Yesterday at my CRW meeting we had a terrific presentation from Author Ashley March http://ashleymarch.com/ (look, I embedded a link!) and web-site designer Dianne Whiddon http://novelwebsitedesign.com/ (see, I did it again!) on increasing online author awareness. While that sounds like we need to be aware of all the evil authors lurking online, what it truly means is that as authors we need to increase our awareness of what we need to be doing online. This covers everything from the basic need of a website (so agents and editors can find us) and reaches all the way to blogging and facebook (so we can entice readers to us and our books).
Oprah says, first the message starts with a light tap and then it increases to a nudge and then moves to a slap in the head. Okay, I’m paraphrasing, she says it much better than that. But the point is, if as a business person you haven’t gotten the message that you need to be online, then duck! The baseball bat is next!
Ashley and Diane says all business owners need to be online, they need an online presence that is professional and aimed at their target audience. And as authors we are business people. That’s right baby, you are now a sales person. You are selling your book (your product) and you are selling yourself (your image). And just in case you thought you didn’t have a product yet, guess what. It doesn’t matter.
As a person thinking about selling a book you need to be out there now. That is the message that has been nudging me since September when I attended Margie Lawson’s Deep Immersion Master class http://www.margielawson.com/ (One more time!). I met a wonderful group of authors, all of whom are fantastic writers, but some of whom were very aware of their need to be online. And that wasn’t me. I thought that I could wait until I had a contract to be online. And as we know now, I was woefully uninformed.
As authors we need to be selling ourselves way before the book comes out, way before the contract is signed, way before you even send that puppy out to the first agent. As authors we need to be selling ourselves now. Now when we are pre-pubbed and don’t know anything, because as I’ve learned, you may not even get a contract if you don’t already have a web presence. Message received, loud and clear, no bat necessary.
Now I’m hearing that there is even more. Ashley says Twitter is for authors to connect with authors, and your website and facebook are for connecting with readers. All of this is important and all of it takes time to learn. Trust me. I’m stumbling though the learning phase right now.I’m now on Twitter. And eventually I’ll get a link on this site for that. Once I figure out how to do it. And look what I can do! I can put a book cover on my blog, next time I’ll get it right and it will take you to Amazon where you can buy Ashley’s book!
As a pre-pubbed author I am exploring the world of websites, Twitter, blogs, and Facebook. All things last year I would have said, could wait. And they can. But the longer you put them off, the more you’ll have to do in a very short time when you sell. And by putting them off, you may never get the opportunity to sell. Is that what you want? Are you waiting because you are scared? Don’t know what to do and are afraid of making a fool out of yourself?
Help our there for you. Website designers like Diane are happy to help you navigate the minefield of the web. And wouldn’t you rather screw up now, when its just you and me looking? Or would you rather wait to do it when your fans are glued to your site? Be brave, face the fear and take that first step. You might fall off the cliff into the blogsphere, or you might just learn to fly.