In the past few months, I’ve heard both editors and agents say the same thing -- today’s writer needs to be visible online. We are talking blogs, websites, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr, Pinterest, et al. You need to become a “social animal.”
No, you do not have to be on all of these, but you do need a “social footprint.” Editors and agents are going to check to see how many followers and friends you have. The more you have, the more attractive you are to them, because those followers and friends are potential buyers.
It’s a fact that publishers are not going to be doing much / if any promotion for new authors. The most you will get is the company publicist sending your ARC to Romantic Times, and maybe an announcement on the publisher’s webpage and/or Facebook account. Some smaller presses may be better at promoting new authors, but for the most part, all publishers expect you to help make sales.
So not only do you have to write your book, YOU have to help promote it too. This is NOT a bad thing. Nobody understands your book better than you. Nobody loves that baby more than you. And you can be as creative as you want. However, you don’t want to be “selling” your book all the time. You want to engage your reader. Let them to know you, to invest in you. To do this, you need to put yourself out there with a blog, website, and at least one social network account.
Website: Think of this as a bookmark for your information in cyberspace. Your website should include a bio, photo, links to your blog and any social networks. You also want to include a book list, and a “coming soon” page. You can also include excerpts of your works in progress or free stories. (Note: You should update your website monthly.)
Social networks: They are Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Pinterest, etc. Pick one to start with. Say you pick Facebook. Use your “writing name”. Follow all your fellow RWA/NYC members. Follow publishers, editors, agents, book clubs, other writing organizations, magazines, etc. You DO NOT have to post every day, but you should try to post about 3-4 times a week. It helps to get your name out there. And, you want to comment on posts by others, and “share” what others have written with “your” readership. This is how you make friends.
The good news is that for all of these, you can schedule your posts. So pick 2-3 days a month, when you are going to sit down and only work on your blog/website/social network. You can write four blog posts and schedule them for every Monday of the month. You are done! Same for the website: pick one day a month to update all your information. If you prefer, you can update as soon as you make that new sale or win that new contest. And, Yes, you can also schedule your posts on Facebook and Twitter and others. There are different “apps” that can help you with that like HootSuite.
Realize that you are not only a writer; you are also a social animal. And nowadays, your “social” skills are more important than ever. Be creative, and engage your reader. It will help sell your book, and will make you more attractive to editors and agents.♥
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Maria Ferrer is President of RWA/NYC and a PRO member. She has two websites and five blogs; plus, is on Facebook and Twitter. Maria is still learning to juggle them all. Visit her at www.marializaferrer.blogspot.com or visit her alter ego, Del Carmen, at www.mydelcarmen.com.