With so many aspiring authors in the industry today, it’s crucial to establish and maintain your presence as early as you can. Whether you’re self-publishing or working with a traditional publisher, you’ll need to learn what it takes to promote yourself and your written works.
However, writing a book, publishing a book, and getting your name out there are three very different things. Sometimes writers assume that once you’ve written and published your work, that already marks the beginning of your career as an author. But what the majority of writers don’t realize is that establishing your name as an author is also an essential process.
Here are a few tips to get you started:
1. Know your target audience.
You have to learn your market before anything else. Who’s more likely to read and like your work? How will you be able to reach them? What are your potential readers’ fundamental traits that can be a factor in establishing your writing career? Having these in mind will guide you in the next steps below, especially if you are only starting to learn the ins and outs of the industry.
2. Establish your online presence.
Once you’ve identified your readers’ general demographics, your next step is finding how to interact with them. Some authors have their personalized websites, but you can start small with social media if that sounds too much. Depending on your chosen platform, you can plan your content and branding. You can also set scheduled posts which build anticipation with your followers. With each post, you can include links to your book-selling platforms, for example, Barnes & Noble or Kindle, and other accounts through which they can contact you (e.g., for partnerships or interaction).
You can also join writer/reader forums and other online communities, which will enable you to get in touch with your readers or fellow authors. If you have already started in this process, try assessing if your brand still works for your audience, or if you may need to find ways on how to re-brand yourself.
3. Add a hint of your personality in your professional author bio.
Remember how at the back cover of each book, there’s a small section with the author’s photo and at least a few sentences describing who was patient and genius enough to write the world that drew you in? That’s the author bio, and you’ll need to write one yourself too.
Keep it brief (not more than 300 words), fun, and relatable. Your photo should also look professional – not too formal but not too casual and funny either. It should give your potential readers a glimpse of who you are as a professional writer with just the right hint of your personality to tell them you are, after all, a regular person as well.
4. Find ways to get genuine book reviews.
Usually, what do you do when you’re shopping online, and you’re not quite sure if the item is as good as it claims? You look at the reviews. Reviews tell you how well (or how bad) the product or the service is. And this works the same way for book reviews. The higher your ratings and the more reviews you have in reputable book-selling and book-reviewing platforms (e.g., Goodreads), the higher your chances are of selling your book to more people.
5. Connect with other authors and immerse yourself in a writing community.
There’s no one better to connect with than those who have already walked the path and succeeded. With how popular social media is today, it’s never been easier to connect with your favorite authors. Find the time to follow them, read their blogs, and even interview them if permitted. Immersing yourself in a writing community will also let you meet like-minded people with whom you can share best practices and even draw inspiration from when you’re hit with the most dreaded writer’s block (which is, in fact, a myth after all).
6. Keep honing your craft and be adaptable to change.
True to every skill, you’ll have to keep honing your writing to ensure that you’re not growing too complacent and stagnant in your craft. Try to attend training, contests, and even writers’ retreats. You will learn the ropes of writing, from drafting dialogues, character development to world-building (for fiction writers), or maybe you’ll know what it takes to finally write the non-fiction book you’ve been thinking of. There is always something new in the writing and publishing industry to learn, which is why you need to be adaptable to changes and trends that have the potential to affect your book sales and promotion.
Getting your name out there as a published author may not be easy at first. But with the right tools, the right platform, and with the help of the right people, you’ll soon be able to establish a name for yourself and finally get the chance to achieve the bestselling status you’ve always dreamed of.