It’s another Monday Marketing post, the day when I lay out ideas and suggestions for the best way to market yourself and your books.
Today I discuss some reasons why you should be cultivating an online presence (even before your book is finished!)
Are you writing to become a published author? (or are you one already?)
If so, you need to have an online presence. That is the be-all and end-all of it. You need to have a way for people to contact you.
Why would you make it so no one can contact you? What if you have a fan who wants to write you an email? Or maybe a magazine wants to do an author feature on you?
Not published yet? That’s fine, this should be done before you’re published, even before you’ve finished your book.
Are you Google-able?
Whether it’s a fan, a reviewer, an editor… someone may end up Googling you and they need to be able to find something.
Agents have stated that authors will pitch to them, only for the agent to find zero results when they have then Googled the author. That’s not doing yourself any favours.
Often agents will Google a writer so they can see if there is anything controversial or harmful information that could cause a publishing house to think twice about accepting you (so always be professional online).
Also, agents and editors want to know you are doing some marketing. Even Traditional publishing houses expect the author to do some of the marketing for themselves and their books.
If you can’t be found, it’s a safe bet you aren’t going to be putting in the required effort they want.
So make sure that if someone Googles you, something (good) needs to come up!
Where do you want to get found?
It doesn’t have to be everywhere. But at the very least you should have an author website and/or blog. Preferably with a paid domain name in YOUR name. I’ve discussed this before in my Author Website post.
Not sure what to do? Start small with WordPress or Blogger and create a single page. Something that states who you are, what sort of things you write and a way to contact you.
Don’t want to give out your email? Fine, these platforms offer a “contact form” option that links to your email.
Not yet ready to create a website or page? Then get on Twitter or get a Facebook Author Page.
This way you have a professional page specifically for your writer-self. Somewhere you can be professional, somewhere you can market yourself.
Are you reachable?
Having Twitter, Facebook and a contact form that drops messages into your email is all well and good… if you actually check them!
If you don’t go online much or have bouts of vanishing off social media, schedule time to check your messages, comments and emails at least a few times a week. Though once a day is better.
No point in pitching to an agent then ignoring the emails they send you. Agents and editors can have deadlines and if you miss responding to a message in a timely fashion, you may miss out on their assistance.
Obviously, don’t post really personal information. No home addresses or phone numbers, please. If you want to post an address, get a PO Box.
There are people who have dealt with things like stalkers, ex-partners and violence in their lives so may not want to put any contact details out there. That is of course, completely understandable and your safety should always be the first priority.
In which case, when pitching to an agent or publishing house, you may want to explain why you are not online.
However, this is where the Pen Name can come in handy. Choosing a pseudonym can be helpful as it gives you anonymity.
What are your thoughts about having an online presence?