An agent’s job is changing as rapidly as the publishing industry itself. We’re carving out new territory for our authors and ourselves. The support we give our authors is more complex in recent times and if you didn’t think you needed an agent before you certainly need one now to help you with your online presence, digital strategy for ebooks and otherwise, negotiate tumultuous and evolving contracts, and all the traditional publishing problem solving.
With the limitless abilities to upload content and provide your readers with entertainment I caution against thoughtlessly self publishing. Even while you are pursing a traditional publishing deal and think that will be your main market your self published works reflect on your author brand more than you know.
It is all too easy, and unintentional, to confuse readers and the marketplace with a website that is ineffective as a platform, and self published work that doesn’t support your growing brand. Things like consistent visual identifiers between your blog, social media, website and cover images are the easiest way to create a brand. This being colour, logos, cover images, tag lines and more.
Think of your website as a hub for the spokes of your brand. One spoke is your blog, one spoke is your self published work, one spoke is your social media, one spoke is your traditionally published book. In order to get the wheel moving–and not clunking along–you need to pay equal attention to them and give them a consistent image that customers and readers can 1) understand what they’re looking at and be enticed to buy 2) fluidly move between the spokes and platform outlets to have a great user experience as an online visitor and a reader looking for their favourite author or to find a new one.
Always look at your online presence objectively: If you were coming fresh to this page would you know what’s going on or would you be confused? If you were coming fresh to this page would you know how to buy a book if you liked it? If you clicked through to Amazon or a blog would you recognize that these things all complement and support each other?
The easiest way to do this is cover image; make sure it’s clear in view and promoted through all your channels as the visual identifier. You are simultaneously marketing and promoting your book while creating a brand around it.
Consistency and simplicity is key. Let your agent help you through this.