Thursday, December 3, 2009

This Little Author Went to Market

Brr! Come in out of that cold wind, Marsha! Let me take your coat. A little pot of tea ought to warm up your insides. Do you have some writing tidbits for us to go along with the Christmas cookies we've been eating? Excuse the crumbs and carry on…

"There's no such thing as isolation nowadays, even for writers. Creating a platform and a web presence, particularly for nonfiction writers, is critical to the success of your book – and even to getting an agent on board. Many agents now admit the first thing they do upon receiving a nonfiction proposal is to Google the author. Do you exist in the cyber-world?

"These days, the most important tools a writer can have in their marketing arsenal are three-fold: a website or blog; Facebook; and Twitter. You don't need to be a technological genius to use any of them, but you do need to put in the time and effort to keep them current. There's nothing worse than going to an author's webpage that hasn't been updated since 1998; it's almost as bad as not having one! The best part of these marketing tactics is they're free. It may take you awhile to get your head around them, but getting on the web can create a ready-made market without spending a cent.

"Blogger and Wordpress are the two most popular templates for bloggers. If you're starting a blog and you want to build up your readership quickly, it's best to pick a topic and not stray too far. For example, if you're a travel writer, you may want to blog about travel destinations. If your expertise is in medicine, you can keep your readers up to date on medical advancements. You can throw in personal tidbits (it is a blog, after all) but stay professional. Keep in mind that potential agents and publishers may read whatever you write, so check your spelling and grammar. Make sure to add links to other relevant websites and put a button for readers to subscribe.

"Starting up a Facebook fan page before you've had anything published might seem a little premature, but you can use it as a way to advertise your expertise, articles or even promote upcoming talks. Share links, photos and build a base for future book buyers.

"Many have derided Twitter as nothing more than frivolous time wasting (and yes, it's good for that, too), but it's a great way to network with other writers, share links, and promote yourself at the same time. Just be careful: plenty of agents and publishing types frequent its pages, so don't say anything you wouldn't want a potential agent to overhear.

"Get into the cyberspace game now and when the next agent Googles you, you'll be everywhere!"

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