After waffling back and forth for ages over whether or not to include information about my books on this blog, I decided to go ahead and take the plunge.  You will now see a shiny new page on the blog called “Books.”  On this page, I included the titles and pitches of my two completed children’s books.  For one of the books, I included the first two stanzas.  I was hesitant to include part of the text, but because that book is rhyming and agents so often say they don’t want to see rhyming manuscripts (read: bad rhyme), I wanted to demonstrate that I do in fact know how to rhyme well.

There are three main reasons I took this step:

  1. These two books are completed.  They have been written, revised and revised and revised, vetted by countless fellow writers, published authors and even editors and agents.  I am actively seeking representation for them, and you never know who might wander over to the blog one day and take a look.  I know it’s unlikely, but it could happen.  Plus, my pitches have been polished to a shine thanks to WriteOnCon.
  2. I want to show that I am a serious writer.  I don’t just write about writing, I actually write.  Sometimes I even finish things.  🙂
  3. It makes me feel more like a “real” writer.  Real writers have information about their writing on their websites.  A LOT of work went into these books, and I am proud of the finished products.  Therefore, I want to share them.  Just like real writers.

In addition, I revised my “About Julie” page.  My focus has changed since I started writing the blog, and after reading umpteen posts about how important the ABOUT page is, I decided to dust mine off.  I’ve made a mental note to check it every quarter or so.  Things do change, and that page should reflect the most current me it can.  If you have time, check it out and let me know what you think.

Where do you stand on the “To Writing Sample or Not To Writing Sample” debate?  There are good reasons for both, so I’m curious to know how other writers have made their decisions on the subject.

Categories: Agents, Children's Books, Picture Books, Publishing, Queries, Rhyming, Writing · Tags: , , , , ,

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14 Comments

  1. Stacy S. Jensen

    I’d give them-two thumbs up. I posted one story on my memoir topic on my blog, but not PB stuff. I think it’s wise to revise, get feedback etc, before putting your work out there for the world. I might give “Peas a chance” after that pitch. I hate peas and will often leave them on the side of my plate — at the age of 40. The checking it every quarter is really a good idea. On my resource page, I intentionally left agent blogs off for fear that I might tick an agent off for not having him or her on my list. 🙂 If by chance, they stopped by.

    • I hate peas too, and that fact tends to creep into all of my books – lol! I blame my mother for forcing me to eat canned peas as a child. Is there anything worse, I ask you?

      That’s funny about leaving agent blogs off because I read once about an agent who did exactly that – went to a blog and got annoyed because hers wasn’t there. But this was the blog of someone who’d queried her. Lesson learned: if you do include agent blogs in your blogroll, make sure you check to see if the agents you are querying have a blog and stick it on there before you hit “send.”

  2. This is a great question! I’ve posted occasional excepts from my WIP, mostly to share what I’m doing at my desk all the time–but I don’t do it very often. The truth is, I don’t think most of my readers are interested in my fiction at this point. That said, I *do* want to put writing samples up somewhere, and you’ve found a great way to do that. It shows people who might be interested in hiring you (or buying one of your books) that you have stories beyond whatever they’re considering. Great way to accomplish this!

    • Thanks Cheryl! It is a tough call, but one I finally felt ready to make. I think the answer is probably different writer by writer.

  3. Julie, I haven’t gone there yet, but I think all your reasons make sense. You’re not putting the whole thing out there–you’re putting samples. And I think you’re on track with the rhyming–there’s a BIG difference between rhyming picture books and good, rhyming picture books–why not demonstrate that! Good for you. And you’ve got me thinking.

    • Well, I do like to get people thinking :-). With the rhyme, I just felt like it’s important for people to get a sense of my style, and what I included doesn’t give anything away about the outcome of the story. I also put part of it up a while back for a contest, so I figure that one’s already been “outed.” 🙂

  4. Julie – I really like your updated “Abou Julie” page. What you say and how you say it really lets who you are shine through. Your books sound terrific, too – great pitches and a nice sample. I don’t know the answer to putting samples of your work up. As you say, there are arguments both ways. But I think a short excerpt such as you’ve put up should be a nice teaser without running any risk of seeming “published”.

    • Susanna, thanks for your feedback! I think writing an “About” page is one of the most challenging things to do. It feels strange to turn the spotlight on yourself. What I did know, however, was that the old version sounded like someone trying to “sound” like a writer and a blogger. I’m glad the new one feels more authentic. Thanks again!

  5. I think you made a great choice. 🙂 You are a writer and that should be celebrated and promoted.

    • That’s very sweet! I’m actually just getting used to saying it out loud and in public, but hopefully one day we’ll get to celebration and promotion. 🙂

  6. I was at WriteOnCon too and wow! What a conference. Such great info and now I need to get to work for sure. I’m a campaigner and am following…:)

  7. I really like your about page Julie and I love that you are a ‘life’ blogger. I am on the fence about sharing current work, especially if you are on submission. i suppose it depends how many lines and so forth. An agent might like to be the first to see it. But then if it is on a partiticular page in your blog where only agents may lurk, you may be onto a good thing. Let me know lol!

  8. I’ve debated this too, and decided to put up a few of my finished works (that I have no intention of selling). I’m sure I’ll take them down some day, but for now it’s fun experimenting. I like what you’ve done with yours. Very enticing. 🙂

  9. I think a small sample is fine. I do know my agent asked me to take down some book synopses tho, way back when, because she didn’t want an editor reading them and then if the MS came across their desk later, them thinking that the concept didn’t feel ‘fresh’ because they’d seen it before somewhere.

    Angela @ The Bookshelf Muse

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