Writing isn’t easy. Besides going through the exhausting act of trying to pen that swirling mass of complicated plotlines and character backstory onto paper, you’ve got a number of other details to keep you up at night: a fitting title, the perfect author bio, to acknowledge or not to acknowledge…
And, to top it all off, you’re also constantly having to weigh your creative desires against your book’s marketing needs. Want your title written in red script on your cover? Better make it silver, since you’re writing a science fiction thriller. Or how about bright purples and pinks along the spine? Doubtful that your intended audience (paranormal horror) will spare a glance long enough to read the title, let alone the back cover.
So when did this become an author’s job?
Technically, it isn’t. It’s an agent’s.
An agent will learn everything they can about your book: the genre, the intended audience, the writing style and the length. For most (experienced, published) authors, it’s enough to hand everything over to the agent who will verbally dress up your book to earn a publisher’s ear, and leave the marketing to the professionals while they return to their writing desk.
But if you clicked on this article, then we’re willing to bet that you are not one of them.
Rather, you’re an unpublished writer; maybe even one who hasn’t begun hunting for an agent yet.
For writers new to the publishing game, finding an agent (and, at the end of the day, a publisher) is probably the most daunting task next to finishing your book. Luckily, Winterwolf Press has already given you all of the good stuff concerning agent acquisition. But the best way to get an agent’s initial attention — talk about the audience you’ve already built.
Only one problem: what if you don’t have an audience?
Don’t feel bad. You aren’t the first to raise an eyebrow at the fact that you are expected to build a swelling readership long before you’ve even finished your book.
Luckily, we’ve got a few ideas to help you along.
Cliché, we know. But if you’re going to draw in any kind of readership, then you need to be prepared to not just talk about your book, but yourself, too. Let your weird shine through and give your readers a face to associate with that name crammed into the URL.
Social Fresh put together a list concerning this very subject, and wouldn’t you know it, five out of their eight suggestions urge people to communicate with their audience and “Be REAL.”
Don’t Get Intimidated
So maybe you have a website, and maybe that website isn’t pulling in as many clicks as you would like. The reason behind this could be a number of things: bad design, poor social sharing, or – a common mistake of writers – too much word dump on a platform that’s been groomed to be a list of bullet points.
As Smartblogger.com said, “Beginners make mistakes. Just a part of life.” Just refocus, and move on.
Ditch the Facebook Page
Sure, a Facebook Page may be “the thing” to have (even we said so), but it’s a universal truth that one size does not fit all. And as an unpublished author, you may find that the buzz around your page is little to none.
That’s because the masses haven’t heard of you yet. The internet is vast – more than 3 billion people are plugged in – and since you haven’t stuck your foot into the cycle of finished book>agent>publisher>marketing campaign yet, that leaves you as the only one out there advertising your book.
With this in mind, consider leaving the Facebook Page creation for a later time, and flip the switch to allow followers to your Facebook Profile instead. With this nifty little function, you can start gaining followers (not “friends”) and keep your posts targeted by only allowing those that you want followers to see marked “public.”
Jane Friedman has a wonderful guide to Facebook just for authors, and she believes that you don’t need the page if:
- You’re an unpublished author or have very little work available.
- You’re new to social media.
- You hardly know what to do with your personal profile, much less a fan page.
Promote, promote, promote
If it’s been more than a few months and you’re still having trouble drawing interest to your social platforms, crack your knuckles and stir some up. Unpublished author Amanda Surowitz is very good at this – just take a look at her latest blog post.
Not only is she celebrating her novel-in-progress’ word count (a future book that her readers are very familiar with though they’ve never held it in their hands), but she’s also taking a moment to celebrate her “month of milestones.” And while a passerby on the internet might just hit the back button, the audience that Surowitz has been building for years will comment, like, and cheer her on.
Don’t forget that your potential band of readers are just that: readers. So the next time you’re struggling with a new blog post or find yourself grasping at straws to form a new “update,” just glance at the book you’ve no doubt got tucked along there beside you, and type up your thoughts.
After all, writers are readers too.