Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Is Blogging Incestuous?

These days, everyone seems to have a blog. I'm all for it. Even if the blogger is an illiterate bonehead who has nothing to say, he should be allowed to say it.

Publishing blogs seem to be on the upswing. Several NY editors and agents are blogging, their identities hidden by pseudonyms. More and more professional writers are using blogs as ways to communicate regularly with fans. Newbie authors are documenting their struggles to succeed. There's a lot of good information out there, being exchanged.

So why does it seem like the entire book blog world exists only to feed itself?

I have a blog, and I post on other writer's blogs, and then they post on my blog. I link to them, they link to me (and by the way, if I haven't linked to you yet, email me and I will.) Sometimes I'll visit ten blogs and see that the same three people have posted on every single one of them.

Now part of that may be because writers tend to know each other, and when you're on the computer ten hours a day of course you're going to waste some time. Part of that may be that writers tend to be a bit more self-important than the general population, quick to give their opinions whenever the opportunity arises. Or, it may just be one giant auto-erotic stroke job, and the entire framework of the book blog community rests on the shoulders of half a dozen men and women with nothing better to do.

If I haven't already slit my own throat here, I'd like to point out that I'm pleased with the response and traffic my blog gets. I like the regulars who hang out here (even the ones who generate debate.)

But I'd also like to know if more people are reading this than just the folks I link to.

If you read this blog and have never posted before, I'm asking you to take five seconds and post something. I've even temporarily allowed anonymous posts, so you don't have to sign up.

I want to hear from lurkers, from surfers, from the busy, the shy, the lazy, the wallflowers.

Prove to me that you're out there.


Stephen D. Rogers said...

I think I've posted once but I do check your blog daily. And I do wonder the worth of starting my own blog when most of what I'll do is probably respond/link to other blogs.

Anonymous said...

I read you every morning. I'm a newly published, as in book comes out next month, author with no blog.

Anonymous said...

I think I have commented once, but I do read your blog daily. RSS feeds are wonderful, wonderful things.

Anonymous said...

I read your blog about three times a week. I am a wanna-be author and I like that you are generous with your insights, and that you seem like a nice guy. I'm not certain what I think about blogs in general though. I am afraid some of your suspicions may be correct (lots of online diaries out there--reality TV for net surfers) but I guess if that is how people want to spend their time it is no worse than sitting in front of a TV screen.

Anonymous said...

"I have often wondered how it is everyone loves himself more than the rest of men, but yet sets less value on his own opinions of himself than the opinions of others."
-- Marcus Aurelius

Christa M. Miller said...

I lurk on a lot of published authors' blogs, but I don't post because I'm unknown/unpublished. Who exactly am I to comment on their blogs, especially about an industry I'm not yet privy to? I do, however, enjoy your blog and marketing advice very much, Joe.

Stacie Penney said...

I'm a lurker on most blogs I read. If I have something to say about their post, I generally make it a post of my own and link to theirs, instead of commenting.

I started reading yours through Kelly Parra, Words of a Writer. She referenced your post so frequently that I got curious and started reading. Eventually, I plan to read the books too, based on what I've read here. I just have a few other ahead on the To Read list.

Anonymous said...

Hey Joe!

I read you most every day and have linked to you several times. I'm a fantasy-mystery author who, so far, agrees with just about everything you've said because I'm right here at the same place. You're a lot less shy about it though. ;)

Anonymous said...

There are several writer blogs I check at least once a week. Surprise! Yours is one.

Stacey Cochran said...

One of the improvements they need to make here at is a feature by which you can check site traffic.

I actually run my blog off of my site because it allows me to see how much traffic is coming across the blog.

I back everything up on my site at the end of the month.

However, this doesn't allow for anyone to post public comments. Though I do get a lot of messages sent to me via my comments box.

Feel free to link to me, Joe. My url for my blog is:

Anonymous said...

Can someone tell me what an RSS feed is and how I get one?

Brett Battles said...

Hey Joe. Yet another lurker here. But probably fall into the category of book industry feeding into itself. My first novel is coming out Spring 2007. It's been a winding, interesting story to get there, but maybe that's for another post. I actually met you at Bouchercon (thanks for the whiskey sour!) And we've exchanged an email since then.

Your blog and website are such incredible resources. Can't help but being inspired every day. Thanks...really.

Anonymous said...

Newbie lurker here. I stop by several times a week to see what's up.

You rock, Joe.

Rob Gregory Browne said...

Joe, I think you're discovering by these comments that there are a lot of lurkers out there.

I discovered that myself when I redesigned my blog and asked for opinions. Got more comments on that post than on any other.

But there does seem to be something incestuous about it all. I see the same people posting on all the writer's blogs I frequent.

I have no idea if it helps the career in any way, but I have fun blogging. It helps cure the loneliness of a life stuck in a desk chair.

An ego-stroke, sure -- making the assumption that anyone cares about our lives -- but a harmless one.

Rob Gregory Browne said...

P.S. To you lurkers, I think it would be great if you posted more often. It's nice to see fresh faces -- and we really DO value what you have to say -- even those of you who are "unknown/unpublished," like Christa.

Lynn Raye Harris said...

Hi, Joe. I'm fairly new on your blog, came here via Alison Kent, but I've got you on my Bloglines now. I'm a romance writer, as yet unpublished in book length.

I love reading blogs such as yours. You give information, tips, and inspiration, and I need that. I've recently added you to my links. I've been trying to find the right tone with my blog, not sure I have yet, and don't think I get much traffic.

In some ways, I know I've jumped the gun, blogging and building a website, but I wanted to understand the process and be prepared. Nothing like the power of positive thinking, eh?

I think the book blog community fills a need that we have to connect with each other, even if it's just anonymous surfing of published author sites. Back in the early days, when bulletin boards were the place to hang out, I was part of the romance writing community on GEnie. It was a great place to interact with other writers, published and unpublished, and its demise saddened a lot of people. The closest thing I've found to the GEnie experience is blogging. Granted, I have to go to individual blogs to post, but I get to read a lot of them on my Bloglines. It's a great dose of, I don't know, community for lack of a better word. Makes me feel not alone.

That's my .02 take on it all. :)


Elizabeth K. Burton said...

I added you to my newsfeed program after discovering you via Lee Goldberg and have enjoyed every minute since. I felt particularly good after reading your list of what publishers should be doing for writers, as I'm doing most of the list at least to some degree for my people.

I do have one question about what appears to be a small plot hole in BLOODY MARY, though. :-)


Anonymous said...

RSS is basically a format that lets you syndicate content. It started out more commonly used for news sites, but it's become very useful in the blogging world.

As for how to get one -- it depends on what blogging platform you have. WordPress and MovableType have it built in via the templates. Livejournals and Blogspots have feeds as well. You could make a feed by hand (rather than have it generated automatically like these services and CMS platforms do), I suppose, but it's double the work.

Val said...

I read you every day you post, Joe. I'm an unpublished writer and I do blog.

Anonymous said...

I'm a writer and read several blogs daily, including yours. I found your blog through, incidentally. Love your zeal.

Anonymous said...

I got here through Martha O'Connor's blog, where you were mentioned in a post. I read you through a RSS reader. It's gotten to the point that I just don't read a blog unless it has an RSS feed. There aren't enough hours in the day. (For those who want to know how to make one for their web site, allows you to burn a feed easily.)

I am a new author (agented, have not sold the book yet). I have also been online since 1994, and I didn't start writing books until I made myself STOP POSTING ONLINE anywhere that isn't my own web site, and started treating my own web site as a writing assignment.

In my personal experience, it is very easy to write a ton online every day on message boards or mailing lists (some good, some worthless crap) and delude yourself because you feel like you are writing, when in fact you are simply wasting bullets. Again, this is just my personal experience.

For the commenter who wished Blogger had a site tracking feature -- there are plenty of free site counters. Try or, both of which I use in addition to parsing my own server logs.

Disclaimer: I am simply someone who was a geek in a former life. I use the products listed above (all of which are free), I have no affiliation with those companies.

Anonymous said...

"Now part of that may be because writers tend to know each other, and when you're on the computer ten hours a day of course you're going to waste some time. Part of that may be that writers tend to be a bit more self-important than the general population, quick to give their opinions whenever the opportunity arises. Or, it may just be one giant auto-erotic stroke job, and the entire framework of the book blog community rests on the shoulders of half a dozen men and women with nothing better to do."

Ah, Joe's talkin' dirty again.

Hey, I've got 5 or 6 blogs I visit rather compulsively--Joe's, Lee Goldberg's, Eric Mayer's, Paul Guyot's, PJ Parrish's (who needs to make more frequent entries, ahem), plus a few others. Some of it may be social. I'm a full-timer and yeah, sometimes you'd like some interaction with someone besides yourself and the dog (and the dog gives me no respect, I say, no respect at all).

On the other hand, I'm putting together a d-base of public libraries for a mass mailing prior to the pub of the next book in October, and I can't say the idea was original with Joe, but it was a motivator, so it's worthwhile except when I use it to avoid doing other work... kinda like now.

Mark Terry

Anonymous said...

Sure, I read it. I don't have a blog of my own, if that's what you're wondering. I've thought about it, but it would be used mostly for recording what I read, AND I'd far rather spend that time reading, rather than writing that stuff down.

Haven't read your books yet, but will now that the Christmas activities are over.

JA Konrath said...

"I do have one question about what appears to be a small plot hole in BLOODY MARY, though. :-)"

Does that mean you missed all the big plot holes?

For those who care about such things, the killer in Bloody Mary was a character in Whiskey Sour. The killer in my upcoming novel Rusty Nail was also mentioned in Whiskey Sour.

And a throwaway detail in Rusty Nail leads to an important scene in Dirty Martini--plus several things in Rusty Nail and Dirty Martini come into play in Fuzzy Navel, book #5.

Not that the books need to be read in order---they don't. But I think it's fun when authors leave little clues like that, so I do it as well.

Sal said...

I may have left a comment at some point. I have pointed people to this blog and every once in a bit send the folks in misc.writing your way. I have you Blogline'd so it's easy to tell when you've put up something new.

Note to person asking about RSS feeds. I'm the second person in this comments thread to mention Bloglines. Go check it out.

Jess Riley said...

Your post made me laugh out loud! True, true, a thousand times true. My first novel will be published by Harper later this year, and as a result, I recently started my own blog (because I didn't say enough embarrassing things about myself in the book, I guess). I've been lurking on your blog for awhile now and would be thrilled if you linked to me. You are a terrific resource for newbies like me. Thank you! (I found you via M.J. Rose.)

Confessions of a Starving Mystery Writer said...

I've wondered the same thing. You've done a very good job making your site "sticky" i.e. by providing valuable info for the writing masses you've developed a readership that returns.

I'm trying to do the same thing with my blog. As a new writer, I am trying to develope a fan and interest base to launch a career.

Writing the blog daily is also a good warm up for me. It's cathartic too....

Sandra Ruttan said...

I'm here.

But I read MG Tarquini's blog and I was afraid you'd come to mine and tell me to get off my ass and write. We're still figuring out how to do that, exactly.

Adam Hurtubise said...


I started my own blog when you banned anonymous posting on yours... even though I signed every anonymous post, since I got a free blog by signing in to blogger, I now have a blg, and link to yours.

Yours is the first one I read every day. I read it from home. I read it from my desk at my day job. I comment on it.

Then I read Paul Guyot's, and Kelly Malloy's and every couple of days, M.G. Tarquini's. Why? Because with most of them, I first read their comments on your blog.

And now I have my own blog.

So yes, it's incestuous. It keeps me connected to the writing world even though I have a day job.

I'm not in the "lonely full-time writer" phase yet. Soon, I hope.

Second novel is progressing. First one out on submission.

But you know all this already.

Thanks for everything.


Anonymous said...

Yup, I'm here reading your blog. I have it bookmarked and check in every once in a while.
I am a pre-published (hate that word!) writer and a little shy so I don't ever comment, but hey, you asked - right?

Anonymous said...

After taking your class, I read this blog a few times a week to keep myself motivated. I'm almost done with my first complete mystery manuscript and work on it daily, along with a couple other of your assigned tasks.

I read a couple other author blogs, but don't spend more than 15 minutes a day total on this. For example, I enjoy Julie Powell's cooking/writing one - her book was good too.

Anonymous said...

Ok, I read your blog regularly. I've been on a serious kick when it comes to literary blogs, and yours is one that I read regularly. I have a blog myself, at LiveJournal, but it's just for general stuff and I haven't posted much lately.

Anonymous said...

I'm a born lurker, but trying to overcome it. As a pre-published author, I read your blog regularly looking for tips and inspiration.

Anonymous said...

Hi Joe.

I've been following your blog for a number of months now and I check in once every day or so. I'm an unpublished novelist, planning to launch my own blog some time this year.

Keep up the great work, and thanks for all the info.

Maia Sepp, Toronto

Penelope Ella Susan said...

Hello!!!!!!! This is my first visit to your blog, but most definitely will not be my last.

Anonymous said...

Hey Joe,

I check your blog a couple times a week because of your insight into the business.

You can come swear at me at the Apex blog if you feel so inclined. It's a good place to find out what I'm up to in regards with the magazine.

Anonymous said...

Hey man, blogging may be incestuous, but that's better than being masturbatory. Even if the same people read the same blogs, at least it's a community.

Speaking of which, we need another night out. For community, not incest. ;)

Heather Brewer said...

I'm out here, Joe. Every day. :)

Anonymous said...

I'm here everyday as well... and liked what I've read enough to add the Jack Daniel's books to my wishlist for future purchases (I've got about 20 novels here to read before I guy buy any thing new, tho...)

Anonymous said...

lurker here. I read a few blogs daily. I enjoy yours very much.


Anonymous said...

I read you through my RSS feed, so I don't know if you link to me or not. (There's no reason why you would, so I'm guessing "no". Quick check in other window: Wow, you link to a ton of people! But no, not me :)

I read you because you're interesting and dedicated. I need to learn some of that dedication in my life. No link swap needed or required. (Heck, I can't link swap anyway :)

Anonymous said...

I'm a major lurker who's never posted before, but I read your blog every day. I wouldn't miss it--too much good stuff here.

Jeff said...

I may not always leave a comment, but I keep up with your blog. :)

Mindy Tarquini said...

I read your blog everyday and listen to all your advice. You told me to get stationary, so I did. You told me to put up an author website, so I did. You told me to remove ALL background from my first chapter, told me to start with action, so I did. You told me I was supposed to be entertaining people, not writing for the ages, so I decided to do that.

You answered all my emails asking idiot questions. I started a blog, thinking, WHAT am I supposed to say, I mean, 'Who am I?' I linked to you right away, but I didn't ask for a linkback. Seemed cheeky to ask a published writer to linkback to me. You somehow figured out I'd linked to you and you linked back to me. Then emailed me to tell me.

I was like, 'Wow.'

My blog is because I wanted to meet writers other than my own critique group. And I've met a passel of them. I've checked out people I might not have thought to read. I'm getting to know others like me, who are still on the journey.

I'm going to Thrillerfest this year. It's near where I live and writers I've had chance to glimpse because of blogging will be there. I hope you'll let me buy you a drink, because what I've derived from your blog and your website more than earns it. I also hope you'll sign my copies of your books.

And Adam! You read my blog? Thank you! Say hello next time you go through.

Anonymous said...

I read your blog everyday. I definitely appreciate the advice, and I'm curious to see how your career develops.

The idea of writing as a business 'originality be damned' is something I'm both intrigued and repulsed by at the same time. It makes perfect sense that the industry works this way, and being able to sit by and watch you navigate the waters of corporate publishing is exciting and informative and entertaining as hell.

Mystery Dawg said...

Hey Joe,
Sounds like a Hendrix song, eh... you are our cheerleader. As an educator and book junkie I check your blog daily and glean the tidbits that can be useful for my so called writing. I'm not sure if I want to be published, but i love the feeling of creating something on paper that makes people think, react or just wonder what in the hell I'm trying to do....

Keep it up!

WannabeMe said...

I come to your blog because M.G. Tarquini told me to. I listen to her because she becomes a Pain-in-the-Bunion otherwise, but mostly because she's right...about your blog that is - full of great info for a newbie like me.

A word of caution: If you do meet Mindy and let her buy you a drink, don't let her meek demeanor fool you. She's quick-witted, intelligent, and her smile will brighten just about any room. Oh, and make sure the bar has enough gin in stock!

Anonymous said...


Another question for you--

How many of these folks have purchased your book (either the first or the second) because of the blog?

eileen said...

Here's my first post! Great site for this newbie writer and Jack fan!

JA Konrath said...

"How many of these folks have purchased your book (either the first or the second) because of the blog?"

At least 3.

Mindy Tarquini said...

*waves hand*

I did. I did.

Buy the books, I mean. I never heard of Joe before the blog and his author site. Dana Y.T. Lin had. When I mentioned the blog, she blurted right out, 'The Whiskey Sour guy?'

emeraldcite said...

Just from surfing blogs, I've bought more books outside my comfort area of reading than ever before. I think blogs help give a sense of style and personality which helps sell books.

So far, I've add the Jack Daniels series and Anne Frasier's books to my "comfort area." I'll probably pick up a John Scalzi book and Rob's book when it comes out.

Would I have purchased these books while browsing? Maybe, but probably not. There are so many books out there now that it's hard to zero in on something good unless someone suggests it.

This is like word of mouth (one of the best ways books get sold).

Anonymous said...

I read this all the time, thought i would let you know

Author-Gerald said...

What ho, Jo. Not a Hendrix tune.

Yup, I check your blog every day, and read when it's updated. And I sometimes comment - normally to say "thanks". It looks like there's a lot of people out there who read your blog. I've also mentioned it in several forums (fora?) I visit, and highlight specific posts when it's pertinent.

I have a number of blogs - my main one being at I've also experimented with some fictional blogs too - a story within a blog. I have another on the go just now, although it's not well developed yet. Bit like my writing.

Oh, and thanks. Once again.

Anonymous said...

Joe, I've gleaned more practical knowledge and inspiration here and at your website than anywhere else on the Internet. I'm a regular reader of your blog -- I just don't have the time or expertise to comment. You're long overdue my thanks!

John (the wheelchair guy from your book release party)

Anonymous said...

Well, glory be, I can post again -even if it's just the one time.

I've cut down on the blogs I read - mainly the ones by writers and others who talk about publishing because, frankly, I know how hard publishing is but that doesn't mean I want to hear every published writer bitch and moan about it. And those are the ones I think are very incestuous. Authors who blog solely about publishing are, I think - and you are probably a big exception - excluding readers. Because most readers could give a fig about how hard publishing is.

You know I've targeted my blog toward another audience - hopefully the audience who will buy my book. It's a huge blogging community, and yes, it's probably incestuous, but it's purpose might be different - or then again, it's probably not. I think many people who blog do so because they're in a place - a lonely place - where they need to reach out to others with shared experiences. Whether that's writing, parenting, home schooling, etc.

I've actually blogged about why I blog - which is the height of self-gratification, isn't it? I blog to entertain. But there's certainly self-promotion involved because I do have a book or two to promote. I've wondered if I would blog if I didn't. I'm not sure what the answer is, actually. But I do find the whole experience - blogging, and reading others' blogs, and meeting new people - very rewarding. Incest is best, remember - as long as it's all relative!

Anonymous said...

(But your blog is one of the few writing-related blogs I still read, Joe. Actually, you're probably one of the few blogs written by males that I read - what does that say about both of us??! I didn't make that clear - sorry. You keep the bitching and moaning to a minimum!)

(And I still wish you'd enable non-Bloggers to comment all the time.)

Martel said...

I check your blog daily and am slightly disappointed if there isn't something new to read because I know I will learn something if there is a new post.

Thanks for sharing your thoughts with us.

Anonymous said...

I'm sooo glad you opened up these comments to non-Bloggerdom. I tend to read on RSS, and don't have a Blogger account.

I like the educational, newsy, and viral nature of blogging. It can be time-consuming and has to take second place to writing that might actually pay. But I'd sure miss it if I stopped.

Barbara at Mystery of a Shrinking Violet -- among the struggling and barely published, but lovin' it anyway.

Jean said...

I'm new here--been here a couple times via Tambo.

In case you're interested my primary blog is (My blogspot user name is to a character blog)

JA Konrath said...

JA: No anonymous posts.

Readers: We like anonymous posts.

WINNER: Readers.

But if it starts to get rowdy, I'm calling my big brother.

And thanks to all who posted. It's nice not knowing I'm living in a vacuum.

Anonymous said...

I'll pop my head up and say hi...though thats about it.

I have nothing more to say than has already been said...I enjoy your blog, keep it up.


Kelly (Lynn) Parra said...

I think a lot of visitors don't post here because they feel they have more to learn than to preach. =)

Richard said...

Hey, just dropping a line to let you know that I read you -- and I link to you on my own blog, which I've just started, for better or for worse.


Buddy Gott said...

I've been a "lurker" here for a few months and I thoroughly enjoy your blog.

I'm currently at work on my first novel and your postings have been very inspirational.


vanessa jaye said...

I *may* have posted once. Not sure. But I check your blog several times a week.

Author-Gerald said...

Wow! Lots of lurkers - not that it's a bad thing, necessarily.

I quite often post in the comments here precisely for the reason Joe mentioned in his comment - so he knows he's not working in a vacuum.

As writers, we are solitary people. It's not a group activity, and although I like writing, I like interacting with people too. This is one of the reasons I'm a member of a couple of forums. I learn stuff from Joe, but alos from some of the commenters too, and their own blogs / wesbites.


Anonymous said...

I'm one of those newbie authors who doesn't yet have a blog on which to document my trials and tribulations. I read your blogs all the time but don't post.

There are plenty of us out there. Keep up the good work!

Anonymous said...

I am the dork that couldn't find the Super Secret Page without clues from you, greetings from Alaska!

Anonymous said...

i'm a stay-at-home mom with two kids in diapers. your blog is my escape and my encouragement to continue writing.

i'm curious, though, to know why you devote so much time motivating us compared to the other writer-bloggers.

thank you, thank you, thank you.

Anonymous said...

I read your blog a couple of times a week. I found you via Alison Kent's blog.

I'm unpubbed and am mostly a lurker. I only post to sites when I think I have something worth saying (rarely). I would post more if Blogger folks gave access to non-Bloggers (as you've done).

I read mostly industry blogs, not a ton of author blogs. I read yours because I think you offer great advice to new writers.

Anonymous said...

I bought Whiskey Sour (loved it) and then Bloody Mary (about to read it) because of your blog.

I'm an unpublished writer.

Anonymous said...

I am a lurker who reads blogs by authors because I am trying to become a professional myself. I read mostly author blogs and I find your blog really helpful and entertaining. I started my own blog in January because of your suggestion.

Anonymous said...

Hi JA Konrath,

Fantastic blog! Don't ever stop. We need you.

Just 3 questions:

1) Based on an earlier entry, should a relatively goodlooking unpublished author include a photo of himself with his query? The marketability of an author could be the make-or-break factor for offering him a contract.

2) If an unpublished author hasn't got much to list under his credentials, would winning writing competitions be impressive enough to agents and publishers?

3) There is so much advise against going with an agent who charges. What about writing contests that charge a reading/entry fee? Are those scams too?

Thanks, Konrath! :) Have a happy 2006!

Anonymous said...

Hey to everyone.

I've just read all the comments and I seem to be the only support person out there who checks the writer blogs, or at least the only one commenting.

I am not a writer but my other half is. I read several times a week so I'll know when to kick my guy in the ass for not producing.

I think these blogs are helpful for people like me. It gives an insight to a writer's life and lets me know that what is going on in mine is normal. The danger is that it can become too consuming...linking from blog to blog and not getting any work done.

Mary Louisa said...

I've been reading your blog since I discovered it last summer. You give me a fascinating glimpse into the world I hope to join. Yeah, I'm one of those wannabe-mystery-novelists who is struggling to finish the first draft in between the babies' feedings, diapers, and naptimes. (I have some soul sisters a little further up on the comments page.)

I've commented before, but I don't think you've linked to my blog.

JA Konrath said...

Thanks to all with blog who left messages or emailed---I'll link to you on my next update.

Mel: Publishing is hard.

"i'm curious, though, to know why you devote so much time motivating us compared to the other writer-bloggers."

No one helped me. When I got started, there wasn't even an Internet. I had Writer's Digest, and a few outdated how-to books, and neither gave me the insider info I could have used to help me find an agent and sell a book.

So every night, when I cried myself to sleep, I promised the universe that if I ever got published I'd try to help others.

The universe didn't listen for 450 times. Then it finally got sick of rejecting me and I landed a book deal.

So that's why I have so many writing tips on my website, why I teach college, and why I write a blog about publishing instead of a blog about other things I'm passionate about, such as beer or Godzilla movies.

"1) Based on an earlier entry, should a relatively goodlooking unpublished author include a photo of himself with his query? The marketability of an author could be the make-or-break factor for offering him a contract."

Yes. Looks count. Before I signed a contract, I had to FedEx a photo to my editor to show at the acquisitions meeting. Luckily, they signed me anyway.

"2) If an unpublished author hasn't got much to list under his credentials, would winning writing competitions be impressive enough to agents and publishers?"

Depends on the competition. Remember that credentials don't do anything if the book isn't fabulous, and if the book is fabulous credentials don't matter.

"3) There is so much advise against going with an agent who charges. What about writing contests that charge a reading/entry fee? Are those scams too?"

I've got a section in the TIPS section on my website about writing scams. My advice: why pay to enter a contest when you can submit the work to a market and actually get paid?

Anonymous said...

Thanks a whole bunch for answering my three questions so promptly! You're amazing! You're an angel to the rest of us struggling writers, some holding on to bare threads of hope.

Anonymous said...

I read your blog many times a day since discovering it. It's wonderfully insightful.

I was wondering what your thoughts are on this. I've been reading everywhere that most publishing houses no longer look at unsolicited manuscripts. Yet, agents themselves don't want to take on newbie writers. So... we're screwed both ways.

Anonymous said...

Heya Joe, I am a struggling writer who gets his daily dose of strength from your blog. I'm Asian and looking to launch my book in the US. Should I use my Chinese name or create an Engish one for the US market?

JA Konrath said...

"I've been reading everywhere that most publishing houses no longer look at unsolicited manuscripts. Yet, agents themselves don't want to take on newbie writers. So... we're screwed both ways."

If you write a good book, agents will be interested. They're all hungry for the Next Big Thing.

"Should I use my Chinese name or create an Engish one for the US market?"

If your name is hard to pronounce, or if you're writing genre fiction (rather than ethnic fiction,) then consider using a pen name.

If you're writing Asian fiction (about Asian characters, for an Asian audience) I'd say it depends. Do you want to promote yourself as an Asian writer (like Amy Tan?) or as a genre writer (like Tess Gerritsen)? Your book and your audience could dictate the name you use.

Jaye Wells said...

Hi. I have no idea how I found your blog, but I am glad I did. I haven't posted yet because I am still getting a feel for it. But stay tuned, I'll get mouthy soon enough.


Mat Landers said...

I've been reading this blog for a few months now, starting at the very end of your last book tour. I read Whiskey Sour primarily from hearing about you from a friend named Ruben whom you've met. I downloaded Bloody Mary on December 23rd when it was free from eReader. I've talked to you in a few emails when I signed up for your newsletter. - Mat

Linda said...

I've posted at least once, I think. I usually read your blog when someone on another blog I read links to it. I'll be adding it to my list of regular reads when "update blog reads" comes up on the to do list. :)


Anonymous said...

Sure is a long thread.

Sandra Ruttan said...

Joe said, "It's nice not knowing I'm living in a vacuum."

So, you live in a vacuum but don't know it?

(Sorry, couldn't resist.)

Anonymous said...

Dang. Yesterday I couldn't even spell blog. Now I'm posting on one. Shazam!
Just joking. I'm a newbie writer and a working chef scoping out the writing scene and hacking my way through it all.
Many thanks for your Newbie's Guide!

Anonymous said...

Team Pepperoni says "JA Konrath rocks" even though our dad keeps hiding your books and won't let us read them yet.

And Mom and Dad say no author has the right to carp about marketing who has not read and contemplated JA's blog from soup to nuts (we have not eaten yet, so excuse the metaphor...).

Jude Hardin said...

Love your blog, Joe, but just once I'd like to hear your take on beer and Godzilla movies.

JA Konrath said...

Damn. We hit 100 in this thread.

And only 72 of the anonymous posts are mine.

Heather Diane Tipton said...

Lurker chiming in! I also have a blog and post on other writer's blogs. And you are right the blogs of writers I frequent generally the posts are all from the same people... also writers.

JA Konrath said...

Does anyone else ever feel like a rat in a lab? The one who gets a treat for pressing the button, but only every once and while, so he keeps clicking the button even though no treat comes out?

I check my email, I check my blog, I check the newsgroups, I check the blogs I post on, then I check my email, I check my blog...

It's a wonder I get anything done.

MikeH said...


I've read your books and I read your blog daily. Would-be writer and expat in Sussex:


Jon The Crime Spree Guy said...

I read your blog often.
Mainly because you smell nice and wear sensible shoes.

Anonymous said...

Hello! Just recently found your blog (say a week ago) and haven't really had a chance to post yet.

You are my inspiration. Seriously. This has really given me a kickstart with my own writing and I appreciate it no end. Thanks for your support and information.

Anonymous said...

I recently found your blog through your webpage. I think it's great you're taking the time to help new authors.


Anonymous said...


I don't usually post but I check the blog every couple of days. The writing tips, esp about the business end of things are invaluable.

Pat Lambe

Maurice Broaddus said...

great. i miss a few days and i'm late to the party.

Anonymous said...

I'm new to your blog, but I'll be back because the truth hurts, but it's still the truth. Besides, I think I can learn from you.

Stacia said...

Hi Joe,

Just found your blog and hope it isn't too late to post. I'll definitely be checking in regularly-you've definitely inspired me to push for my dreams, and given me more ways to do that.

Anonymous said...


Not published. Yet.

Anonymous said...


I read (and enjoy) your blog regularly, although I rarely post a reply. And judging from the number of replies to this entry, I think you can rest assured that you are read by multitudes.


Anonymous said...

I'm a regular reader of your blog, not daily, but I read everything you post. I don't think I've commented before.

I do think you write one of the most useful blogs out there, for writers, and it did lead to my picking up your books, which I enjoyed very much.

So there you go. You don't necessarily see everything your 'silent audience' is paying attention to, but as you note in another post, the results occur just the same. I've recommended your books to friends, and that wouldn't have happened if I hadn't first read you here.

Anonymous said...

Yes, blogging is incestuoys. I just found your blog and am smacking myself for not getting in on writer blogs while focusing so heavily on, well I must admit it, a mom blog at I did e-mail you for link swap already, and plan to read you more often. I think your advice is about 5 years down my "goal" road, but never hurts to learn in advance. Again, really appreciate your advice.

Anonymous said...

I just found your blog via Google, but I'll add it to my bookmarks.

I'm thinking of starting my own writer/writing blog, but I want to know if it will hurt the chance of publishing any material I post on it. Any knowledge of that?

(and I realize I'm commenting on an old post, sorry).

Anonymous said...

Hmm, 2006...I wonder if you still like hearing from lurkers here. Oh well, it's only polite. I think I fall into the shy/wallflower/lurker/aspiring author category.

Your blog is both entertaining and insightful, JA. I've made it a daily "must stop by". Ah, the joys of procrastination...

Sharon said...

Found your blog through a link someone posted on Twitter this past week. And this is my first week as a Titter user.

C. Dennis Moore said...

I've been reading the blog from the beginning over the past few days. It's very interesting.

--C. Dennis Moore

Wendy Joyce said...

Hi Joe,
Had I been more socially-networking savvy, I would have known about feeds well before now and would have sent this post much sooner.
I not only visit your website whenever I need a shot of encouragement (once a week at least) but I send a link to your blog, quoting your words of wisdom, to two other writers as well. To date, I've not commented before now, though I did send you an email, thanking you for writing your blog.