Author Jody Hedlund asked recently Is the Query System Dying? in a post that majorly bummed me out. (It was inspired by her agent Rachelle Gardner's 2010 statistics - ZERO clients signed through cold querying.)
One method that Jody recommended was getting to know agents through social media.
Many blogs discuss building a web presence prior to publication and the lovely Mary Campbell and I have exchanged emails about it before. Certainly I've noticed that bloggers who use their real name and talk about their process get a ton more followers than those of us who have to go psuedonymously.
Until recently I've had to stay private because of the personal nature of my blog, and I didn't want my students or employers finding me. But now that I'm about to quit my job and start querying, I've been considering using my real name.
I'm not sure that I'll use 52 Faces though, because the archives contain so many personal posts about my relationships, spirituality/religion, politics, and previous workplaces. I might have to start a whole new blog and do it all over again - hopefully some of you will follow me there if so.
Here are my options:
1) Use this blog but come out of the closet
PROS: Already have a presence and following
CONS: Too much private/embarrassing information in the archives ::watching former employers gear up to sue her::
2) Start a brand new blog using my full, real, birth name.
PROS: Build a network with the publishing community and possibly have agents remember me
CONS: I'm also planning on returning to the entertainment industry and I fiercely protect my privacy; I'm a little uncomfortable with the Hollywood people being able to find my blog since I'll still post some "life" stuff and pictures. Also, my former workplaces/students and current tutoring students will be able to find me and hear about my writing neuroses.
3) Start a new blog using a penname (that I'll make sure to include when querying).
PROS: All the cache of a real full name, but I can keep my work sphere separate still
CONS: When I query with my real name, agents will go, "who the heck are you?"
4) Stick with the original plan - start the public blog after I get an agent/my book sells
PROS: By that time I'll be rich and famous! Just kidding.
I can worry less about having to keep my spheres separate.
CONS: Possibly missing out on supposed (mythical?) magic connections through the blogosphere that will get me published.
What do you think, readers, especially fellow writers/publishing-folk? Do I need to get my real name or pen name out there right now?
Am I doomed if I try to cold query?
Do I need to become twitter buddies with all the agents I lust after just to get them to read my first page?