Note: My work with new clients always begins with a conversation on the options they have for publishing, the timetables associated with those choices, and the costs. The majority of my clients choose to self-publish for various reasons, among them that they are unknown, their work is simply for their family and friends, or they don’t want to wait to get it out into the world. I’m following up a two-part series by guest blogger Savannah Cordova on the pros and cons of each option with my own series, outlining the kinds of topics I counsel authors on as they consider which road to choose—self-publishing or traditional publishing.
Whether you seek out a traditional publisher or you self-publish, you absolutely must have an online presence these days to succeed as an author.
Here’s why that is important:
If you use a traditional publisher…
In the proposal you will be required to write to find an agent or a publisher, you will be asked to document the marketing opportunities you have, and the biggie your agent or potential publisher is looking for is where you are online.
They will want to know what social media platforms you are on—Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn—and how many followers you have on each channel.
They will want to see your website. They will read your content on your site and on your social pages. Because they want to know what you bring to the table in terms of sales. How many books might you be able to sell online?
Your online presence is a direct indicator of that.
If you self-publish…
If you self-publish, you will care about sales because it will 100 percent be on you!
Your book will likely not be in bookstores—I will explain my thinking on that another time—and so you will most likely be selling books on your own website. And you will want to drive traffic to it, and to Amazon, via your social media channels.
By the time your book comes out, you will need to have a strong following on the platforms you choose to incorporate. Or you will be posting to a very small audience, and you will get little in the way of results.
Regardless of which route you choose…
Whether you publish traditionally or self-publish, you will find yourself seeking journalists to write about you and your new book, and you will be seeking venues to do readings and speak—because those engagements help drive sales.
Everyone you speak with will want to know how strong you are in the virtual world.
Recently, as I was pitching an author to do a reading at a bookstore, I received an email rejection. “Your author does not have any social media presence. (Twitter: 4 followers, and Instagram: 13 followers),” she said. “Once he ramps up his social media, reach out to me.”
Enough said, yes?