By C. Hope Clark-
This is a hard question to answer because it isn’t black and white.
There are mixed messages on giving away your novel. I’ve listened to agents speak about “discovering” good writers via serial releases of a novel. What they don’t clarify when they say it can be done is this: They’re only interested when the public gets lit up, afire with the material so that the blog explodes with interest and starts trend setting.
If you only have twenty people reading your blog, waiting for the next chapter, you haven’t achieved what an agent seeks. Good means you are gathering several thousand followers because of how remarkably your work teases them to return for more.
People don’t just come to you because you posted your story somewhere. You have to work the system and coax people to come to you. That means lots of social media, maybe even a newsletter. You have to act as if the book has been published and you are seeking readers to buy. This is always such a long shot unless you have a platform already or you’re pretty darn savvy and willing to work relentlessly to snare readers.
What a Catch 22, right? You need to be published to sell well, so what’s a writer to do if not post the book online to build a
The problem here is that you take a chance. When you approach an agent about this book, and it’s been marketed online via your website or blog, or even self-published in eBook form, that agent will ask how many people read/bought your book.
If you gathered 450 readers and a dozen reviews, you may be telling an agent you can’t sell the book OR the book isn’t marketable enough. You take a risk here. For every one person that does well using this tactic to make a name for himself, there are a thousand who crashed and burned.
I tend to suggest to new novelists to seek a mid-size publisher that is willing to go the long-haul with you (the long tail
business approach – look it up). Mid-size and smaller presses want authors for a long time, for multiple books, and they work and cooperate with you as you build your platform through branding, social media, deals with Amazon, etc. That is the route I’m taking.
You’d think I’d have a big platform, but my editors didn’t have a clue what FundsforWriters was, and treated me like a newbie. So I’ve been in the process for the past year of showing them how hard I can market.
And remember this. If people already read the book for free, why would they buy it later when it’s published? They’re waiting for book two.
I’d stick to the straight and narrow. Post other writing to build a following, but not the book you’re trying to sell.
C. Hope Clark is editor of FundsforWriters.com and author of The Carolina Slade Series. www.chopeclark.com