Chances are, if you have found your way here, you already know a thing or two about social media. I want to talk a little about you can tap into that experience to promote yourself and your work. A few months ago, I knew next to nothing about blogging except that teenagers use it to complain about their mums to strangers. That wasn’t the best advertisement. But after heaps of research and advice, I’ve discovered that it can be a hugely useful tool for writers, both published and unpublished.
If you are a published author with an established readership, the benefits of having an online presence are obvious. The internet is an essential tool for your fans to find about more about you and your work, as well as to keep up with your latest projects. If a reader has heard of your work and wants to find out more about you, they are far more likely to just google your name than they are to get down to their local library for information. So make sure there is something on the other end of the search engine for them to find!
And what if you’re unpublished? Social media and blogging is still a useful tool for you, even if you don’t have a finished book. Anyone who’s taken a peek at my home page lately will know that I am working on a teen fantasy novel. For aspiring authors, social media is useful for a few reasons. Firstly, it will set you ahead of the pack if you are already established online by the time you get published – you’re unlikely to have thousands of followers, but at least you will have a post history for your new readers to enjoy and a handful of people who already know your name and are at least a little invested in you.
The second, and perhaps more important, reason for unpublished authors to engage with the internet, is that a strong online presence is becoming more and more appealing to literary agents. If you have not yet had work published, or if there is a gap in your publishing history, you can use social media to demonstrate to an agent that you are actively engaging with the literary community. In this respect, you can think outside of the normal platforms like Facebook, Twitter or blogging sites. Try joining a creative writing forum and taking part in their online workshops.
Another reason agents are keen to see you online is that it means you are aware of the value of digital media. That likely means you will be more open to using it down the line and you won’t need hand holding.
For published authors, there’s plenty of news and marketing material that can be submitted online. But for those who are unpublished, you will have to try a little harder to get people engaged in your blog or social media. Since you have no readers just yet, you could try mixing news about your own writing with other related topics, such as book reviews, guest bloggers or, I don’t know, tips on creative writing and publishing?
It’s less likely that people will flock to your blog to hear about an unpublished work which they cannot access, so in this case, it is important that you are selling yourself as a person too. If people are already interested in you as a person, they may be more inclined to take an interest in your work later down the line.
One more tip I have for you is to try linking your various platforms together if you have more than one. For example, announce blog posts on Facebook, stream your Twitter feed to your blog etc.
Thanks for reading. If you enjoyed this article, please click like/follow, and join me next time when I will be talking about “Public Lending Rights”. In other words, how authors can make money from library lending.
As a side note, I also figured out how to add pictures – took me long enough!