By Amy M. Reade
I am sitting at my desk, wending my way through an ever-growing list of blogs, author/publisher/marketing websites, and social media sites before I get to the task at hand: my work-in-progress. This is something I do every day before I delve back into the story I’m currently writing, and it’s a crucial part of being a writer.
As much as many writers don’t want to embrace it, the fact is that most of us must have an online presence in order to find readers.
The first time I sent out a manuscript it was to a small press. I was still very new to the world of writing and publishing. Anyway, the acquisitions editor sent me a very kind rejection, stating frankly that when she searched my name online, nothing came up. That was the reason for the rejection: no one knew who I was, so there was no built-in fan base for potential readers of my novel.
She went on to say that an editor will almost always search online for an author whose work comes across his or her desk; if the editor finds nothing, that manuscript is automatically relegated to the dreaded slush pile.
After I received that email from her, I replied to thank her for her advice and assured her I was going to act on it.
I had a personal Facebook page and an author fan page within a week.
When she got that thank-you email, she wrote back to me. She said she was impressed by my willingness to improve and accept constructive advice, and she invited me to join a group of like-minded writers to whom she provides occasional (sometimes daily!) links to valuable marketing and writing blogs and websites. I immediately accepted, and being part of that group has been a fabulous experience.
She made it clear that members of the group are expected to visit the sites she recommends and comment on the posts. And she checks to see who leaves comments and who doesn’t.
And that’s an important part of having an online presence: it’s not enough merely to have a website or a blog or a Facebook page or a Twitter account. You have to comment comment comment on other people’s websites, blogs, Facebook pages, and Tweets.
It felt weird to comment on strangers’ blogs at first. After all, who really cared about my two cents? But the more I commented, the more I became a known visitor to many blogs and the more comfortable I felt leaving comments and engaging other writers in conversation. Now I don’t hesitate to comment on something if I feel moved to do so.
It wasn’t long before I had a website, too. And a Twitter account. And a blog (I call it Reade and Write). And I quickly learned that bloggers love comments from everyone who reads their work!
Is it a lot of work keeping up the social media pages and my blog and my website? Yes.
But guess what? I love it. I love every minute of it. I consider it to be almost as important to my writing career as the books I write.
What’s important to remember—and it’s easy to lose sight of this—is that an online presence is a process. I haven’t been an overnight sensation, but the list of people whom I reach on a daily and weekly basis continues to grow steadily.
And a lot of good things have come from the comments I’ve made on other writers’ sites. I’ve had opportunities for cross-marketing with other authors, I’ve been invited to conferences, and I’ve had lots of invitations to submit guest blogs.
So I continue to make my way through the long list of blogs and other websites that I visit daily. I look forward to opening my email every morning to see which sites have posted something new. I look forward to it because it keeps me fresh, it keeps me interested in the world outside my desktop, and it keeps my name out there.
Thank you for stopping by and I hope you’ll leave a comment below. Your two cents are important and I’d love to hear your marketing ideas and success stories! And I invite you to visit me online in any or all of the following places:
Amy M. Reade is the author of Secrets of Hallstead House, a novel of romantic suspense set in the Thousand Islands of New York State. She is also the author of The Ghosts of Peppernell Manor, another novel of romantic suspense set on an antebellum plantation outside Charleston, South Carolina. The Ghosts of Peppernell Manor will be released tomorrow, April 28, 2015. Her Social Media Links are Website: http://www.amymreade.com Blog: http://amreade.wordpress.com Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/amreadeauthor Twitter: http://twitter.com/readeandwrite