You have chosen a fantastic occupation, here’s my stamp of approval.
But, but, but. Hold your horses, don’t get your panties in a twist trying to get out there and recognized.
I know, it’s exciting, but you’ll get your chance at the spotlight.
1. Watch and study how other public figures act. They don’t spout off personal things to just any old person. That’s incredibly dangerous to your future reputation. Watch your opinions. When you’re being watched by others, your opinions speak louder than they used to. Don’t say anything that will start a fight or make you look ignorant. Everything you say online will float around in cyberspace FOREVER.
2. Strongly consider a pen name. Once you put your real name out there, there is no changing it. People will find you. They will search for your personal facebook, myspace, and other social accounts. Anywhere you have personal things posted, remove them. No addresses, phone numbers, etc.
3. Wait until you’ve at least got something finished/near finishing to start marketing. It’s simple, a platform of any kind (followers on a blog or twitter, fans on facebook) is marketing. Waiting to have an agent or publishing company to start building your platform is going to get you behind on the curve. And don’t get discouraged because you don’t have hundreds of followers. That comes later.
4. It’s probably a good idea to start a blog/twitter/facebook fan page for your work. Like I’ve said in a previous post, don’t make one for every single book you’ve written/will write. That’s ridiculous. Go ahead and post writing tips to help your readers (make sure they’re factual), talk about your books and journey, maybe even post an excerpt. Be careful though, remember that everything you post can come back to haunt you, so make sure you’ve got all your ducks in a row before making anything public.
5. Get to know other writers. You’re probably wondering, how on freaking earth am I supposed to do that? Well, simple really. Join local writers groups. You’d be surprised how many there are. Join a writing website. And don’t start drama. Be professional. These are your future work-mates.
6. Find agents and editors, get to know them. Ok, now I don’t mean to stalk them and beat their door down with your manuscript and a batch of homemade cookies. I mean find their blogs, follow their twitter, they give away GEMS of information. That, and you really start to get to know them outside of just being a bloodsucking leech stamping REJECTED across would-be books. They’re human beings, they have lives and they have preferences. Find ones who prefer your type of book and use what you’ve learned about them to grab their attention. No, don’t say “hey, the dog in my book looks just like yours!”Creeper alert. Just use hooks that would draw them in, you should have a feel for who they are after months or even years of following their blogs/twitter.
7. AFTER your book is published (or during the publishing process) go ahead and make friends with the local librarians. Donate a signed copy of your book. They love promoting local authors. Offer to do some read-alouds or book signings. This is going to do one of two things. One, give back to your community and establish you with the library. (Librarians are asked for recommendations all the time. If they know you’re a cool cat, they’re likely to recommend your book.) Two, get your book read!
Alright, well I hope that wasn’t too long and that there was something in there you can take with you.