You don’t query in a vacuum. If you write a query letter and an agent is intrigued (congratulations!) the next thing an agent does is Google you or click on the links in your signature to see where it takes us.
A writer’s virtual footprint is their resume at that point.
Here are my ‘online guidelines’ for writers:
- Make sure you have a landing page. It could be Tumblr, WordPress, About.me or a website. You only need one, but make sure you have one that has good SEO–Wordpress or a domain name is best for that.
- Make sure you’re not a digital ghost. If we Google you and nothing comes up it makes us think 1) you don’t take this seriously and 2) that you don’t understand social media and the importance of an online presence and that worries us. It’s a red flag, because when it comes time to promote your book you should already have these things sorted.
- Social media isn’t for spamming your following, it’s for community engagement. How do you sell books through social media? Indirectly. When you have a following that likes you for what you post when it comes time to promote your book they’ll be happy to spread the word.
- Align yourself with conferences and organizations like SCBWI, WFWA, RWA etc.
- Agents have changed their mind about an author after searching them online. Yikes! How do you avoid that? Making sure you don’t have websites or blogs that are ghost towns. Post regularly. And regularly can mean whatever works for you (once per week or once a day, but no less than a couple times a month!).
- Being active on Twitter and Facebook means posting at least once per day, on average.
Don’t know what social media is right for you?
Tumblr: Ideal for images and short text. It’s a microblog.
Twitter: Great for short thoughts and sharing links.
Facebook: Perfect for integrating family and friends with your work, and sharing links that you have lengthy opinions about.
Pinterest: Works for behind the scenes thinks like character sketches, world building imagery, and visual content. Also, writing advice that’s image heavy like Tumblr.
Do you know the optimal times to post to social media?
Tumblr: Weekday evenings after 7pm-1am. Don’t post before 4pm.
Twitter: 9am-4pm weekdays. Peak time: Thursday and Friday at lunch and early afternoon. Don’t post 8pm-8am or Friday after 3pm.
Facebook: 6am-8am, Thursday and Friday at lunch, and weekends. Peak time: Sunday and Thursday. Don’t post 10pm-6am weekday or weekends after 8pm.
Pinterest: Weekend mornings and weekdays 2-5pm. Peak time: Saturday morning and Wednesday at lunch. Don’t post 5pm-7pm.
There’s your checklist!
[Info via Hubspot.com, PR Daily, Track Maven, AddThis.com, Social Media Week, Entrepreneur.com, Media Bistro, Fast Company.]