you see the nasty comments over at Bookends' blog? Someone's not having a good new year.)
Gordon Jerome, is that you?ReplyDelete
Don't pay any attention to anonymous bitterness. You have every right to use this blog however you want. And people like anon are free to leave. It's all good.
(Put that video back up, sister.)
I know I've already commented, but I noticed you took the video down.ReplyDelete
You have 50 odd comments here all backing you up and telling you you did nothing wrong. One indivudual (unwilling to leave his/her name) commented negatively, and that is the advice you seem to have heeded.
It's human nature, I know, but please don't give in to a single comment. As the Anonymous person before me suggested, put the video back up.
Actually, that was just odd timing. I had already removed the video before the snarky comment came through about it, on Mr. A's recommendation. It's been up long enough, and we're going to be redesigning the blog. Plus folks have complained in the past that, for some, the load time is way long.ReplyDelete
So no worries. I was not buckling to one negative comment. That's not my nature. =D
And thank you.
you are totally right and anyone who thinks otherwise it simply jealous.ReplyDelete
FYI, I think the page looks better and is easier to read without the video: at first glance, that and the large header were pretty much all that showed up on my screen - I think readership will increase with it gone, because I suspect some people glanced at what came up on their screen and moved on without scrolling down. It would be great to have a link or thumbnail link to it in the left column, however.ReplyDelete
I have followed your blog for sometime now, and appreciate all the effort and time you put into it. I have never really left commments, as I am still new in the writing world and I don't usually have anything important to say. But when I read about what happened over on twitter, I felt compelled to finally express my opinion. So, here it goes.ReplyDelete
What does it matter if your blog says Authoress or your real name? It's still you, a human person, spending countless hours creating an amazing blog that anyone would die to call their own. You most absolutely have the right to claim it, and utilize the platform that you have built, you the human, both the Authoress and whoever you really are.
Nathan Bransford has a blog as an agent, and it's wonderful, and he has built quite a platform with it. Did he announce his novel on the blog? Yes! Did people chastise him? I don't think so. Everyone said, congratulations, good job. He keeps it an agent blog, as he should, but occasionally he'll post about his novel, and it's still great and insightful.
Are you a published author? Yes! I think that knowing who you really are will only make the dedicated readers of you blog curious about your book(s) and help you. But if you keep the content of your blog the same, then the only difference will be that you sign your real name instead of Authoress.
To me, a gimmick is a flashy trick with no substance. Anyone who has actually been to this blog knows the amount of time and effort you must put into it and that it is definitely not a gimmick. But you know what? Even if you had started this blog to help yourself get published, I wouldn't care. People are doing all sorts of things to give themselves a boost. This is such an amazing and valuable resource to writers, I think you deserve any leg-up you get because of it.ReplyDelete
When you do get a publishing contract, I'm sure we'd all love to know who you really are. Or maybe we can just play a guessing game as to which YA dystopian is yours. :-)
you'd be doing what I thought you already were doing - helping us see the light :)ReplyDelete
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