So, you got this idea for an awesome book! You’ve taken the time to outline it (or you’re gonna pants it), flesh out your characters (especially the antagonist), did your research for the various elements of your story, and definitely made sure to give your character flaws to overcome throughout the book. You’re even excited to write this epic tale and tell your friends who are equally excited! That’s awesome! Good for you!
At this point, you may think that the hardest part is overcoming the occasional writer’s block or engaging in the query trenches once your book baby is written and polished. However, those will not be your greatest adversaries in this writing journey. You’ll write your book, edit it into perfection, and set forth to publish only to realize you missed a key factor.
“But Carrow, my book isn’t even written yet, so I don’t have to worry about social media until then.”
The average marketing expert will say that you need to set up your author platform(s) at least two to three years before your book is published. The major reason for this is because you want to build up a community of people who are as excited about your book as you are. An author can spend thousands of dollars on advertisements, but nothing sells a book faster than word of mouth.
Social media can be very intimidating for new people, which is why I wanted to share information in hopes to show how feasible it is. If you already have several accounts and find yourself struggling, you’re not alone! Many authors are introverts and frequently struggle with tackling social media. However, once you get use to it, it’s easier to navigate.
"The real novelist, the perfectly simple human being, could go on, indefinitely imaging."
Bad news first: If you think your publisher is going to handle your website, marketing, and social media, you’ve made a bad assumption. More and more authors are expected (sometimes required) to manage their online presence and have a bigger hand in marketing their book to others.
In fact, my advice for many of you is to assume that even if you are going to be traditionally published, you still need to market yourself like any other entrepreneur. Let’s cover the major reasons why.
One, if you are not willing to market your book, why expect anyone else to? Treat your book the same way grandparents treat their grandkids. Talk about it and show folks you’re proud! Be excited! This is your book and you worked hard on it! Don’t let your blood, sweat, stress and tears go to waste.
Two, you can’t expect your publisher to pick up the slack for you. Kim Craft, who spoke at a panel in 2014 for self-publishing, commented that when she asked for help with various marketing strategies, her publisher came back with, “We only do that for the bestsellers.” She went on to further explain about how publishers will typically put more time and effort into the 10% of published authors who are guaranteed sales for the company and require other authors to sell their books on their own. It sounds dire, but that is how the industry works. Even if you intend to go the traditional route, I’d encourage to take the time to watch Kim’s panel as a lot of good information about the industry.
Three, some publishers will only sign you on if you have an online presence and have something bring to the table. There are a number of authors who have been published not because their work was revolutionary, but because the publisher knew their 10,122,072 YouTube followers would buy their book.
This is why social media and building up a platform are important. Authors need to network with each other and their potential readers to help build up that hype. If you seek to learn more about which platforms are best to use, and what each one can offer. Click the Part Two button.
Interested on books that go into the nit and grit of each social media platform? Here is a list of eight great books to start from:
Carrow Brown, author of Queen of Swords and Silence, is a military vet living in sunny Arizona with husband and dogs. She devoted to writing that both entertain and invoke thoughtful questions. She is bribed by tacos and always looking for a book recommendation.