I got my eyes on you

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.

Yes.

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.”

6 Responses to I got my eyes on you

  1. The following is no loosy goosy; it’s the twooth, I swear (a red swear; like a red sweater but different).

    I am in Who’s Not Who. There, I’ve told you. Easy peasy.

    But I’ve put away the dog brush. No more fluffing for me.

    Seriously, interesting post, thank you!

  2. There’s a synergy between our posts today, Lynn, even though we’re saying something different. Mine’s about personae / profiles / personalities and wanting to know what authors are like. I’m talking from the reader’s point of view and you’re talking from the editor’s.

  3. I see the beagle is leaking my upcoming posts again, Nicola.

  4. As long as the canine cutie isn’t leaking anything else, Lynn. Could make quite a mess of your paperwork.

  5. Sally, that’s a horrible thought! But haven’t you inadvertently revealed what the B does to terrible query letters?

  6. But haven’t you inadvertently revealed what the B does to terrible query letters?

    She eats them.

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