Lately there have been a lot of posts about self-promotion and the marketing responsibilities of the author before, during and after garnering a book deal. It’s a concept that’s thrilling, that’s exciting, and that’s, well, very, very daunting.
But is it true?
Should we really be worrying about establishing a website/blog even before we have an agent? A book deal? Readers?
I think we should–and here’s one reason why:
As part of the materials I am responsible for delivering to my publisher, I was asked to fill out an author Q& A. I was not entirely surprised to find that several of the questions involved my own plans/ideas for marketing. Did I have a website/blog/both? Did I know of any specialty markets that might be suitable to my book, or have any ideas for publicity angles that could enhance my book’s appeal/broaden my audience?
I’ll be the first to admit, these are questions that I might have previously assumed were designed for the author of a non-fiction book with the all-important platform. Now it’s certainly possible that the publisher uses this same form for their non-fiction authors, but I think the better point is that ALL authors of ALL genres should be dressing their hat racks with marketing caps and wearing them frequently.
I recently read an article about Erica Bauermeister’s success in cross-marketing with her successful novel, The School of Essential Ingredients, wherein she explained how accessing cooking blogs and cooking schools proved to be a wonderful way to connect with readers, since her book has a cooking-based plot.
There’s no question that the subject matter of food is perhaps a more straight-forward subject to cross-market with than others, but in this day and age, I have to believe that every subject has an opportunity to draw an untapped audience. The point is establishing your web voice (now that you’ve spent years establishing your writing voice, right?) and shouting it from the rooftops.
Will not having a website/blog before you query agents put you at a disadvantage? Based on my experience, no. I began my blog within days after my offer, but I am glad I did. Most of all because I am delighted to be in the company of so many other writers and readers who enjoy sharing their passion for stories (and, oh yes, food and drink and all-around merriment) as much as I do.
So what does everyone think about all this author-as-marketer business? Excited? Terrified? Undecided?
Dear readers, do you “follow” your favorite authors on Twitter or “friend them” on Facebook, or do you find that whole business on the windy side of foolish?