Are you ready to put yourself in the spotlight? In today’s competitive publishing climate, editors and agents are looking for authors who can sell not only their book idea, but themselves. So when you pitch your book proposal, you want to highlight your terrific writing plus the connections you have to personally help sell and promote the book. Here are some simple ways to start beefing up your author platform.
1. Have a blog—but don’t give away the farm.
If you can maintain a blog, do so. Think about showcasing your writing style and themes related to your book, without quoting it verbatim. Remember, one of the first things an agent does—like it or not—is Google a potential author to check his or her web presence.
2. Offer your services.
Does your book topic lend itself to lectures to nonprofit groups or other outreach into your community? Could you volunteer for an organization that relates to your topic? Might you read your children’s book at libraries or schools, or do a demo of your cookbook recipes for a charity event? All of these simple efforts increase your exposure.
3. Become an expert in your field.
You should know your book topic better than anyone. Sign up for a Google Alert on keywords related to your topic, and stay apprised of any mentions in the media. This works for fiction as well. Does your novel involve performance art, adventure travel, birdwatching, or the Korean music scene? Make sure you’re keeping up with what people are saying on your subject, and you’ll know where to find those folks when your book comes out.
4. Seek out publicity opportunities.
If you’re positioning yourself as an expert on a subject, offer to act like one. Offer to write guest posts on blogs where your future book-buying audience may hang out. Sign up for HARO (Help A Reporter Out), and answer the call when someone needs a quote on your subject. Pitch yourself to local media when you hear they’re doing a story that relates to your book.
5. Dig deep into your background.
Sometimes, we forget how many skills we have or people we know. Spend some quality time thinking of previous job experience, personal connections, and media contacts that might be of interest to a publisher or agent. Keep notes on all this, so you can fold it into your final bio for your proposal.
For more help on your author platform, check out our webinar on the subject, or join us Feb. 9 for our all-day workshop, 30 Days to a Winning Book Proposal, where we cover all aspects of a successful book proposal.