I posted a new writing comic on my So You Write webcomic today! Click it to read the big version.
This was inspired by a conversation I had with a guy online some time ago (before I got signed to any agents). He believed that the best way for me to get an agent would be to create a PDF of my entire book and make it available as a download from my website. Apparently if it got very popular that would totally make an agent want to work with me.
Never mind that agents and publishers tend to be interested in work an author has released to the public through their own devices--a.k.a., self-published--VERY RARELY if it hasn't sold a very high number of copies. The figure I've heard is around 5,000 copies sold in less than six months. (Sold. Not given away for free download.) Unfortunately, some people's idea of a lot of copies is around four dozen, and some people's idea of a lot of copies is a few hundred. They don't understand that buying a book without acquiring first worldwide rights is a different thing, and publishers have to believe you're worth it if that's the situation you're in.
Does creating a buzz matter? Not really, for fiction. That is, not really for getting fiction published. None of the publishers who have considered my work have asked my agent whether I have a lot of Twitter followers, whether I've gotten positive reviews on my short stories, or whether I am hooked into my fanbase on Goodreads. And furthermore, my agent didn't ask those questions before she signed me. Fiction is primarily about the book--and its marketability. The publishers are marketing experts. They know they can generally do a much better job than you can, though your job as an author certainly involves promotional events and social media. They do not make a decision to offer you a book contract based on whether your work is already popular.
And that's why no, I'm not putting my book up for download on my website. :)