Perhaps you’re ready to pitch agents or have already begun and have started getting bites. Suddenly, your dream of being a professional writer is closer to becoming a reality. What else can you do to prepare? I recommend establishing an online presence right now.
Step 1: Create an author page on Facebook. Befriend other authors in your genre, book reviewers, librarians, booksellers, agents, editors–anyone who could prove to be a useful connection once your book sells.
Trade Secrets of Facebook: On your professional page, avoid photo albums of family members, girls in bikinis, or scenes from poker night with the guys. You want your page, from the favorite quotation to the books you like to read, to be a reflection of you and your work. Don’t litter it with YouTube videos or political statements. Allow your daily updates to express your “voice.” You could even create a page using your protagonist’s name. By the time your book comes out, you’ll have 5,000 friends just waiting to buy it.
Step 2: Create a website. It’s never too early to put your work out there for all to see. For unpublished writers, I suggest a simple website in which the graphic design reflects the feel of your book. If you write romance, your website should be romantic. I don’t mean to sound overly simplistic, but I’ve seen dozens of author sites that send the wrong signals due to poor color choice and graphics.
Writing Resume Page: Like your Facebook page, keep your personal life private. Include a page that shows off your writing. Add links showing your flexibility as a writer. For example, even though you’ve penned an urban fantasy novel, you also have samples of newspaper articles, short stories, poetry, children’s tales, works on Smashwords, etc.–that have been published. This is your writing resume. Go ahead and post it.
Professional Associations: Here, you can mention that you’ve been a long-standing member of RWA or MWA, etc. Add positions you’ve held. You could also include conferences you’ve attended. This might be a good place to mention contests you’ve won.
Contact info: You never know. Someone in the publishing field might want to send you an email. If your current email address is email@example.com, you might want to create a new one that sounds more professional, such as JimBrown@gmail.net. Same goes for the name of your website. Use your author name or the title of your series. Try to keep it as short as you can.
Trade Secrets of Web Sites: Looks Are Important: Trust me, unless you’re an IT person, you want a professional to create your site. It costs less than you think and a homemade site often looks just that–homemade. You want sleek, polished, pleasing-to-the-eye professionalism.
Once you’ve got a website and a Facebook page that you routinely update, the transition from unpublished to published will be much smoother. You’ll announce your release, post a cover, and already have thousands of followers dying to pre-order.
The Boy Scouts knew what they were talking about: Be Prepared. And good luck!
(For ideas on website layout and design, feel free to visit my website–www.elleryadamsmysteries.com–or send an inquiry to my fabulous web designer, Brian. His site is jnairbdesign.com, and he’d be glad to answer any questions.)
Ellery Adams is the author of the new Books By the Bay Mysteries. The first installment, A Killer Plot, was released on June 1st.
In the small coastal town of Oyster Bay, North Carolina, you’ll find plenty of characters, ne’er-do-wells, and even a few celebs trying to duck the paparazzi. But when murder joins this curious community, the Bayside Book Writers are there to get the story…