In a previous post, I talked about how I play Inspector Gadget and check out agents in order to get a feel for the person on the other side of the query. I want to make sure they are the real deal. An author asked me if I do the same thing for authors.
Again, I want to get a feel for the person on the other end of that query letter. What kind of person are they? Are they going to be easy to work with? The production and promotion process requires a lot of trust on the part of the author and editor. If I have to worry about the author being loosy goosy with the truth, then I’m in trouble.
I had an author tell me they won a Pulitzer. Oh really? [she says, slinking her glasses down the length of her nose]. Know how easy peasy it is to check that out? And were they insane enough to think I wouldn’t? I invited the author to never darken my inbox again.
If an author tells me their last book sold 60,000 units, I’ll check Bookscan to see if that’s true.
I check out their comments on their blogs or writing boards. Are they troublemakers – meaning do they ridicule people and pick fights? Do they bash editors for rejecting their work? Do they bash books from my company (happened; pinky swear) and then turn around and query me? I look for any open doorway that will reveal “who is this author?” Mind you, I’m not creeping on anyone, but I need to know if an author will be easy to work with and has set a nice tone on the internet.
Over the years I’ve noticed a common trend; authors pad their bios. Sometimes a little , sometimes a lot – like my little Pulitzer winner, which was a total fabrication. I guess she figured if she was going to lie, lie big.
So with that in mind, you might want to take a look at how you present yourself when you write your bio. Does the internet present a different picture of you that you’d rather didn’t exist? Are you tempted to fluff yourself up? Well don’t. Please. If you don’t have a publishing credit, then stick to reasons about why you wrote your book and what ties you to your story in a way that would be useful to promotion. If you do have a publishing credit, be honest about your sell-through.
It could be the difference between, “hey this looks interesting” and “no thanks.”