5 Easy Ways To Market Before Publication

From all of your comments in the last couple of posts, I think we all agree authors can benefit from beginning to build their platforms before publication.

Blogging friend, Patricia Woodside, emailed me an excellent summary of the whole platform building effort: There are stages to being an unpublished writer. Not everything is prudent in the earliest stages, but we don't have to wait until contracted either.

In other words, if we're newer to the writing journey, we may need to put most of our energy and time into learning the craft and improving our stories. But as we move further along, it doesn't hurt us (and may even benefit us) to start laying a foundation for marketing.

I liked how Susan Reinhardt put it: As a pre-pubbed novelist, I look at platform building the way I viewed my hope chest years ago. I'm putting things away in my writing trousseau for future use.

Many of you also said balance is critical for platform building in the early stages. We're easily swept away in the numbers game, whether trying to gain more blog followers or facebook friends. When that happens we end up spending more time networking than writing.

So, my friends, how can we keep platform building in it's proper place?

Here are 5 Easy Ways to Market Before Publication:

1. Build Name Recognition: Getting our names "out there" can be as easy as joining online writing/reading organizations, participating in local writer's chapters, attending conferences (and volunteering to help at them), or writing shorter pieces for magazines. Patricia Woodside gave me the link for this article: How Unpublished Authors Can Build Name Recognition. The article gives several other excellent ideas.

2. Develop A Web Presence: When we think of web presence (read previous post here), most of us think of the blogosphere. While blogging is an important way to connect with others and stretch our internet presence, it's also one of the most time-consuming. I'm finding that I can make just as many, if not more, connections on Facebook and Twitter. Both take less time and are easy ways to keep in contact with friends.

3. Maintain Professionalism: We never know who may stop by our blogs or read our comments/tweets. If we're actively querying and connecting with agents and editors, we need to be prepared for a potential visit. Several agents visited my blog before I was offered representation. Some of you have had agent visits too. Keeping our cyber "homes" tidy and our communication professional are simple but effective ways to showcase ourselves in a positive light.

4. Start Getting Writing Noticed: I'm not advocating that we should post chapters of our books online. I personally don't think that's safe, nor do I think most blog readers want to take the time to critique the work in a blog post. Instead find critique groups, crit partners, or beta readers. Hire an editor. Enter contests. These are all helpful ways to not only make friends and get feedback, but to also possibly gain the attention of published authors or agents/editors.

5. Build Genuine Friendships: This is the best way to begin building a platform. I'm going to absolutely LOVE going into a bookstore, picking one of YOUR published books off the shelf, and taking it to the counter. You know what I'm going to say when I give the cashier my money? "I'm lucky. I KNOW the person who wrote this book." I'll just smile at the cashier's amazement and say, "Yep, she's one of my friends."

Yes, you are my friends. And more important than the marketing are the relationships we form with one another. The sales, the money, and all of the platform in the world cannot compare to the treasure we have in genuine, loving friendships.

Thanks for being one of mine!

Can you think of any other easy ways to market before publication? And which from my list are you already doing?

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