When I first started out in the writing world, I had no idea WHAT I was doing to be perfectly honest. All I knew was that I wanted to write a book and be a published author. I had NO IDEA that there were so many strings attached until I actually sat down and started writing. I mean, first you have to WRITE the book, then they expect you to get an agent and/or a publisher (whichever comes first), and NOW they expect you to MARKET your own work? So, what gives? Isn’t your agent/publisher supposed to do the marketing for you?
Well, that answer my friend, is complicated. Yes, to a degree your agent/publisher is supposed to HELP you with the marketing, but in retrospect, it’s primarily the AUTHOR’s responsibility to get their name out there themselves.
You mean, I won’t be an overnight success? Oh, honey, it’s time to get off your pandemonium, and come back to earth! Getting your name out there takes TIME and DEDICATION. It took me OVER 2 years to write and complete my first novel, and another several months to find my publisher (and not everyone gets that lucky by the way!). I had SOME idea of what to do, because I went to a book signing by Richelle Mead (a NY Times Best Selling Author of the VA series), and she gave some sound advice…DO YOUR RESEARCH! She also gave us the link to the Predators and Editors website, which soon there-after became my second best friend. It’s a website that lists the majority of agents and publishers, and tells you who to look out for and those who will try and scam you.
So, I received an offer from an agent/publisher, what’s next? The next step is to DO YOUR HOMEWORK. Don’t rush to sign the contract right away. Yes, it’s exciting to get that first offer, but make sure you have your parents (if you’re living at home), AND an attorney look over the contract (ESPECIALLY if you don’t have any experience in preparing contracts or law, which about 85% of us don’t). Once you have had the contract thoroughly inspected, and you feel FULLY confident that said publisher/agent is right for you, then, and ONLY then should you sign. Because honey, once you sign that contract, THERE IS NO TURNING BACK!
So, what’s the big deal about social media? Who needs it? Who needs it you ask? Well, all authors need social media to market their work. Starting a blog, or podcast is a great idea to start making a name for yourself. Making a website to show off your work is also another good idea. At least 99% of authors have their own website; it helps boost traffic, and it helps get your name out there. Social gatherings are also a great way to market your book. Whenever I am with my boyfriends friends, he is always finding some way or another to get my work out there, and sometimes, they just bring it up randomly, asking me how my writing is going! If you’re serious about your work, and you make it known, other people will take you seriously too!
Networking is key! Make use of places like facebook and twitter! I can’t tell you how many twitter accounts I have (more than I probably should), and they are all for some aspect of writing in one way or another. As a writer, Twitter and Facebook will become your best friends. Since August, I have acquired over 400 friends on facebook in the writing community alone (probably more). I have over 700 friends on there, and the number keeps growing. I have over 300 followers on my personal twitter page because I participate in literary discussions and communities that help boost traffic.
Another thing that will help, is if you join sites like shewrites.com or bookblogs.ning.com. They are big writing communities that will help authors promote their work in safe and friendly and professional environments.
So, you mean I can’t be an insta-star? No, my friend, I am afraid that the answer is no. Becoming a respected author in the writing community takes time. You must ALWAYS network and market your work. If you get stuck, join a writing community or find someone like me who is willing to walk you through the steps of the writing world. I may have a publisher, but I am still learning the ways of the author myself. I am not claiming to know EVERYTHING, but these are some important tips that I have learned over the last several months, and that I feel are important for young and new writers to learn.
And remember, Rome wasn’t built in a day! Good writing takes time and practice, and A LOT of research. I am constantly reading books, and browsing websites of the same genre I write in, and I am ALWAYS learning something new! Just have patience, because if you are a serious writer like I am, then you are in for a long, and bumpy ride!