One of the things that publishers are looking for when deciding whether to offer a publishing contract to a first-time or emerging writer is whether they have a public profile and an established track record – in other words, a ready-made base of potential buyers for their book.
So, as well as developing your idea and putting together a convincing case for publication, you should also be looking to develop a profile for yourself as an author. There are a number of ways you might do this – not all are essential and not all will suit you and your personality. Choose what works for you.
- Articles and op-eds for mainstream print media are a great opportunity to be part of public debate, to get your name out to a different audience and can position you as a leading voice in your field.
- Develop your social media profile. There is no doubt that someone with 20K followers on social media will have instant appeal to a publisher. Whether it’s Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or something else, start an account on the platform that is best suited to the genre in which you write. Use the account to direct people to other pieces of your work (published articles, any comps/awards you have won) and to your website if you have one. Don’t go overboard though and try to be the funniest, or the cleverest or even the most prolific, just try to come across yourself … and as a decent person.
- Be social on social media. If people comment on your posts, engage with them.
- Develop a blog or personal website. Or not. You’ll find all sorts of debate on writing websites about whether authors need a personal website or a blog, or whether social media is enough. If you do decide to develop one, ensure it contains a list of publications, contact details and try to keep it fresh and active. There’s nothing more sad than an abandoned website.
- Keep working at it. Developing your profile as a writer won’t be a once-off effort and don’t be disheartened if one avenue doesn’t immediately take off.