Monday, April 14, 2008

Identity

There's an interesting post over on missing mojo's writing blog about annonymity. She has it on good authority that agents and publishers don’t look kindly upon personal writing blogs — particularly ones that go into detail about their novel writing struggles, as it reflects badly on the professional conduct of the writer, especially at the point of seeking representation.

It did make me think. You might have heard the cogs whirring into action. I know a couple of you prefer not to have your details plastered all over the shop, for all and sundry to gawp at. Yet there am I, full name on display next to a recent picture, with details of nearly everything about me bar my bra size (small) and favourite colour (changes, depending on my mood).

If an agent or publisher were to stumble across my writerly wibblings (as if) it's entirely possible they'd be thrown by my unprofessionalism and possible madness, decide I'm a Liability and cut their losses without ever seeing what I might be like in Real Life. (Unprofessional and mad).

Or would they? To be or not to be, etc. I feel more ME when I'm being...me. Warts and all. I'm not daft (no comment please. ) I'm hardly going to be ranting on about agents or publishers. Why would I? I need them on side. I'm far more likely to be bigging them up (as the Teens would say. They say a lot of stuff like that), but I do take the point about seeming Flaky. Or easily distracted. You can tell a lot about a person from their blog, after all.

Gulp.

****************************************
On a lovely note I've been passed this award by poorly Lane, which doesn't mention flakiness or possible insanity at all and, if they haven't already got it, I'm going to pass it on to Yvonne, Kerry, spiral skies and Leigh. Of course, all your blogs cheer me up in one way or another :o)

22 comments:

Yvonne said...

I don't think you have anything to worry about. Apparently they just get funny when you talk in detail about (or post) rejection letters. I reckon a blog with a high readership means that when you write, people want to listen!

Leigh said...

Wow, thanks Karen!
That has really cheered me up!

Paul Capewell said...

Wow, once again the book industry mimics the music industry.

Ok, so this is a gigantic, ugly generalisation but let's see. The internet blew open opportunities for self-promotion and hype-generation for musicians who would never get the chance to be heard otherwise. And what happened? And is still happening? The music industry goes into damage limitation mode. Some, who can afford it, sue the consumer into oblivion. Others, who can't, simply frown upon the musician having the right to present themselves how they want, and as time goes on, the musicians and the consumers are the ones who take the lead and take full advantage of the new technology, leaving an increasingly dated industry to pick up the pieces and wonder what to do next.

It's the same with books. Publishers do not want to lose control. They'll always have it of course, with brands and money. But as more and more writers are self-publishing, or simply putting their work up for free online, this trend is changing. It's already happening. And publishers will bemoan it, of course. But it's too late for them, and viva la revolucion! Or something...

God this was a ramble. You're good at setting me on trains of thought!

Yvonne said...

Thanks Karen for the award! You are such a star.

Anna said...

my publisher actually encouraged me to start a blog... which I already had... :)))

hmmm... sort of funny. I have to wonder...

don't stop, as FM loves to say! you always bring a chuckle!

Cal said...

Hmmm, as I suspected! I think publishers like the authors to have a blog as they can be useful marketing tools but I can see why they wouldn't want them to moan on about writing difficulties. Back when I was a reader I assumed words flowed out of the writer like magic and, possibly, my view of that writer and her/his book might have changed if I'd known they'd agonised over every word. I think when you're still trying to get published anonymity is good. Afterwards you can probably do what you want!

Tom Foolery said...

"You can tell a lot about a person from their blog...."
.
Holy shit! I'm for the high jump then,I've been rumbled. Agent Tom.
.
PS. I'm not really an agent or publisher U C I can't spell to save me life plus I'm far too silly:)

HelenMH said...

I think this debate will run and run to be honest. I try not to put anything on my blog that I wouldn't be happy for the entire world - publishers, maiden aunts, prospective employers etc - to see. Your blog would certainly make me want to read more of your writing if I were a publisher, so I guess it works both ways.

Kerry said...

Ah shucks Karen - thanks for the award! It is my first and brought a big smile to my face - not easy on a Monday morning! :)

Faye said...

I'm not a writer, but I do struggle with exactly how much I'm willing to reveal about personal stuff in my blog. My one rule is to be as honest as possible--even when it's trying to remember the past through a haze--regardless of the topic. I do use my blog to reveal stuff about myself to friends that I'd never talk about in conversations. Hopefully, they may find it interesting.

Sarah Dunnakey said...

omigod Karen I thought you had disappeared. My link took me to a 'this blog does not exist' page. But I didn't train as a libraian for nothing and I tracked you down in the end! Good plan on the anomnymity I reckon. I am following suit just as soon as I've got a spare ten minutes to sort it out - meanwhile I will update my links!

Moondreamer said...

Hi Karen, I popped over (rather late in the day) to let you know that it's Blogger Appreciation Day (link to Dareen Rowse's original post this morning on my blog) for exactly this reason ...

I appreciate you! Because you're so down-to-earth and straighforward and write your blog as you! And i appreciate the thoughtful comments you leave on my blog, too.

Enjoy the rest of your day!

:o)

KAREN said...

moondreamer - That's so kind, thank you for those lovely words :o)

sarah - Arrgghh. Do Not Adjust your Settings. I was faffing about as you left your comment, and messed up the silly blog thing. I would like to take my full name off, but don't actually know how to do it without losing my lovely readers!! Techno fool.

faye - I am careful, always, not to reveal anything I wouldn't say to anyone in person, but it is hard sometimes not to let things seep out! Hopefully, I haven't done any seeping yet...

kerry - You're very welcome. I'm sure it won't be the last :o)

helenmh - Thanks for those kind words. I think it's a case of finding a balance...being interesting, without annoying or offending anyone!

tommo - I rather like the sound of a silly agent. Especially if they're silly enough to take me on. And if your blog's anything to go by, you're definitely NOT in the poop :o)

cal - Do you know, I hadn't even thought about it from that angle. When I started reading writing blogs, expecially from published writers, it was for tips and pearls of wisdom, not whinging, agonising and ranting. Very good point.

paul - Another good post. I read in The Guardian, last month, that publishers still have no idea how to deal with the Web - whether to view it as a threat or an opportunity. With promotion and marketing becoming increasingly important as a way of shifting novels (and albums) these days, it would be a shame not to see it as an opportunity :o)

leigh - You're very welcome!

yvonne - I must admit, I wouldn't talk about rejections or bad agent/publishing experiences unless I did it annonymously. Or I was already published. Or mad :o)

Lane said...

I found you! I've been searching high and low and thought you'd hopped it!

I'm sure a sparky, well written blog such as yours, would be a positive for any would be agent/publisher. Just about every writer has a website and most have blogs or newsletters (which amounts to the same thing). Writers need to a) write and b) have readers and blogging fits the bill. Surely an agent would be thrilled to see her client has readers and can write regularly -at least an agent you'd want to work with. I think there is probably a case for a private blog if you really want to blow off steam though:-)

My url doesn't have my full name purely because at the moment I'd rather a certain family member didn't have access to my 'shenanigans'.

However, I think as long as you keep it real and keep it honest, it's doing no harm at all to any prospective career. Quite the opposite. So keep on writing and rewriting it Ms K!

Debs said...

Oh well that's me scuppered then. I think as long as people don't get personal towards someone who has sent them a rejection letter it should be okay.

Not that I actually have an earthly clue about any of this. I'd better get some camouflage I suppose.

Denise said...

I've always stayed fairly anonymous with my blog because I don't want people being able to google me and find my ramblings! This is more for jobs or boring stuff though. Should I ever be lucky enough to be in the position of having an agent/publisher I'm still not sure if I'd confess to my blog. I might go back and read all my entries first!

liz fenwick said...

Interesting topic....I agree with what helenmh said....if you are happy to say what to someone public then saying it on the blog is okay...I reveal my up and down but generally don't go into huge detail......I don't think you have a thing to worry about :-)

Yvonne said...

Karen, I've tagged you on my blog - it's a nice easy one if you fancy doing it!

Milla said...

I'd agree with Yvonne, blimey, the whole thing's hard enough without needing to SPLURGE somewhere. So at this point I agree with Paul Capewell. Golly, reading down, I agree with everyone. This connection with people is just great. My friend is a "proper" writer (!) and adores blogging because of the instant feedback none of which she gets from "real" writing. Keep on going Karen, we love it.

L-Plate Author said...

Erm, me thinks me wears my heart on my sleeve too much anyway. Although I do try and keep it real, it can be good to write a moany piece and then have all the nice people cheering you up with their comments! xx

KAREN said...

lane - I'm afraid I was Fiddling About, and accidentally got rid of myself - I'm not clever enough to go annonymous even if I wanted to!!

At Pub Rants agent Kristen Nelson says that they do look at writer blogs, but as long as it's 'representative of you' (in a good way!) then it's fine.

Luckily, most of my family, friends and colleagues aren't sufficiently interested to look at my blog anyway :o)

debs - Your blog is lovely, and I don't think you've anything to worry about at all!

denise - I have Googled myself to see what came up, and concluded that readers are more likely to be bored senseless than offended in any way!!

liz - Personally, I like reading about the ups and downs, as well as the lovely bits. It helps to know I'm not the only one putting myself through the wringer :o)

yvonne - Thanks for that...I'll get onto it, pronto :))

milla - That's what I love too...the instant feedback. As long as it's nice of course :o) On balance, I think I'll carry on as I am. I can't get to grips with how to turn annonymous, anyway, fluffy lady-thing that I am.

l-plate - I agree! I love it when someone's having a wobble and I can - hopefully - cheer them up a bit with my useless words of wisdom. I don't mean I love it when other people are struggling, I just mean...oh you know what I mean. Don't you??

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Change of address...

To coincide with my 10th year of blogging (TEN YEARS??!!!) I've decided to move my blog over to my website, where I hope to update...