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Q&A

Will it help you to get published if you have a lot of followers of your writing?

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Background

To be honest, I really didn't know how to title this question. Anyway, the background. I was sitting around in front of the plan for the second book of my trilogy. Woohoo! I finished the first one yesterday on new years eve, so I'll be able to say that that entire book is what I spent a lot of 2016 on. I was preparing my masterplan, my ultimate gallery of ideas. However, then the deathly thought crossed my mind...

What if what I'm writing will never be read? I might not get it published.

Now, I know in my heart that I am going to get published and I promise I will with every inch of my being. However, I know that it's difficult. So, I came up with a battle plan. I'm aiming to get a huge army of followers, we'll barge into the publisher and... No...

I decided it might help me get published if I had a few people supporting me and my book was anticipated by 'the public'.

Question

If I start a blog, or whatever else I might want to start to gain followers, will that help me get published? Is it worth getting people to support my writing?

I don't need people to praise me so I can keep going. I know that my writing is proper, professional... No, not professional, that just sounds egotistical. I know my writing is good, I know in my heart that I'm going to get published one day. I never run out of ideas or joy I derive from doing the work or anything, so I'm not looking at this in a praise-driven and inspiration-driven perspective. I'm looking at it in a marketing perspective.

Blogging is getting old anyway. Is there an alternative to blogging that's just as good? Maybe I'll start a youtube channel or something, and teach about writing on there, get followers. You never know, it might work.

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This post was sourced from https://writers.stackexchange.com/q/25780. It is licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0.

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3 answers

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If you have supporters following your blog, you might be able to argue that you have an audience who will buy your writing.

However, to be meaningful to an agent and therefore a publisher, your audience has to be in the thousands at the least, and even better, have already paid for some of your stuff.

So if you can sell 10K copies of a self-published e-book, or several e-books, that will likely have more of an impact than 10K notes over 500 blog posts.


(on a separate note: merciful Freya, don't confuse writing and video. I read a hell of a lot faster than most people talk. I don't have five minutes to commit to your video. I can read your page in 20 seconds, and share it in less than that. I rarely share video links. Ain't nobody got time for that.)

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A blog can definitely build an audience for a book, and the existence of that audience can definitely help sell the book to a publisher, and afterwards the blog can help sell the book to the public. That is exactly how I did it with my book Every Page is Page One, which is a book about writing for the Web, largely for technical writers.

But whether it works for fiction is a different matter. My Every Page is Page One blog (which is still going) is about the same subject at the book. A novelists blog, on the other hand, is not usually about the same thing as their novel. They are often very dull things repeating standard grammatical and writing school advice. There are thousands of them, and they are, for the most part, deadly dull, and almost certainly doing nothing to help sell books.

The other thing about my blog is that it is a niche blog in a technical non-fiction area. That means that although the audience is not that big, the conversion rate is pretty high. A lot of people who read my blog also buy the book. I don't see how a fiction writer carves out a niche like that or achieves that kind of conversion rate.

And I am not sure any of it matters. While there are probably more people writing novels than reading them these days, the fact remains that gifted storytellers remain rare, and publishers are eager to find them. Show them that you can tell a ripping yarn, and you don't have to bring an audience with you.

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Having a lot of followers doesn't mean anything to a publisher if your book isn't commercial to warrant them to invest money into your book on advertising, public relations, promoters, agents, publicists, pluggers, marketing, etc. Did you know that the majority of books that a book publisher publishes, that they cause the publisher to lose money, and they only ever got published in the first place because they've been subsidised by the profits of the minority of bestsellers?

You could pitch a novel to a publisher by having a cover letter and the first 5 chapters, and have every single one tell you that your novel is excellent or very good and you're talented, just that your writing is experimental.

For example the genres fantasy, romance and young adult are considered commercial genres as those genres make lots of money and have the privilege of being stocked on the shelves of physical book shops because they are meeting their weekly sales targets from the general public. Whereas the genres contemporary fiction, historical fiction and dystopian future, they tend to either make no money, very little, or cause the publisher losses.

The only exception is if you're a celebrity like Zoella, Pewdiepie, Frankie Bridge (singer from pop band The Saturdays) or Caroline Flack. They would not of been published if they wasn't famous.

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