At the recent Harriette Austen Writer’s Conference, a new welcoming atmosphere towards authors who are interested in digital and self publishing meant a broader range of presenters speaking to the attendees on not only the options available to writers today, but also some key aspects of promoting one’s work once publication has happened. Amanda Luedeke, literary agent with MacGregor Literary, taught one such presentation on the importance of social media to every author’s career, traditional and indie alike.
“When I meet an indie author and there’s the potential to represent that writer, I would rather hear, ‘I self-published my book and sold five thousand copies,’ because that means the author knows how to market himself,” says Luedeke when asked about the crossover potential for authors who have already published their works on their own. “That is an author who has a following, and being able to show those numbers to a publisher will go a long way in getting the manuscript printed traditionally later.”
“Authors who are using social media, in any form out there, are going to be the ones who establish a career. Those are the serious ones.”
Luedeke agreed that the market for traditionally publishing books is getting tighter, mostly due to the advent of self- and digital publishing avenues that have made it even easier for more and more authors to pursue publication on their own terms. That means authors will have to be ready to take on a lot of the work of promoting themselves. Luedeke’s agency has even seen a rise in literary agencies promoting the digital publication of books that they represent and are passionate about, but that just haven’t found a home in traditional publishing yet.
“Social media for an author is all about generating buzz and finding a way to meet a need for his or her readers,” continues Luedeke, whose presentation at the conference was aimed at educating authors of all degrees on their options for an online presence and networking. “I use Facebook to show people in the industry what I’m doing because I have an entire block of a page to demonstrate my topic. But authors have to pick the channel that works for them, whether it’s Facebook, Google+, Twitter, or others. If an author can’t offer the readers value in their networking, don’t bother wasting time establishing all these accounts. Pick one at first and update it diligently so your readers—and people in the industry—know where to find you and your writings.”