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Getting Hedge Witch Out There ...

Sunday, 19 September 2010

I haven't mentioned Hedge Witch, my first completed novel for a while. It's an urban fantasy/high fantasy that's currently wandering the mean streets in search of an agent or publisher. So far no luck, although it's had two agents request full manuscripts and a fair few of the "good but not right for us" kind of rejections. I don't think I'm ready to give up on it yet. I love it too much.

I've been thinking, instead, about trying to be more creative in the way I get it "out there". I'm clear that I want to stick to the conventional agent/publisher model here, but perhaps there is something I can do to try to build up a bit of a buzz. When I wrote the novel it occurred to me I might want to do this so I left a line in the text I could hook into.

At one point my protag Cait visits Danny, her definitely-not-a-boyfriend-oh-no. She has just experienced some fairly weird and scary events and has uncovered terrible truths about our own world and another. But she's worried Danny will think she's bonkers. Instead he's delighted :

‘You believe me?’ she asked.
‘Well, yeah. You’ve seen all those web sites I’ve shown you, all the crazy theories. I’ve spent long enough trying to persuade you to take them seriously. There’s this blog I read that talks all about this stuff. It fits perfectly. This monster must have come from the other world. And the book. And Jane too, don’t you see?’
‘I still can’t believe it happened,' she replied. ‘It’s like something from a kid’s story. Hey, maybe I’m dreaming, stuck in some nightmare.’
‘You’re saying I’m the man of your dreams?’
‘Ha ha.’
My thinking at the time was that I could write that blog I mention. It would be completely fictional but presented as fact : someone struggling to uncover the same arcane and terrible truths that Cait has stumbled across. It would be a completely separate blog to this and untraceable back to me, so as not to spoil the illusion.

I don't know, though. I wonder if it would work. Partly it would obviously depend on how good the blog was. I guess I'm in two minds about the plan and I'd be grateful for any comments. Great idea? Waste of time? Intriguing? Been done before? I'd love to know ...


  1. It could take up quite a lot of time without guaranteed results so I wouldn't do it unless you're going to enjoy it. Which I guess you might!

    But I do think it's a great marketing idea and I'd love to read the blog and help promote it.

  2. If its something that'll inspire you and your happy to put the effort in then go for it. If it gets a decent following then you might be able to mention it to prospective publishers. Is it something I would read? Not personally but that's cause I have zilch time for pleasure reading at the moment while I polish my MS, but thats just me - if I wasn't writing it sounds like a blog I'd enjoy following :)

  3. fairyhedgehog,

    Thanks for that. You sum up my dilemma succinctly; it would be a bunch of work, that's for sure.

  4. Nicole,

    Heh, I certainly understand about the zilch time thing.

    Thanks for the input, it's appreciated. I guess it would come down to how good I could make it.

  5. My first thought is that you'll get a load of weirdos who live in a parallel universe deluging you with their experiences. What could possibly be more tedious? Think of Noel in Frasier multiplied by a hundred.

    My second thought (and I've been mulling this over for a while) is that Hedge Witch isn't a compelling enough title. It sounds like a working stand-in while you think of the real one. You can do more with it. Only my opinion, as ever! Sue

  6. Sue,

    Yes, I see your point. I'll take that as a no vote.

    Interesting comment about the title : that's one for me to mull over. Thanks.

  7. Gosh - I think it's a fab idea but wouldn't it be better to link it to your book rather than pretend it's a new blog and nothing to do with you? Like a little disclaimer or header or note so that people who will read it will know for certain that it's a work of fiction that will be part of your book about to be published so if they would like to know more, click here etc.

    GOOD LUCK!!!

    Take care

  8. Old Kitty,

    Do you think it would? Gosh, I honestly hadn't thought of that but I suppose that makes a lot of sense. Hmmm ...

  9. A touch of the Orson Welles! Unless you link it to the book, don't you think?

  10. I totally agree with Old Kitty!! I LOVE the idea altogether!! If I were to read the book {which, by the way, I am already dying to... get this thing published!} I would absolutely run to the nearest computer to read the blog. If it were me, I would have a blast creating the blog to go with the book. Do it!

    On the title... I have a book called Hedge Witch {it's a kind of witchcraft 101 book about being a hedgewitch}. So, when I read your blog-post title, I thought of that book for a split second. But maybe most wouldn't have that book and think like I do. :D

    Good luck and let us know when the 'other' *wink wink* blog site is up and running. :) Go for it!

  11. Hi Simon,

    I think it sounds like a good and marketable idea, but I would for certain link it back to your own blog and book. Otherwise, like Sue said, you will get a bunch of *very* strange people.

    I worked at a publishing house as an intern, and read through unsolicited manuscripts. Things like websites and "extras" like a blog would not have gotten a book more than a possible second look; editors and agents are interested pretty much solely in content. However, it would be very marketable during publication. My advice would be to focus on your book and not use the time until after you get it published, because that's when it would actually help you.

    And I really like the title, but that's just my two cents :)

  12. I think this is a cool idea, and you should go for it.

  13. I like the title. I think it's unusual and evocative, though I suppose it's not exactly exciting. But does it need to be? A novel won't sink or swim with agents and editors because of its title, because titles are routinely changed.

    Simon, the blog's a great idea, but it would be a huge amount of work. And I wouldn't be a loyal beta reader if I didn't say I think you'd be better off spending that time on another novel. A tie-in blog is the kind of thing that can focus fans and create buzz for a book that is already published, but it's hard to see how it could help you place the book in the first place. Mind you, if you really want to do it, who know's what might spin off out of it in the end.

  14. Ann,

    Absolutely. The consensus seems to be I do need a link back to "me" though. Thanks for the input.

  15. M,

    Many thanks for the encouragement. It's appreciated. I'll certainly do my best to get the thing published.

  16. Bess,

    Ooh, that's interesting advice, thanks. I hadn't really thought about it like that but I can see the sense in what you're saying. Perhaps that's the way to go.

  17. Milo,

    Thanks for the encouragement. I think I'm going to spend some time planning the idea out some more.

  18. Thomas,

    Many thanks for your wise words. There seems to be a consensus forming that is a good idea ... but maybe not yet.

  19. Dear All,

    Many thanks to everyone who has offered their views on this idea. I'm genuinely delighted with how much useful advice I've been offered. The internet, as has been said before, is a wonderful thing.

    I think, on balance, that creating this other blog would make a lot of sense - but really only as part of a marketing drive once the book is (about to be) published. So, I'll do a bit of preparation work on the idea now but I think I'll hold fire on making the thing public until the time is right.

    Many, many thanks to all once again. You're all stars.

  20. hullo... this is my first time popping by
    (i always imagine myself with a plate of scones whenever i say that...)
    but good luck with your book...
    (if you were a closet stalker, i'd suggest finding a publisher's child and getting him (hopefully)hooked on your manuscript.except you would invariably end up in jail....where you could test that theory of bad publicity being better than no publicity...?)

  21. Hi pserean,

    Well, it's one approach! Must admit I hadn't thought of that one. Sounds like a good plot for a story though ...

  22. yes. a tom sharpe novel, im thinking...

  23. I think you'd have to look into the time/pay off ratio. Something like this could take a lot of time too, so you would want to really enjoy it and be in it for the long haul.

    I don't know how many queries you have sent out, but if you've been subbing for awhile and have only 2 full requests, perhaps it might be time to take another stab at your query letter to make sure it maximizes the book's hook factor. Just an idea. :)

    Love the cover pic you have there, BTW)

    Angela @ The Bookshelf Muse

  24. Thanks for that, Angela, and a very fair point. I have recently reworked my query letter, as it happens, but maybe it does need more work ...


I'd love to know what you think.