Monday, July 28, 2014
5 Common Myths About Getting Published, Part Three
***This is PART THREE of a five part series to uncover some myths about becoming a published author. If you missed the prior parts in the series, you can find part one here, and part two here. Make sure to come back next week and find out more insider secrets about the writing industry!***
The myths I've been uncovering are nothing new and you've probably already heard some of them before but it is always nice to be reminded of what is true and what might not be on the path to publication. When I started getting more serious about my writing back in 2010 I felt a bit overwhelmed with everything I had to quickly learn to improve my writing. Then I had to figure out the difference between agents and publishers as well as trying to determine just what they were looking for. By the time someone starting asking me what social media sites I was on and how many followers I had I wanted to scream! If you've ever felt like that just take a moment, take a breath, and realize you are not alone. While I was sorting everything out I ran across maybe one of the biggest myths of all...
MYTH #3. YOU HAVE TO HAVE A HUGE PLATFORM BEFORE YOU CAN BECOME AN AUTHOR
While it's true an agent or publisher will check to see if you have a website or blog and maybe even a Twitter or Facebook page, they know it takes time to build an "author platform". Rushing to get as many followers as you can but having nothing to give them in return will only result in leaving a bad impression with your potential readers. There is a general rule of 80/20 when it comes to social networking where you are engaged with others 80% of the time and only promoting yourself or your books 20% of the time. It will also depend on which site you are using as to what you might offer your audience. Here is a list of all the sites I currently participate in...some sporadically and some on a more day to day basis but all are set up to send me prompts of new posts I might need to be aware of. Probably while I sift through at least two to three hundred emails per day...;~)
Blogger (www.blogger.com)...this is where my own blog, ON THE WRITE TRACK (www.donnalmartin.com) comes from. I chose Blogger four years ago for one simple reason...it was the easiest blog site for me to understand. There are advantages and disadvantages to any one of the sites so take the time to do your research to find which one is best for you. Here are some other free blog sites...
Facebook (www.facebook.com) ...I have a personal account and a "fan page" listed under THE STORY Catcher (www.facebook.com/Donasdays). My personal account is for anything that interests me and the fan page is for my blog posts, videos or pictures I think my readers might enjoy, and anything writerly. I am also a member of about a dozen Facebook communities which include wrters, readers, and people sharing other interests I have and I comment on all of those as often as I can...usually 3 to 4 times a week or more.
LinkedIn (www.linkedin.com) ...I use this site for more professional contacts. I have a lot of authors, agents, editors, publishers, librarians, etc. on this account who want to connect with me. I also list my blog posts here.
Google Plus (www.googleplus.com) ...I don't currently do much with this account except list my blog posts. People add me to their circles and I can keep in touch with them as needed.
Koobug (www.koobug.com) ...I've just started using this site for my book reviews. It also allows you to set up an area to list all your books and there is book promotion area as well. I like what I am seeing so far.
Pinterest (www.pinterest.com) ...I really enjoy fooling around with my Pinterest account (www.pinterest.com/martidl) and currently have 47 boards for people to choose from. It's another place I can post my books and other things writerly as well as giving people a chance to see some of my other interests.
Goodreads (www.goodreads.com) ...My Goodreads account (www.goodreads.com/user/show/7122982-donna-martin) is full of books I've read over the years and is another place where my own books will be listed. I read the discussions but only comment occasionally.
Amazon (www.amazon.com) ...I have an account set up on Amazon through Author Central (www.amazon.com/-/e/B00KA7DS02) in preparation of my picture book release in January. It already lists Chicken Soup For The Soul: Angels Among Us edition containing one of my stories.
Some of these social sites I've used for years and others for just a couple of months. Yes, social networking takes time. Yes, it requires a lot of participation and some may think it only as a necessary evil. I'm very much a people person so I enjoy connecting with others. I love learning new things and participation in these sites give me the opportunity to be exposed to a variety of mindsets as well as other cultures. From a business viewpoint it expands my platform. Even before my debut picture book comes out next January I'll have put myself in front of more than 75.000 people amongst all the groups and social sites I'm active in. I can also count more than 4,000 follower from over 20 countries connecting with me on some level. It didn't start out that way. While that is HUGE for me, in the publishing world I am still a mere speck on the social networking radar but that's okay.
I may be tiny but I'm mighty and I'm continuing to get better at this whole social media thing so who knows what might happen over the next year?
What social networking sites do YOU use? Do you have a favorite? Let me know in the comments...