I’ve just read the latest post on Rachelle Gardner’s blog Rants and Ramblings: Life of a Literary Agent with guest blogger Sue Harrison and it inspired this post. http://cba-ramblings.blogspot.com/2010/09/good-old-days.html
I’ve seen how much work so many established and debut authors put into promotion for their upcoming book. Even the best selling authors who don’t have to push anymore to make sales still understand the importance of connecting with readers and are active in social networking. Cassandra Clare is a good example of this – https://twitter.com/cassieclare
For me personally, I’m not at the stage of selling my work to the public, I’m still at the stage where I’m promoting my work to agents and publishers in the hope of establishing myself as a writer and getting Mishca into stores. It can be hard for Australian writers as our local market is so small. Our bookstore shelves are often dominated by international bestsellers and a high profile editor confirmed for me that we are producing less local books nowadays. But as an Aussie writer I still have a good chance of securing a publishing deal before I get a local agent (as long as my writing resonates with an editor) because:
- Our small market means that most local agents have a full list of clients already.
- Publishers in Australia have begun to open up for direct submissions, including two of the biggest publishers in Australia.
While good writing will always speak for itself, showing agents and publishers that you have the willingness and drive to promote yourself and your work can help you get a foot in the door. With just a few clicks they can research you on any web-based forum and see how you promote yourself.
Something I have done to help promote my work has been the use of a YA writer’s community to promote my work. Having 700 or so positive comments from your target audience and being voted as one of the most popular stories out of thousands of pieces of work on a YA site is great market research to present to a potential agent or publisher. Especially for agents and publishers in Australia as I can show there is international interest in purchasing my work.
It’s been a pretty good marketing tool for me in some respects as it has helped me attract the interest of one of the biggest publishers in Australia, who have asked me to bypass the regular submission process and send my full manuscript when I’ve finished my revisions (almost done – thank you Beta Readers!). However I am still on the lookout for an agent, but that is on hold until I complete my latest revisions. I’d prefer to have an agent before I submit because I know that then there is someone in the industry who believes in my work and can guide me through the process. But considered I will be querying at the same time I submitting to the publisher I can’t see it happening.
I believe the promotion aspect of the business is just as important before you “make it”. Blogs, Facebook and Twitter have helped a lot of people make connections. I have read of a number of cases where people’s online presence has lead success outside of the virtual realm. Hello – Juno! Get you’re self out into cyberspace in a positive way, cause you never know who’s lurking.
Knowing how hard the industry is I haven’t gotten ahead of myself to start planning Mishca’s launch party yet. But I hope to emulate Paranormalcy’s author Keirsten White, who has come up with some unique promotional ideas that have helped create book buzz before she even hit the shelves. http://kierstenwrites.blogspot.com/
So while my strategy of collecting market research for a fiction novel before publication has gotten me a foot in a door for a publisher, I know it will be my writing that must ultimately clinch the deal so – back to revisions I go (well to bed actually as it’s 1am in The Land Down Under).