QueryTracker Blog

Helping Authors Find Literary Agents

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

You're a Writer; You Need a Reader.

As requested, I'm starting a series of posts regarding social networking and building an online presence.

The next posts will cover the basics of social networking sites, social site etiquette, and tips on using your online presence to network effectively.

For today, though, I'm going to discuss a helpful basic tool: blog readers.

Writing a novel is a creative process, but getting that novel published is all business. So if you want to find an agent and publish your work, it makes sense to keep informed about the publishing industry.

Since you're hanging here with us on the QueryTracker.net blog, you're probably aware that there are many industry blogs and news feeds available online. But keeping track of them can get tricky.

That's why, in my opinion, you need to use a feed reader. If you don't use one already, GET ONE TODAY.

There are a lot of feed readers available, but the easiest to get started with are probably Bloglines and Google Reader. If you are already following the QueryTracker.net blog (i.e. if your tiny avatar is currently smiling at us from the sidebar), you've already got a head start with Google Reader. Once you create a Google Reader account, you'll find all the feeds from blogs you're following on blogger already added to your reader page.

It's very easy to add any other feed you'd like to keep track of... you just click "add a subscription" and type in the address of the feed you want.

You can subscribe to all those fabulous agent and editor blogs, news feeds on books and publishing, and all your favorite authors' blog feeds. If you like, you can organize them into folders like I do. Once you've added all your feeds, Google Reader (or Bloglines, or whatever reader you choose) will watch all those sites for you and compile any new posts for you to read whenever you want.

Fabulous! You can also star your favorite posts for quick reference. Uberhandy.

With my subscriptions, I always feel in-the-loop as far as publishing news goes. If you need good feeds to follow, there are quite a few industry blogs listed on my private blog. Most industry blogs will also have links to other great feeds to check out.

So if you're not already a blog reader guru, go feed yourself! And if you're all over Google Reader already, don't worry... I'm just getting warmed up.

Stay tuned for my next posts covering social networking and your online presence.

H. L. Dyer, M.D. writes women's fiction and works as the Clinical and Academic Director for the Hospitalist Program at a pediatric teaching hospital near Chicago. In addition to all things literary, she enjoys experimental cooking and composing impromptu parodies to annoy close friends and family. Click to visit her personal blog, Trying to Do the Write Thing.


Stina said...

Great advice as usual. I had to cut back on the blogs I followed, though. Not enough time to write because I was always reading the industry ones. Of course, this blog is read every day without fail.


John Sankovich said...

Thanks. I honestly didn't know how easy it was to follow blogs. Now I can stay better informed.

Angela Ackerman said...

I find the blog following tool makes it very easy to stay on top of blogs. I love it!

Tara Maya said...

Oh, good, I think I already started doing this accidently. Thank goodness!

Kate Karyus Quinn said...

I have found that the more blogs I follow the more and more important Google Reader is to keeping current on them all. Great post!

H. L. Dyer said...

Stina, I know exactly what you mean about the time cost with so many awesome industry feeds out there.

My reader program saves me SO much time. When I first started I was visiting each site individually... some of the busier ones multiple times a day. Having everything collected in one spot is a life saver.

But, with so many great feeds to track, it can still be a lot of reading, natch. ;)

Angela, If you like blog following, you'll love the reader. It's just as easy to use, and lets you follow any feed you like, not just blogger feeds that include the "Follow" widget.

Lisa Katzenberger said...

When I discovered Bloglines I swear it changed my life! Saves so much time. Also provides a safe break from writing. I tell myself, I'll just check what's new on Bloglines, that's it, no other surfing. But it's like hitting six sites at once, without all the guilt!

Michelle D. Argyle said...

Thanks for the great info! I follow 120 blogs, and have been using the Reader for along time. I couldn't follow all those without it!

Now how to keep up with all of those...

Anonymous said...

Ah, Google Reader. It's become an addiction. On a weekday, I easily get over a hundred posts to check, and I'm still adding more feeds!

Stina said...

I love the google reader, too. But there are some sites, like this one and Miss Snark's First Victim, that I can't wait to show up. For those ones, I go straight to the source.

Amy Sue Nathan said...

The online communities really fuel me as a writer, since I have no writers in my "real life." Sites like Facebook and Twitter have spread the word about my writing, garnering some attention for my work and some 'fans' if you will -- but blogs and message board sites have introduced me to real people like me. :) It's an integral part of my day.

I use Bloglines, it works better for me than Google Reader.

jams420 said...

Hi, do you have any ideas on how to publicize a blog? I started a blog but now I don't know how to let people know it's there!

jams420 said...

Do you have any ideas on publicizing a blog? I've started one, but now I don't know how to get the word out that it's there!