When I first decided to self-publish a few of my short stories, I put up a post here on my blog (since removed) that offered anyone who followed the blog one of those short stories for free. I wasn’t trying to garner reviews (although one very nice blog follower did provide one), I just wanted to say thank-you to the people who had followed my blog for the prior year.
I had somewhere over a hundred followers at the time and a few active participants on the blog and I figured “free”, who wouldn’t go for that deal?
Well, as it would happen, lots of people. Most everyone, actually. Almost no one responded to my offer.
And it made me sad at the time. Here I was, posting to my blog on a regular basis and I had people following it but that whole experience made me wonder if anyone was actually following my blog for what I was saying. Or if most people were following my blog so I’d follow theirs with no real interest in what I was saying, which at the end of the day probably doesn’t benefit either one of us unless slowly over time we become truly engaged in what is being said on the blog we followed.
Anyway, that’s been a bit of a sore spot for me since it happened. But I just read this post by Seth Godin and that made me feel much better about the whole thing.
According to his post (and the man oughta know), “It’s not unusual for a thousand people to visit your website before someone buys something. It’s not news if you ask 5,000 Twitter followers to do something and they all refuse to take action.”
So, there you have it. I was actually fortunate with the response I did receive, I just didn’t know it at the time. (That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.)
As an aside, I attended a great writing convention over the weekend and have some good tidbits to share, so will try to get to those later this week.
Until then, I will say that if you are struggling to get agent or editor interest in your book, that attending a convention is a viable way of doing so. The one I attended had critique sessions led by editors/agents as well as pitch sessions. A large number of attendees received partial or full requests as a result of participating in those. I would say that at least in the pitch sessions, editors/agents will err on the side of requesting your material rather than rejecting it. If they reject you they have to sit there with you for another five minutes, so why not say yes when they can?
Don’t take that as discouragement, though. Take that as an opportunity to get your writing in front of them even if (like me) you haven’t mastered the art of writing a query or haven’t identified a one or two-line catchy description of the book.
(They also know that someone attending a conference is likely to be more serious about their writing and they probably have a better chance of seeing quality work that way. And, at least for editors, some aren’t open to unagented submissions but will look at pages they request at a convention. At least two said that in a panel this weekend.)