Wednesday, July 6, 2011

I Just had to Ask...Week 1 of Blogfest

Before I get to my question I just wanted to thank all those who have signed up for week 1.  I have already been to a few of the blogs and I can't wait to get to the rest and find out your burning questions...for writing.  In my opinion, you are never to experienced to ask questions and when you stop, the learning stops too.  My hope with this blogfest is that no matter where we are in our writing journey, we will get a boost doing one or all of these mini-fests.  So I'm thrilled others out there are hungry to get those writing juices flowing like me!

If you haven't signed up for the blogfest yet.  Go here to get in on the action for week 1 and here to get your name on the Gearin' Up to Get an Agent Blogfest list.


I Just had to Ask...

Now for my question.  Well, I am asking two, one is so short a simple yes or no can answer, plus being the host and all I thought maybe I would be ok with two:)

1) I heard somewhere that double spaces in between periods are no more.  Is this true?  In writing a manuscript, do we only have one space after a period now?

2) I'm curious what others opinions are on building a platform before the book deal.  If you read my blog regularly, you know I ask many of my Firsts Fridays spotlighters what they think about it.  Now I'd like to get your opinion and find out your reasoning for why you feel it's necessary or not to build a platform before the book deal?   



- If you are on Twitter feel free to head over and chat it up through tweets!  The blogfest hashtag is #GetanAgentBlogfest

- If you want to get your genre listed by your name in the blogfest list just leave me a comment here

- Friday I will be randomly choosing the winner of Margot Finke's critique and I will also be sending all those who commented on this portion of the blogfest a pdf of her new children's adventure book.  It is so cute!

Then there's next week!  We will be starting our story chain and I can't tell you how excited I am to find out what we will come up with.

The loverly Lora Rivera has helped me come up with a fabulous idea which I will spill the beans about on Friday.  I am also thinking I will start sign ups for week 2 on Friday so I can get started on making assignments for each person.  I will give further info on this later.  Just know it is going to be FUN!  Plus I will be giving away another fabulous critique.  This one a double critique from Rach Harrie over at Rach Writes

Until then...

Keep writing.  Keep learning.


Donna K. Weaver said...

I heard about the comma thing a few years ago, and have trained myself away from it. We do city council minutes at my office, and my deputy just loves her double spaces. I do the proofing once she's done and do a search and replace first thing.

I understand that in publication, the single space after a comma has been around for a long time only because it saves space which means fewer pages.

Unknown said...

#1 Yes. Only one space after period. Tough to break the habit, but you can also take the double spaces out easily using the Find option in Word.

#2 Getting known before the book deal isn't just about impressing editors and agents. But in my opinion, it's about making connections with other writers. A lovely network of friends who help us every step of the way, before, during, and after our fabulous books gets published.

Thanks for hosting this. I'm having so much fun ^_^

Unknown said...

1: Period followed by one space. That's a change from the old typewriters we all learned on.

2: Brodi Ashton's agent heard about her before she queried, so he was more open to her MS. Her editor had been following her blog, and (I hear) APPROACHED her agent to ask for it. Or at least was waiting for it. Platform isn't necessary, but can certainly grease the wheels.

Loralie Hall said...

Your first question is easy - but it looks like you already have the answers ^_^

Your second question...I've been thinking about this lately...I certainly don't think it hurts, though from what I've seen most of us are building a platform with other writers, not with our final audience. Great to get them to spread the word, but I don't know how easy it is to reach the final audience (not to say we don't all read, but we're only a % of the population) without there being a solid piece/publication to let them absorb.

I know it's different in non-fiction, where platform is such a key element to start, but I think as fiction writers, the best thing we can do is know people we like and who support our dream will help us spread the word once we do have something to sell.

Anita Grace Howard said...

You have every right to ask two with all of the work you've done!

So, you've already had number one answered. As for #2, I once read an interview by Donald Maass that said platforming is more important for non-fic writers. Fic writers need to be honing their craft. Who could argue with logic from a literary rock star? LOL

Have fun w/the blogfest, girl.

Stephanie said...

#1 Well, it seems I'll have to break my two spaces after a period habit. Oh dear :)

#2 I think creating a platform is a must for any writer. It's my writing, my novel, who better than me to get the word out there. I think publishers respond favorably to knowing that you have a fanbase and that you're willing to market yourself. And after all, why not. I have fun connecting with people.

Unknown said...

I know my mom took a typing class back in her youth (you know, way, way back :P) and they did double spaces after periods and my mom STILL does it. But I've found when I was in elementary school we had "computer" class and the way we were taught was just the one space, so I think it's the single space after a period because it's so much simpler :)

Alleged Author said...

1. It's quite true (I think Kristin Nelson cited the chance in one of her posts) that we no longer have double spaces after periods.

2. I think building a platform before publishing is a great idea. Saves you the work later. :)

Emily R. King said...

Yes! Only one space! You can tell how old someone is by if they use it or not because everyone is grade school fifteen to twenty years ago was taught two. Now they're taught to use only one space.

Ru said...

Re the platform question - I don't know, I think it's a bit of a mixed bag. (I have to think this since I've been blogging for-ev-er and have had relatively minor success with it ;) )

I think the downside is minor (the danger of spending more time blogging/tweeting/etc than writing) compared to the potential upside (a community of friends who are going to help encourage you pre-publication, and hopefully a way to get the word out about your book post-publication).

Unknown said...

Yes, one period.

Platform building is building, right? So I guess it will take time. I do know agents love to see a writer with platform--fic or non. And a community will be faster at snapping up your book than someone outside. Basic marketing. So... yeah, it's important, I think, and it's fun too. But it's not an absolute must. Lots of writers don't build their platform pre-pub and still do well.

Deana said...

Wow, talk about making a person feel old:) I have totally dated myself. One space it is then!

As for the platform, awesome mixed advice. I think I like the idea that no matter what you are building as a fan base, you are gaining some great support in the writer world before, during and after the book deal. And hey, if an agent likes my book and my platform I've already built...all the better:)

A.J. Locke said...

When I learned about spacing back in Jr. High they always said two, but truthfully I never practiced that, I always used one space from school papers to my novels. I don't think two spaces are necessary these days.

I think it can only help to start building your platform early, whether you are not agented, or agented and waiting for the book deal or whatever. It can give you an edge for when you actually get to where you want to be, so by the time that book deal comes around you won't be someone who is completely unknown. For marketing that's a good thing to do.

mooderino said...

Yes to no.1.

Getting your name out there and starting to link up with like minded people is a good base to have, but I think it only really starts being effective and have somewhere to build to once you have a book to promote. Still worth being prepared, you don't want to be learning while you're trying to sell your book.

Unknown said...

I think the one space question has been answered. ONE SPACE

As for a platform before the book deal-that would be a big YES! I've published two picture books and I'm working on my first YA right now. By the time my first book was published I had made many authoe editor and even publisher friends. It was a breeze putting a virtual book tour together. Plus I've learned soooo much through mu on line friendships and even landed some ghostwrititng jobs.

Thanks for doing this!!

Deana said...

Great advice guys. Kathy your comment just made me wonder if you have to build different platforms for different genres you write. Whew, now that is getting over my head:)

Small Town Shelly Brown said...

1. I learned this about a month after starting my manuscript (it helps to have a husband who's a writer) and I am still cleaning them out of my work.

2. I made the assumption when I started social networking a couple of months ago that agents (who told me to start these platforms) just wanted to see that I am capable of handling the technology.

But there was a nagging doubt in the back of my mind so I emailed my friend who is in marketing for a publishing house. She told me that when she goes to show a book to buyers, that one of the first things they do is look the person up. If they have a lot of followers they take more interest in the book. She does both non-fiction and fiction.

Deana said...

Good to know Shelly!

I've got to say (as for question 1) that this fest has been great practice for one space instead of two after a period.

Amanda Milner said...

Ooh, glad you asked that spacing question! I was taught two spaces as well. And darn it, I'm not sure if I do it or not...I think I do. Funny how you do things out of habit and are not always aware you're doing it. ;)

As for your second question: it can't hurt to build your platform before hand, right? I mean it's that much less work you have to do after getting a book deal. It's awesome to have a support group and like minded individuals who can help or sympathize during your writing journey. And if/when your book is published you already have a community of writer's who will be happy to help promote your book. ☺

Theresa Milstein said...

I've heard about the no double-space rule also. But I'm so used to doing it!

I think it's better to build it beforehand. Better to have hundreds of followers than ten when a book is coming out, right? And if you're doing a blog tour, it helps to have relationships with other bloggers beforehand.

T.D. McFrost said...

Yes, only one space after a period. I have no idea people used to use two. That I found fascinating.

As for numero dos: a platform is that extra step to reach your audience. The ultimate goal is to have your readers spread the word--and, hopefully, increase sales--but you should never rely on it. In the end, it is the quality of the work that will stand out, as well as many other factors, including its genre, target audience, writing, publishing climate and, of course, luck.

Likewise, you don't need a platform to get a book deal. Many new and emerging bloggers started blogging after it. However, it has been proven that promoting your work on writing blogs DOES help spread the word, and hopefully boost sales. Either way, having a platform before the book deal depends on your personal taste. Some people are naturally adept at social media, while some prefer to deal with it after the fact (when they have a reason to).

Catherine Johnson said...

I've known for about a year about one space, I think someone should have put a note out on FB lol.

I think we'll be surprised at how much there is to do at publication time, a headstart now can't be a bad thing.

Christine Danek said...

Definitely one space after a period (I know they try to confuse us).
I think building a platform is key. Not only can you meet published authors, agents and publishers, you can meet other writers who can support and help with anything you need.

Christina Mercer said...

Yes, one space after the period, so many new rules!

I hear debates on the platform issue coming up more and more. I really think it's an important and useful tool to network these days. One of my critique partners landed her agent through a blog "pitch fest", and another crit. partner got a few full requests from blogging. That being said, I think we have to watch going overboard with time spent online versus time spent actually writing ;-))

Lori M. Lee said...

1. That is true! I read it somewhere on an agent blog.

2. I'm not convinced blogging or building a platform will hugely increase potential sales, but it WILL make me happier talking with fellow writers who are as passionate as I am about writing. I'd want to build my platform now b/c this is when I will have more time lol.

T said...

Following Time 4 Mommy. Hope you return the follow.

Kristi's Book Nook said...

I have heard it's one period after a space. And I am a firm believer of building a platform before the book is out. Thanks for hosting.

Unknown said...

One space is correct, but you know that by now. I am late to the party as usual. As to building a platform, I believe we can use every advantage we can get so yes, I do think it is important.

Trisha said...

I don't know about the period then the double space - all I know is that *I* don't use double spaces, and never have either. ;)

Laura Barnes said...

1. Yes, the one space is now the standard EXCEPT APA style has not adopted that. I am in school and we use the APA style so I have not retrained my brain. I will stick with the two spaces as long as I can, gosh dangit!

2. Build your platform before. I firmly believe that. You might write a great book that is "discovered" by millions on its own, but not likely. Marketing yourself before hand will help make your great book be discovered more easily. My blog is all about building yourself as an author and I invite anyone to check it out:

Angela Cothran said...

1. Yes--I thought about saying no just to be funny, but that didn't seem helpful :)

2. I've heard differing opinions on this. It seems a little cart before the horse to worry about a huge online following before you are even published. I know plenty of authors in the last year who didn't have any online presence until after they were published.

I think if you have an amazing book an agent won't care how many followers you have.

McKenzie McCann said...

TWO spaces after the period? O.O I hope not. If so, that's news to me. I don't put two spaces after my periods, if that makes a difference.

As for your second question, well, I don't have an official book deal yet, but I social network. I'm pretty sure Pk Hzero (sorry if that might be spelled wrong) doesn't have a deal, but she's a blogging and commenting maniac.
I don't think it's ever too early to blog, but you might be boring until things get moving.

McKenzie McCann said...

Oh, also, Deana, please don't include me in the story chain. I'll be away at summer camp without internet.

Michelle Fayard said...

Hi, Deana,

I think the double periods have gone by the wayside; in my day job I'm an editor who's worked for several organizations (my husband is former military, and we've moved a lot!), and each place I've been has asked for just one period, please.

I've just started shopping my first YA ms, and I'm concerned I've waited too long to start building my platform, but I wanted to make sure I could write something worthy of shopping before rolling out my marketing plan. From what I've read, agents and editors ideally want to see that you can build an online following before they offer a contract, so I think we're on the right track. :)

Thank you again for hosting an incredible blogfest; you're the best!


Kate Larkindale said...

I find the one space so hard! But I guess that just shows my age... I'm so used to the 2 spaces, I just go and find/replace after I'm done. I find it easier to read with 2.

Platform is important, but more so if you're writing non-fiction. As a fiction writer, focusing on writing is the most important thing. Platform can come later. But if you're the kind of person who likes that kind of thing, and you have time, by al means, go for it!

lindy said...

I'm feeling a little miffed right now. My mother's been at it again. She's Obi Wan, waving her hand in front of my face, but instead of saying: "These aren't the droids you're looking for", she's saying: "You must place two spaces after each period, everyone knows that."

Lol, now I get to respectfully tell her I was right (for once). Don't get me wrong, my mom is awesome-part of the reason I believe everything she says. :P

In regard to the platform quandary. I figure getting yourself out there can only help. I read somewhere that publishers are on tighter budgets these days and that many published authors are having to help with self promotion.

Leslie S. Rose said...

The one space rule was hard to get used to. I endured scoffing from my teaching colleagues when I broke the news to them. Some are still in denial.

To me the online platform is as much a learning piece as it is a marketing piece.

Book Lover said...

In regards to the second question. I think it's very important to develop a fan base. The more you are out there the more marketable you are :)

As far the first question... that's what an editor is for ;) my answer to everything lol

p.s. love you, hate captcha

marcie_ann said...

Okay, so can I ask a question that builds on your question? ;)

Platform is important, we know that. But if you are doing a non-fic, should you build your platform on the subject area? Or just do a platform that is all about writing in general?

Deana said...

you guys have helped me so much and made me feel so old at the same time:)

McKenzie, have fun at summer camp and hope you can make it back for the other fun!

Marcie - you ask a very good question. I wish I new what the answer was:)

Carrie-Anne said...

I worked at a newspaper for almost five years, and we always did single spacing. Now it sometimes looks like there's too much space when I see a double space. I use a single space after and before a quotation mark, but I still use double spacing after a regular period, from force of habit.