My guy, you’ve just put a piece of yourself, bare, in front of the whole world. People need to be able to find you now. Some of the people want to be your friend, some of the people think you’re cool and want to silently watch your progress, some liked the one book of yours, and wanna see about getting more, some are even small town librarians, trying to invite every author in the state of Wyoming, to an event. *Ehem*
So I’m going to split this post in two. The point of view of someone who works in book world, and the point of view of someone who reads.
We’ll start with book world. I feel like it’s more straightforward. If I can’t find you on Google, I don’t really want to work with you. Simple as that. And I don’t mean that in a snobby way. I mean, I cannot find you to contact you. I don’t have time to rent a mule and trek up to your house. Look, I totally get it if you wanna live that J.D. Salinger life. Just vibe out in your hard to reach cabin in the mountains, and refuse to do interviews with the press. Buuuut you’re not going to get far in your career. These days, the modern author needs to invite the world into their office, make Tik Tok videos, and send thank you notes when the newspaper bothers to even look at you. You do need to be accessible, if you want to stay relevant.
Not only that, but if I’m the one hosting a giant author event, (not my M.O. these days, but you get the gist,) then you need to be able to tell people where to find your books when they get paid again. Are they on Amazon? Only on your website? Your publisher’s website? This proposes a unique challenge to authors who used vanity publishers. The kind of publisher where you buy 1,000 copies of your own book straight from a printing press, and then distribute them as you see fit. That’s a great option if you want to share, say, family recipes, and/or family history! My great grandmother did it with her auto-biography! It’s not going to go great if you want to share a fantasy novel with the world. By the way, if some snob tells you that that’s not “real published” smack them with your paperback. That wasn’t real assault!
Anyway, when you’re not using your books as weapons, where do you keep the mother cache? Can people access it without contacting you first? Some folks feel weird about that. Sincerely, publishing houses shouldn’t be doing the lion’s share of your of your advertising. Whether it’s traditional, self publishing, hybrid. That’s you. They need to do some of the advertising. Especially since with a traditional house, you’re getting, like 20% royalties, best case scenario! But it’s not right for you to lay back and wait for money to come either. It’s a partnership.
So secondly, as a reader: When I find your book in a trade-cache (like a Little Free Library) and it rips out my still beating heart, while I’m tipsy, after dinner, I wanna go nose around in everything else you’ve put out there! And let’s be honest, I will absolutely wine and prime books, especially if I’m still crying from reading the first one you wrote. Take advantage of stupid heads like me! Stupid heads like me want taken advantage of! Now if I have to email you for copies, even if they are free, because that’s what you want to give to the world, Immuna feel weird about it. What if I don’t like your work as much when I’m sober? What if you had a sophomore slump? Now you know where to find me, and you know I probably read your book. Feels weird, fam. Legit, Goodreads is your friend. Stupid heads like me can say “Wait, I’m mildly intoxicated. Maybe I shouldn’t buy thirty-two books of poetry by one human. I’ll just add it to my TBR, and maybe buy one a month.” I use Goodreads to keep me organized while I read. Even if you did use a janky vanity publisher (because most of them kinda suck for promotion) you can add your books, and yourself to Goodreads. I’ve had to do it with books I didn’t write so I can count them towards my 300 books in a year goal.
Anyway, this is me telling you to go get out there! Post some pictures to Instagram, click the toggles and send it to Twitter, Facebook, and Tumblr! Tell people about the dumb thing your cat did while he was jealous you were paying more attention to the laptop than him! I.e. Mine made me wear his tail as a mustache. Don’t worry about your social media presence, and hire me to do it for you! Post stupid updates about the book you’re not sure you’re ever going to finish before you freeze to death in one of these spring storms. Show us your wedding photos! People love wedding photos! Find a nice little start-up like Shepherd and put yourself out there even more! Make sure people can Google you!
So to recap: You need to be out there. At least a little. The more you’re out there, the more your books will be out there. The more your books are out there, the more your career will succeed. Go, fight, win!
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