No e-mails, please

As I research literary agents, deciding which to query when the time comes, I’ve noticed that some don’t accept e-mail queries.

Any idea why they do this?

My first reaction is that an agent who doesn’t accept e-mail queries isn’t Web-savvy, hasn’t reached the level of comfort with the Internet that I’d want in an agent. Why do I want an agent who’s Web-savvy? It’s not just that I hope to communicate with my agent via e-mail once she’s agreed to take me on as a client. So much of book promotion is now online. When my travel memoir is published, I plan to market it using my Web site, social networking, Skype (with book clubs), an online book trailer, a book blog tour, etc. I’ll expect my agent to advise me — or at least know and understand what I’m up to — during that process. Is it possible that she knows about all these online promotion avenues if she doesn’t accept e-mail queries?

On the other hand, I’m sure plenty of these snail-mail-only agents are perfectly capable of doing their jobs.

So why don’t they accept e-mail queries? Is it because that helps them weed out wannabe authors who aren’t serious enough about their work to send a letter via snail mail? Or they worry that a great query will end up in the spam box? Or are they really not Web-savvy enough to manage e-mail queries?

Can anybody shed light on this? Would you query an agent who only accepts snail mail?

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My book tour: via blog?

Traveling across the country to promote my book will be expensive, time-consuming and tiring. But thanks to the Internet, I’ve got another option for self-promotion: virtual marketing.

This month and next, I’m participating in a free online class where I’ll learn how to promote my book via a blog tour.

Once again, I’m a little ahead of myself. Yes, I remember that I still have to write the book. Yes, I realize I need to convince an agent to represent me. And yes, I am fully aware that in order to launch a book blog tour, my book has to actually be published.

But my attention span for writing is pathetically short, and this gives me another excuse to take a break to do something productive. It’s a skill I’ll need to promote my book in the future, so why not learn it now?

What is a book blog tour? It’s a schedule of virtual stops at blogs that are willing to host me, ones that cater to readers who might be interested in my book. A stop at a travel blog, for example, might include a Q&A with me about traveling alone. At a book-review site, the blogger might give her opinion about my book and then let readers ask me questions. A blog for writers could host me for a chat about the process of pulling together a plot.

The idea is to get as much exposure as possibly via blogs, as well as having a successful blog myself. This is just one aspect of online promotion, which also includes social networking tools like Twitter and a personal Web site like the one I recently launched.

Of course, I’ll share what I learn with you here at Aspiring Author.