Are You Visible?

This weekend I’m doing a lot of sitting there and looking around. I’m in downtown Nashville at War Memorial Plaza for the Southern Festival of Books. This is the 22nd annual three-day festival with over 200 authors and an anticipated 20,000 guests, many of whom hope to be one of those published authors signing books some day at the colonnade. Those hundreds of books being sold and signed – how does word about a new book get out? How does the reading public find out about a newly published author? Who markets these books? Not the publisher.

The author markets self. And Self must be marketed before the author is published. Before an agent or publisher signs you, he or she will do a Google search on your name to see how often it comes up, to determine what kind of Web presence you have. Publishers can’t do all your promotion. They want some assurance that you will be able to help get the word out about your book (so they can make money).

The author should have a platform. This means that you have an audience, and that you have a vehicle in place to reach that audience when your book is published, or between books. This is important for unpublished writers!

A platform includes a strong Web presence, stories or articles you’ve published, classes you teach, a blog related to you and your writing that you maintain regularly, and any skills or experience you have that makes you an expert in what you’re writing.

How are you different from all the other writers out there?

What defines you? What is your brand? What is your platform?

Platforms take time to establish. Get started now! Write down on a sheet of paper your online involvement (social media) and reading audience, your publication credits, your professional affiliations, education related to your writing, any awards you’ve won, classes or conferences you teach, and speaking engagements you’ve had. Polish this up in a two-column format and keep it with you. Use it when you pitch a book. Update it.

Maximize your visibility as a writer.

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