Let's talk for a moment about why it's so important to promote yourself as a Writer.
Every writer I know freaks out when they hear they have to promote themselves before they even have a book to sell. I don't blame them; it never used to be that way. You wrote a book, you found an agent, your agent found a publisher, and boom, you had a book.
It's a lot more complicated now. The marketplace is more crowded, and publishers don't have as many deals to give out as they used to. Publishers are skittish about making bad deals that don't sell books, and can you blame them when Amazon is selling books at a loss, causing them to lose out on necessary profits?
Imagine this scenario, if you will: You're an acquisitions editor at a major publishing house. An agent has brought you a manuscript you've absolutely fallen in love with. Time to throw some money at the agent and author, right? Wrong. You now have to send the manuscript around to second readers, which are usually other editors, the publisher, the sales department, publicity, and/or marketing. They're all instrumental in helping you decide if the book is right for the house. Once you pass that hurdle, now you've got to gather your data: similar titles, how those titles sold, and how your book might fit into the marketplace. Then you finally get to present to the editorial board and make your case for acquiring the book. Maybe the comp titles you pulled sold decent numbers, but they're not impressive. But you see potential in this book!
Now imagine how much stronger your case would be if you could say to the ed board, "The comp titles sold decent numbers, but this author brings in a devoted audience of X number of social media followers, Y number of newsletter subscribers, and here are a few samples of what her fans had to say about her writing."
Sold! You've just proven that this author brings a solid audience, and you've shown the house that this is a serious author who is intent on building a career and an audience for years to come. Now that is a solid investment.
I'll talk more about how to promote yourself as a Writer in future issues, but if you're gearing up to submit to agents/editors soon, shoot me an email and we can talk about how I can help.