guide to blog?

So… I’ve been getting Agent Manners letters posted as comments in a few scattered locations, and not just when I offer to do the column. I don’t mind that they are showing up, per se, but I usually only do the column when I’m not crazy busy (as I am right now — and I should move on to the editorial letter that was next in line after the contract I just did, so I can make my paperwork pile shorter, so I’ll keep this brief).

It was suggested to me last night by the Official Sidekick, that perhaps this blog had reached the point where it needed an FAQ or some sort of guide. I was thinking I could include things like instructions for how Agent Manners runs, a link to submission guidelines, and perhaps links to some really well-received (like letterz from teh query warz – lolcat version or chock-full-of-info (advances – what they are really made of) posts. The thing is that the blog is coming up on 5 years (I can’t believe that!) and has over 600 entries, so I’d love a little help in identifying those posts, or any suggestions about what else I should include.

Is this a worthwhile endeavor?

33 responses to “guide to blog?

  1. Yes, I think it would be a nice addition. Nathan Bransford has something akin to that on his blog, with a few key posts on a scroll along the right (e.g., How to Write a Query Letter, etc.). In a similar vein, I think standing links in the sidebar to the posts you think to be the best or most informative would be great. 🙂

  2. It’s always useful to have a FAQ, I suspect, with one of the FAQ answers being something like “(If I’m crazy-busy, yes, you can say, “Psst, check the FAQ” to new posters who haven’t.)” O:>

  3. You know, a ‘greatest hits’ list is an awesome idea.

  4. The LOLcats post was hilarious. And, 315k word novel? I’ve been writing with the assumption that 100k +/- 20k was the acceptable range (though I see that 80k +/- 20k is getting preferred in some markets).
    A list of “don’t bother sending if..” would be really helpful. Not that I ever sent anything (gotta finish again), but I like those (more so when they are in a humorous tone).

  5. I think tags or a list of the most helpful posts would work, like Nathan has over at his blog. Then you wouldn’t be forced to keep answering the same questions again and again.
    I was actually looking for a specific post of yours last week to send to a writer and it took me about half an hour scrolling through your back posts to find it.
    You have a great blog, with a lot of helpful stuff on it for writers. 🙂

    • Which post was it? *curious* I’m open for nominations for the “Best Hits” list….

      • I will happily go through and pull up my favorites for you, at least the ones I find most helpful to me when I am talking to new writers.
        I still owe you a pitcher of beer when you next get to NYC.

  6. Certainly. That would be great. I told a friend to scroll through your blog just the other day. Your blog is chocked full of very useful information.

  7. Oh, yes please!
    Especially since I haven’t found an easy way to search your blog. Actually, is there a widget available on live journal for that (I don’t know, cuz I’m really a wordpress girl)? That would help a lot.
    Links to your extreme awesomeness postings (query wars, agent manners, hot topics) would be fabulous, too. 🙂

  8. 5 years?
    Time flies when you’re having fun.
    Blog organization, especially tags, is the key to a reader-friendly experience. A hugely time consuming task, but necessary, IMO.

  9. I vote too for either a FAQ post pointing back to pertinent links, or else appropriate links on your sidebar, or tags. Thanks for thinking of us. 🙂

  10. 5 years?
    Archangelbeth: Thanks for the heads-up. During my blog hiatus, I’ve been cleaning up/deleting tags and just leaving the ones on the posts I think are of the most interest to my readers.
    JJ: You must have been one of the first blogging agent pioneers. What if you set a separate blog for the agent manners posts, considering that these blogs have limits. Just a sugggestion. I see Janet Reid set up a secondary blog for query crits. And I just set up a secondary blog for book reviews.

    • Re: 5 years?
      Actually, I wonder if I was the *first* agent blog because I started in 2003 and Miss Snark started in 04 sometime I think.
      Not sure about starting up another blog since I also maintain my personal cooking one. I don’t want to over-extend myself in that respect. Plus I think of Agent Manners as a feature on this blog. Hmmm….

  11. I think that’s a fantastic idea. Maybe, after school lets out, I’ll have some time to scroll back and make some nominations. For starters, you could put this post, or another post explicitly asking for nominations, somewhere permanently visible?

  12. YES, it’s worthwhile! In fact, I looked for one before I ever posted here. Of course, it will also take a lot of time. 🙂 If you manage to squeeze the time to do this, I know lots of people will be extremely grateful.
    1. What you will and will not answer, including context. Do you welcome any question? Only those regarding the posts you just made?
    2. General advice about queries and synopses, including links.
    3. Consider linking in the FAQ to the other agent blogs you already have on your LJ?
    4. I know there are quite a few questions you’ve gotten multiple times; perhaps a list of those with your answers linked right in the FAQ could save time?

  13. Do you by chance maintain a local back-up of your LJ? In the even that LJ kerpoops itself …?

    • Is there a utility that both backups up an LJ and also helps to restore it? ljArchive works great for making a backup, but doesn’t seem to have a way to actually restore the blog if LJ goes kerplooey.

  14. I like the idea of a FAQ. I recommend doing it as one of those post-dated top posts, so it’s the first thing people see when they open

  15. A big yes!
    And you can ask volunteers to help you sort things out (like if you have 5 volunteers, each of them can focus on one year…).
    I’m volunteering, BTW.

  16. I would love if you went and tagged your entries. It would make any sort of FAQ or “greatest hits” thing much easier.
    I would be happy to volunteer for something like charlesatan has suggested. It’s a great idea to take the load off you, and it’s not unpleasant for the volunteers either; anyone who would volunteer would probably be happy to read it all anyway.

  17. Tags are the way to go. It might seem daunting to ‘tag’ 600 entries but once you define the tags your LJ should do the work for you by “showing all tags” and allowing you to simply point and click for each post.
    I know… it’s another item on your triage list… but don’t shoot me, I’m just the messenger or maybe I’m the piano player. I’m not sure.

  18. Organization by topic?
    While I think the recommendation to do something like Nathan Bransford with the “Essentials” list and a FAQs list is always a plus, you could try to sort your postings by category (especially if you already have volunteers willing to help you out). I don’t use LJ (though I read it), but that might be the suggestion to tag the blogs. A good format is available at my university’s blog for the Writing Center. See:
    In any case, I look forward to seeing this all get organized, because I’ve been meaning to read many of the back entries.
    Thanks for considering your readers!
    Nancy D’Inzillo

  19. Pick me! Pick me! I have volunteerism*, so I’ll volunteer. I’ll weed through, pull a few links, categorize them and send them to you by response in a week or two. You can then repost them, or tag them and use a page design that displays tags, which will solve the quick hunt for viewers. I cannot promise to go through all 600 in that time, but can pull at least a few to get you started.
    I totally understand the crazy busy thing. I’m just coming through the other side of one of those periods of crazy business.
    *It’s a disease wherein I compulsively volunteer. To date I haven’t found a cure.

  20. I think it is a great idea.
    Perhaps a section just of Agent Manners, so you don’t get repeat questions would be a good addition.
    And a “greatest hits” as someone else suggested.
    I would also say one with your posts on guidelines for submitting, writing, finding agents, etc.
    Do you want some help organizing? How can we help?

  21. Nah.
    I’m kidding. I just wanted to be different.

  22. Good idea. All the farmers and gophers in these parts vote yes.

  23. I would love to see a guide! Thanks for thinking of us newbies.
    Adrianne Middleton

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