Thursday, September 10, 2015

When To Start Your Web Presence

This is always an interesting question I hear authors ask. At what point should they start establishing a web presence? Do they need a website? Facebook? Twitter? Etc.???

There are a lot of differing opinions on this idea so let me say that my approach may be different from others out there, and, like everything in publishing, choose the approach that fits your situation the best.

First of all, let me say that exposure in this competitive market is crucial! You cannot hope to succeed unless authors can find you or your books. This is especially important with the number of people in the self-publishing market. As a reminder, I have mentioned this in the past here, but the number of authors "giving away books" on Amazon make finding a new author almost impossible.

But, as a new author, I am of the opinion that I would rather see you spending the time learning your craft, learning the business and getting to that editor or agent to pay attention to you. Even better, I want you to the point that you can get that first contract. If you are spending all of your time creating websites, blogging about who knows what, and maintaining that Twitter account, you are losing out on quality writing time. I promise you, when that contract does finally happen, you will wish you had that writing time back.

I know there are some authors out there who have been able to use their websites as marketing tools before they have a book to sell. I also know there have been some authors who have been "discovered" by editors or agents who "stumbled" across their websites, but those situations are rare. Editors and agents simply don't have the time in the day to "surf the net" looking for the next best thing. I would also add that we are interested in you coming to us, because YOU want to work with us. Editors and agents are not ambulance chasers.

Now, with that said, it is important that you keep that research going and think about what you want that web presence to look like, once you have a product to market to the readers. Look for those places where you can create a website. Take notes as you look at other professional writers and what they are doing. Have those notes in place, so when the time comes,  you are ready and not caught off guard.

Telling us you have a website and a web presence in the query letter is fine, but I will tell you, it is not going to make us like you any more. We are still looking at that first book and seeing if you and the book are the right match.

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