8ball.jpg

In 1985 I started promoting my first authors and their books to the media. At the time I was a young publicist for a recognized Christian publisher. However, we weren't the biggest publisher on the block, and so I always had to work hard to find that unique pitch so that my authors would get the attention their books deserved.
  
That was a LONG time ago and let me say, publicity then and now are two completely different animals. Almost everything has changed, except perhaps the importance of finding that unique angle to pitch to get noticed.  But with the introduction of computers, the internet, email, and social media, the way to present your unique pitch is what has changed, and for the better.
  
Computers and email have made it significantly less expensive to send initial material to reviewers, talk-show hosts and other influencers.  That's the good news.
  
The bad news is that the number of authors hawking their book and interview ideas, and clamoring for attention, has increased exponentially.  With over 300 million books being published each year, you have to make yourself, your book and your ideas stand out. Being a good writer isn't enough. It's just a portion of that equation.
  
The game changer is now social media. For those of you who are somewhere in their late thirties or older, and who didn't grow up with a tablet at your fingertips or Twitter as a common form of communication, you may be stuck in "old school".  Nothing wrong with that in some areas, but this is not one of them. Social media isn't going away. Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Google+, Linkedin, Goodreads, etc. are all significant players in the promotion game...and guess what? Next week there will probably be a new one added to that collection. It can be tough to keep up. But it is necessary. So if you're not using these tools currently, if they are not in your marketing plan, then let me say you're already behind the eight ball. Let me tell you why.
  
If you are looking for a publisher, or if you have an agent who is presenting for you, one of the first things the publisher will do when reviewing your proposal is to checkout your website and your blog. Oops. Don't have them? Strike one. Next they will google you to see your digital footprint. If your Facebook account pops up in the search, guess what? They are going to research that next. Only have 500 friends and rarely post? That becomes a problem. Publishers will continue their "search" for you through the various social media outlets, ezines, etc. Hopefully you will show up. Unfortunately, most authors don't.
  
Think I'm kidding on the importance of this aspect? Click here to see the social media questionnaire that a publisher recently sent me this week for one of my authors to complete for a proposal I had just submitted on their behalf. The questions asked in the questionnaire are indicative of what I am consistently asked by all the publishers as they "check out" my authors. This information is becoming a major part of the review and approval process by manuscript selection committees.
  
Let me state again that great writing is only a part of the review process. The author's platform-what they bring to the table in the way of audience, contacts, speaking engagements, social media database, etc.--are the other equally important part of the equation and decision making process.
  
If you have no social media platform or significant digital footprint, it usually means no publishing contract offer...even if you've got a really good book and are a really good writer.
  
The next often asked question from authors and clients is, "When should I start the process?" Too often writers get started AFTER they complete their book. That is really too late to start the process as you are already "behind the eight ball". You're ready to sell your book or print your book, but you're not ready to market your book effectively. 
  
Once you have completed your book, most authors are just itching to get it out to the public. They don't want to delay to take the time needed to finally build their social media presence...or they don't realize the time it will take to build this foundation and really get started. This is not an overnight process. Honestly, it takes most authors a good two years to build to the place they are really getting some traction and a synergy with social media. For some even longer, it depends how hard you work it. It definitely takes time, effort and some no how. It should be part of your daily regimen.  
 
Investing time to build this important part of your writing resume is just as important to your longevity and success as a writer as "keeping your seat in the seat" to write each day. It's not just about your book.It's about you as an author developing a fan base of people interested in what you have to say. You don't have to be famous to make this happen. Pioneer Woman, Ree Drummond, is a great example of a once "unknown" who through the process of trial and error, time, perseverance and hard work, developed a terrific website, blog and fan base. Today she has her own nationally broadcast cooking show, one of the leading blog websites, and four books under her belt. That's the power of social media...and hard work. 
  
Not sure where to begin? Call for a consultation. It's a learning process. But you can do it!