In today’s intro to Networking Week (Become a Networking Ninja!), writing coach and author Beth Barany talks about the importance of marketing even before you become published and lays out a simple, easy-to-follow plan for setting up your strategy.

What can an unpublished author do to promote when there’s no book?

You may think that book promotions start when your first book is coming out.

In fact, book promotions start as soon as you decide to be a published author.

If you just institute a few simple systems, you will be prepared to tell the world about your first book, lay the foundation for success for your entire writing career, and get noticed as being a writer long before your first book contract (or when your first book is released, if you’re an independent author.)

If you just institute a few simple systems, you will be prepared to tell the world about your first book, lay the foundation for success for your entire writing career, and get noticed as being a writer long before your first book contract.

Why should you start now instead of waiting until you sign your first contract? Or before you self-publish your first book?

After authors have signed a contract with a publisher, or self-publish their first book, they’re often scrambling to get a website up, their mailing lists together, put up social media profiles and gain followers, and complete their contracted books, all in a short span of time. Whew!

A stressful situation, to say the least. Maybe the author is even caught short financially while they meet all these obligations.

Marketing your first book and establishing a name for yourself can be a heady and overwhelming experience, especially while finalizing your first book for publication.

Like a mighty oak, you can plant the acorn of your success now, long before you’re published and let it grow steadily over time, allocating resources in a steady drip.

Like a mighty oak, you can plant the acorn of your success now, long before you’re published and let it grow steadily over time, allocating resources in a steady drip.

Why not do all you can to ensure your success and start building and growing your author career today?

Career-building activity, dead ahead!

Choose at least one action from the menu of options and tailor it to you. This article mentions four options:

  • Build your list
  • Write articles
  • Start a blog or site
  • Use social networking

My criterion for choosing what to do is based on what is fun for me to do.

My criterion for choosing what to do is based on what is fun for me to do.

Your criteria for choosing what to do to build your author presence—often called an author platform—may be different from mine. That’s great. What is your criteria for choosing what to do? Fun, freedom, ease, time?

Establish a Presence

You probably have an expertise besides writing fiction, so you can start being viewed as a writer now. This benefits you internally—you get to see your name in print—and externally: you get to develop a presence and a following, and even feel accountable to your new following. Even without a site, blog, or list, you can write articles for newsletters, your local paper, or blogs. You can start with your local writing chapter’s newsletter, if they have one, if you belong to the Romance Writers of America (RWA), Mystery Writers of America (MWA), Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers (SF&F), Society of Children Book Writers & Illustrators (SCBWI), etc.

Long before I started writing books helping writers, or was published in fiction, I wrote articles for writers in my local RWA chapter newsletter, Heart of the Bay, for the San Francisco area chapter. If you’d like to write articles too, you can also write for other bloggers. For example, I accept guest bloggers on my blog, the Writer’s Fun Zone. I know many other bloggers who do, too.

You can also submit articles to article databases like EzineArticles.com and ArticlesBase.com. (Click here for more info!)

Your Online Home

Whether you like it or not, nowadays we all need an online presence to be viewed as credible. Create a site that is sticky, meaning you change your content often and invite people to return and see what’s new. WordPress is great for this. I’ve seen Weebly used as well. Wix is another option. Inviting people to connect, comment and share is important because this helps you develop a relationship with your readers. While unpublished in book form, what do you put on your site?

The basics: a home page, a bio, an about your work page, tips for writers, and a contact page. Instead of tips for writers, you can also provide tips on a hobby or special interest that relates to the themes of your fiction.

Social Networking

Where does your prospective readership show up online? Go there and start interacting. Lots of your prospective readers are on Facebook. For those of you who hate Facebook, sorry. Facebook is a raging river (as Patrick Swerdtfeger says, author and speaker of Webify Your Business, now updated and re-released by Wiley as Marketing Shortcuts for the Self-Employed: Leverage Resources, Establish Online Credibility and Crush Your Competition). You may also want to consider Twitter, Goodreads, or LinkedIn, depending on the audience you’d like to reach. I recommend you pick an online site that you enjoy, and go there to chat with your friends, reach out to new ones, and share your writing journey, and favorite reads.

Build Your List and Use It

Author of Lady of Devices: A steampunk adventure novel (Magnificent Devices) and the All About Us series by Shelley Adina, asked me for my mailing address. That was years ago. Every time she has a new book coming out I get a pretty postcard in the mail. Many authors prefer to use an email list instead of a mailing list and have a signup box on their site or blog.

Mailchimp.com is an affordable and easy-to-use newsletter service to start with.

Be sure to set up an RSS feed on your blog, too. Also use your email system (Outlook, Gmail, etc.) to organize and make current all the contact information of the current fans you may not even know you have: your close friends, family, and community acquaintances. You could also use a spreadsheet to keep track of your fans. I recommend this as a way to get organized and take steps toward building a list.

The important thing is to be collecting folks and adding them to your database. Be sure to ask at your local writers’ chapter if you can add them to your reader database, like Shelley asked me years ago.

You can start your promotional efforts now. Use one of the approaches described here that you enjoy and stick with it over time.

After all, you probably wrote your book that way. Put down roots, grow your database and writer presence, and grow your mighty oak of fans with care and attention.

Put down roots, grow your database and writer presence, and grow your mighty oak of fans with care and attention.

Then you will be ready when you sign your first book contract—or, as an independent author, when you release your first book—to tell all your fans about the good news.

Activity

Pick one activity to start building your online presence and practice it diligently for one to two weeks. If you don’t like it, switch to something you think you’ll like better and take action on that.

This article is adapted from an excerpt of Twitter for Authors: Social Media Book Marketing Strategies for Shy Writers by Beth Barany.

Check out Twitter for Authors: Social Media Book Marketing Strategies for Shy Writers by Beth Barany…

A #MustRead intro to self-marketing for indie & unpublished authors #IndieMonth2017 #giveawayTwitter for Authors: Social Media Book Marketing Strategies for Shy Writers by Beth Barany
Published by Signum Publishing on November 8, 2013
Pages: 124
Add it to your To Read shelf: Goodreads
Buy or reserve your copy online at*: Amazon (Kindle)
Find the Author: Website, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram

Social media book marketing is key to building your author platform and to selling more books.

For many authors, the idea of sharing themselves with the world through Twitter and other social media platforms can be petrifying.

But in Twitter for Authors: Social Media Book Marketing for Shy Writers, you will discover simple ways to connect with your audience and potential readers.

In this easy-to-read guide, written by a shy writer, novelist and teacher, Beth Barany, you'll find the confidence and encouragement to step into social media and the how-to steps on what to say, how to find your followers, and how to present yourself in 140 characters or less.

With a focus on Twitter, the author takes you through the principles you need to understand to make this medium useful to your writing career.

Chapters cover such topics as:-- how get to set up your Twitter profile-- how to get comfortable with Twitter-- how to craft messages to get your potential readers curious-- how to build your network on Twitter-- how to use special tools like hashtags and chats-- examples of what other writers say on Twitter-- how to make best use of your Twitter time-- how to use Twitter to build your author career even before you're published-- and more!

Delivered in 20 short chapters, Twitter for Authors: Social Media Book Marketing for Shy Writers is designed to be read and then acted upon, so you can build your audience and your brand today.

*This post contains affiliate links you can use to purchase the book. If you buy the book using that link, I will receive a small commission from the sale.

About Beth Barany

Award-winning novelist, Master NLP Practitioner and certified creativity coach for writers, Beth Barany’s courses, programs, and trainings are packed with useful hands-on information that you can implement right away.

Beth runs the Writer’s Fun Zone blog, for and by creative writers, where you can download her free reports on book marketing and novel writing.

She is also the author of The Writer’s Adventure Guide, Overcome Writer’s Block, and Twitter for Authors.

Owner of the Barany School of Fiction, an online training hub, Beth takes great interest in how humans learn, create, and grow, and includes all her students’ life experiences, including the ancestors, into the moment. Visit BethBarany.com to learn about her services and products.

Check out Beth’s fiction and sign up for a free book here: http://author.bethbarany.com/

Giveaways!

These are open to US & international readers! Leave a comment on today’s post, then fill out the prize widgets below to enter to win these fantastic prizes! Not sure what to chat about?

  • Which activity are you most comfortable with, and are you committing to start TODAY?
  • Have you developed an online presence on any of the social channels Beth mentioned? Which works best for you?

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Note: This prize widget is shared between both sites, and you can get points for comments once per day. Which works out great with the schedule, because between both sites (here and GraveTells.com), there is one post every day. =) Visit and comment daily to hit em all!

DON’T MISS: Advice on becoming a full-time writer 

PLUS: Find out if blogging is right for you