What does it take to get your book published?
One, audience platform.
Two, book proposal.
Three, a manuscript
(For non-fiction projects, a writing sample will suffice. A full manuscript is required for fiction, children’s fiction, and memoir.)
And authors need to work on all three – platform, proposal and manuscript -- simultaneously.
It’s a bit of a juggling act keeping all three balls in the air during the pre-publication process, but all three are necessary to secure a contract for publication.
While authors worry most about their manuscript, the publisher focuses on platform first. If you are an author and want to know more about building an audience platform, we recommend you watch this video by Jane Friedman.
If you have a platform, they’ll look at your book proposal as a business prospectus. If they are convinced you have something promising, they’ll read your writing sample or request the full manuscript.
When you submit a query letter, one of the first things an agent or acquisition editor will do is Google your name. Verifying information about the author is only one reason. They also look for potentially controversial or harmful information that results from searching the author’s name. Whether or not the author has an easily found online presence is a top concern. If nothing comes up when using a search engine for the author’s name, the publisher or agent will consider whether it is worthwhile to teach the author to use social media and possibly have to badger them into using it.
So having an online presence is required, though quality of content and level of reader engagement is far more important than the quantity of Twitter followers or Facebook Friends or Fans. Getting the maximum return on your investment of time in social media is the primary objective of most authors.
Spend more time on writing and less on social media. To help you get more bang for your buck on social media, let me suggest the following tips and techniques.
Spend 10% of your writing time on social media. This includes writing your blog.
Respond and reply to create real conversation and personal connections.
When you mention someone else, their research, or their book in your blog, notify them with a personal email containing a link.
Four out of every five status updates should be about something other than you or your book.
Use your author accounts on GoodReads and Amazon to market your books. This is where readers go to search. Most people aren’t on Facebook or Twitter to be bombarded with “buy my book” messages.
Leave comments on others’ blogs if you hope to get comments on your own.
Spend as much time adding the people you already know to your social media networks as looking for new friends and tweeps.
Provide something of value to your readers. Inform. Entertain. Excite. Educate. Include photographs and links to related material.
Ask something of your readers besides buying your book. Get them invested in your success. At least ask readers now to sign-up for email updates.
It is more important to blog routinely than often. Blog no more than once a week and no less than once a month.
Social media metrics are one way in which audience platform can be measured. Acquisition editors and agents also look at:
an author’s publications in magazines and journals
endorsements from opinion leaders and social influencers
previous book publications and sales figures
memberships in organizations
participation in volunteer and non-profit activities
professional guilds or trade unions
sports and athletic teams
clubs and hobby groups.
Do you host a radio program?
Have you given a keynote address?
Is your blog syndicated?
Do you write a column in a newspaper?
Do you have an email list of interested readers?
Building an audience platform is one of three balls an author needs to keep juggling in pursuit of publication.
Contact Swenson Book Development llc if you need help building your own website, blogging more effectively, building your online presence, or more guidance or advice on audience platform. We also work with authors on their manuscripts and book proposals.
With a platform, a proposal, and a manuscript, you can count on Swenson Book Development llc to find the right agent or acquisition editor for your book project.
See you in Dayton this September?
September 26-29 is the 2013 Military Writers Society of America (MWSA) conference and this year it is again in Dayton, Ohio.
Swenson Book Development llc will return to this exceptional writer’s conference to give a presentation on pathways to publishing, offer one-to-one consultations to members and hopes to see you there.
Military Writers Society of America is a national organization that helps veterans, their families, journalists and historians to record the complexities of military life. Membership is open to anyone interested in books, movies, and other works related to military issues and the experiences of men and women in uniform. Veterans are especially encouraged to join and participate. Membership is diverse and dedicated with tremendous encouragement and support for writers of every stripe. The benefits of membership are more than book reviews, monthly dispatches, educational opportunities, and eligibility for awards: it’s the friendships you make, renew, and cherish.
Jill Swenson will present “Pathways to Publishing” to the attending members this month in Dayton. You can schedule a consultation session with her during the conference to review your manuscript, proposal, or platform. Contact Jim Greenwald (firstname.lastname@example.org) to schedule your session now. Spots are limited.
You can find them in all 50 states and 40 countries around the globe. Some look like birdhouses. Others like dollhouses, Scandinavian cottages, British phone booths, two story brownstones, Amish barns, tea shops, artist studios, and garden sheds. No two are quite alike. Some have picture books for children while others may hold Spanish language books. There are Little Free Libraries with a gardening theme and others that resemble the home or business in front of which it stands. It’s an amazing concept and quite simple: take one, leave one.
Pop-up book club.
Literary trading post.
Community book swap.
In Ithaca there are now four registered Little Free Libraries. This past week Swenson Book Development LLC transferred registration for #4094 to Amanda K. Jaros, a local Ithaca writer and book lover. Inspired to bring this good idea to our Ithaca community, Amanda involved her husband and son in creating a library using a repurposed wooden box earlier this spring.
Hundreds of books have come and gone from this spot on the greenway path from Helen’s Way up into EcoVillage on the West Hill of Ithaca.
Putting this wonderful community resource on the map just seemed right to Amanda K. Jaros, blogger for Funky Fresh Ithaca. Amanda is planning to write a feature article on the growing number of Little Free Libraries in our area soon.
If you are an author and want to donate copies of your books to Little Free Libraries, we encourage you to do so. Signed copies are especially appreciated and you can leave them in Little Free Libraries near you. For donations of larger quantities, please go to Little Free Library and fill out a Contact Us form. Rick Brooks will advise you on the best way to accomplish two things: promote your books [and receive a tax deduction for your donation] and distributer your books to many more readers.
How can you find out if there are Little Free Libraries in your area? The first place to look is the Little Free Library Map of the World. If you find a library in your daily travels and it is not registered, please do your part to urge the library steward to utilize the Little Free Library network services.
Here in Ithaca we recently discovered a new books-in-a-box library in front of the old public library building. Sharon Yntema took the initiative a couple weeks ago, as a birthday present to herself, to repurpose an empty advertising box on Cayuga Street. Massage therapist and author of New Vegetarian Baby, Sharon Yntema walks by the old library building every day on her way to and from the DeWitt Mall. She noticed the empty plastic yellow stand for free real estate brochures up against the colorful mosaic wall on the corner. After months of observing it sitting empty, Sharon wrote New Point Media Group in Georgia to request permission for use of the advertising box. Emails and phone calls went unanswered. So she put some of her books inside and placed a sign on the front of the box. So far no one has left any books, but Sharon says she’s refilled it several times from her collection of advance review copies of novels, slightly damaged new books, mysteries, bird books, philosophy, and psychology books.
If you are an aspiring author and do not yet have published copies to donate, it’s a nice idea to make friends with other book lovers in your community. Find the Little Free Libraries in your neck of the woods and get to know the stewards and people who read books.
If you’d like to join this global movement but there aren’t any Little Free Libraries near you, then please create one in your neighborhood. It’s easy. Here’s how.