Hello wonderful ladies of Shewrites,
I am in the process of setting up a Wordpress site before I start querying agents for my book. I've peeked around on the web a bit and have some ideas of what to add, but wondered if anyone had some good suggestions for an unpublished author's site?
I'm planning the blog feed itself, an "About" section, and of course the regular FB and twitter connections as well as a contact section. Would it also be a good idea to have a page on the book I'm currently marketing? Perhaps a "book jacket" style blurb? (If so, would it be scandalous to have similar wording to what is in a query letter?) Finally, is a book teaser/excerpt for an unpublished book a bad plan? Does it destroy certain publication options?
Suggestions welcome! Thank you!
Adding a quick-ish reply (on my way to work). A couple of things.
1. There is no need for a copyright concern, although I understand it, and I've been through it as a new writer, also reading and hearing of other people's concerns. But I did my own research at the U.S. Copyright Office.
As long as you have your work written down somewhere (paper, screen) and saved, it is copyrighted to you as of that moment. It is yours. What you can't copyright is an idea or thoughts. Once it's written down, it's legally copyrighted to you on that date. If anyone else "borrows" your words, whether from a blog, an article, poem, short story, novel, etc., that person should credit you as the source, somewhere citing you as the reference. Otherwise, that's plagiarism.
Of course, you can pay to register your copyright (online, even) for about $30, if you like, for more peace of mind. I think it takes about 3 months to get your certificate; but it is not a requirement for you to be protected under law, and not a requirement to start posting or excerpting pieces of your work to the world. So, excerpt to your heart's content. :)
2. Excerpting your unpublished novel on your website won't hurt your chances of getting an agent or traditional publisher. The publicity may in fact do you so good, if there is a positive enough response from readers. And who knows? Being able to say how well your work is already being receive by X-number of readers, getting X-number hits, etc., may give you some leverage during a pitch session.
Hope that helps, and good luck with whatever you decide. :)
Think of all the people who've written stories based on Shakespeare. Then think of all the stories Shakespeare wrote based on other peoples' stories. Of course that was before copyright law, but even so, like Regina said, you can't copyright an idea.
Plagiarism is out and out copying or very close to it.
But if you can establish that you wrote the words first, you are protected under the law even if you didn't register the copyright. Some people recommend that you don't do this, because your eventual publisher will want to own the copyright.
Thanks Regina for the very thorough response! I'm not hugely worried about the copyright piece, just the publishing rights issue. I can't imagine that three pages would pose a problem, and I do want to get a sample out. I will definitely keep all this in mind.
Doing homework is a great idea. I did attend an RWA workshop on websites. They strongly emphasize using white background and black lettering. No yellow anything. About, FB, Twitter, Contact are all important.
I've never put up anything about my work until I sold something. I've heard not to more than do. I do have a sold section as well as breaking news. That's where contest wins, articles, etc. go.
Good luck! The good news is you can always change if you need to.
Thanks Vicki! Helpful info, for sure.
Hello again ladies!
Well I finally finished...suggestions welcome! www.evarieder.com
Thanks for your insight,
One thing to note, here, that I think is important: Jessica's blog (which IS fantastic!) has a lot of visuals. Photos and graphics really break up the writing. Even if a person comes to read, a whole page of a lot of copy is daunting.
I've spoken to groups about blogging, interviewed people about blogging, lectured about blogging... We all seem to agree that the blog reader is looking for a short read, a bit, a snippet, a brief. You can get away with a longer piece by breaking it up with pictures, but you really do need those visuals.
I started with a photo blog called Pasadena Daily Photo, which has become a great way for me to write a little every day. (Except Mondays, when the readers are invited to write about the photo for me.) I start with the photo and let it inspire me. It has taken a long time, but the blog has built a following of over 600. I don't know if these people will all buy my books, but they're an audience I'm very careful with. They inspire me to post something new each day.
Thanks, Petrea, for stopping by. I think your point is very valid; it's exactly why I chose that theme--so I could not only include photos within the post, but a row of photos from past entries would line the top. When I stop at a blog and all I see is gobs of text on the page, in the sidebar, at top, I just get overwhelmed and close the page.
I stopped by your blog yesterday, can't remember if I commented there. It's great -- and I love the idea of asking readers to write about your photos! I'd like to make my blog more interactive and have been toying with the idea of creating a static page or forum where readers can tell their own short stories.
Oh, thank you for stopping by!
I love that row of photos along the top of your blog. Very enticing. I've been toying with the idea of switching to Wordpress. Blogger is great for learning; it's so easy to use. But it is also limited and limiting. Now that my website is on Wordpress and I'm learning how to use it, well, hmm.
I do like it so far. It hasn't been too difficult, but I have a feeling there is a lot I can do that I don't know about. Also, I can't figure out how to get the SheWrites badge on the sidebar! If anyone knows, fill me in...
I think you can try things out without messing up too much. Just don't press "publish" until you're sure!
No kidding - that actually happened to me on about my second post. I accidentally clicked "publish" before I'd finished and then had to scramble to not only finish but to edit!