Do I need a website if I’m not published yet?

Dear Writer Guy,

I am an up-and-coming writer. Translation: unpublished but soon to be published.  (I just know it.)  My question: Do I need a website? I don’t have anything published to put on it.  I hear that I need a presence anyway.  What do I put on the site?  I sure don’t have the time for a blog.  Please, please help.

Thanks,
Robyn

Dear Robyn,

Glad to hear you’re getting close to publication.  Hang in there.

More than anything, what will get you published is good, quality writing and awareness of the marketplace.  Websites and blogs are useful for promoting your work, but when you’re looking to break in, your primary focus should always be on making your writing as good as it can possibly be.

That said, I have heard of two California SCBWI members who were able to get published largely through the help of their blogs.  (One wrote about poetry, and the other wrote about the trials and tribulations of trying to get published.)  But they wouldn’t have gotten into print without solid, publishable manuscripts to back up their blogging.

If you only have enough time for one thing, work on improving your writing.  If you can squeeze in something else, work on promoting yourself via a website or social media. (Publishers love Web-savvy authors with an audience of followers.)  What to talk about on your site or profile?  Pull from your expertise, whatever that may be — arts and crafts, children’s book reviews, special hobbies, etc. — and try to connect with others who share those interests. If you’re able to build relationships, these are the people who will buy your book as soon as it comes out.

I hope that helps.  Keep on writing, and remember: persistence is more important than talent.

Happy writing,
Writer Guy

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