Guest: Bethany Ramos
Published and unpublished authors alike need to have one discernible skill to stand out in a sea of competition: the ability to market themselves. If you are a new author hoping to make a break into the publishing industry, you can take the first step in the right direction by creating a thriving online community. Agents and publishers alike will be impressed with your following, and you can use this to your advantage to sell your unpublished manuscripts.
An online community starts in social media and centers around your blog or website. To let you in on a little secret, a thriving online community can only succeed based on one principle: you must offer your followers something of value at absolutely no cost.
Before you panic, this doesn’t mean that you need to give away free prizes and go into debt as a struggling author. Quite the opposite! The truth is that social media users on the Internet are looking for something of value, whether it is a downloadable chapter of your book, helpful tips for up-and-coming writers, or even relevant blogs related to the publishing industry.
You must make yourself an undeniable resource of information to attract social media users to you.
In order to use this approach, you can begin posting helpful tips on your Facebook and Twitter profiles. Twitter is one of the best social media profiles to provide valuable information, so if you don’t have an account yet, then set one up right away.
When you tweet valuable information or interesting links to blog posts or headlines on Twitter, you will find that your followers are highly likely to re-tweet this information if it is of interest to them. This is the foundation that you are going to use to build your loyal following. In order to do so, you must make yourself an expert in your industry. This doesn’t mean that you need to have a PhD in journalism or even several published books under your belt. But it does mean that you need to do your homework, follow relevant writing and publishing blogs, and give helpful information to your social media followers at no cost.
Once your social media followers see that you are giving something valuable away for free, they will be automatically attracted to you. But your work doesn’t stop there! The purpose of providing this information in social media is to attract your followers back to your blog so that they can find out more about you and your work. This means that you need to publish high-quality content on your blog on a regular basis, which you can link to your social media profiles.
Once your social media followers visit your blog and like what they see, they are likely to subscribe to your RSS feed to stay up-to-date on the blogs that you post. Now you have them exactly where you want them. You have loyal subscribers to your blog that are a part of your online community.
Once a publisher or agent sees that you have a blog with a loyal following and an impressive social media community at your fingertips, they are likely to pay you even more attention. If you are an author considering self-publishing, you can use this following to your advantage to effectively market your books online.
Bethany Ramos is a full-time freelance writer that co-owns her own business, The Coffee Bump.