Writer Wednesday: Five Small Steps for New Authors
Welcome to another Writer Wednesday! It's a brand new month, spring is barreling down the pipeline and, per the norm, there is a lot happening in the world right now. Please remember the world needs your stories too. We light and laughter. We need dark luscious distractions. Your words are an important light in dark places.
Getting into the business side of being an author can often be overwhelming. There is a huge learning curve figuring out how to market yourself, create and maintain a presence in social media, and engage readership on top of doing the actual writing and editing portion. But there are a few small steps you can take to start setting yourself up whether you are still querying, have signed or have a book coming out soon.
Five Small Steps for New Authors
Write Your Author Bio
It seems obvious right? You'd be surprised how many authors don't even think about it until they actually have to. An author bio can be trickier than you think and it's important to have multiple forms of your author bio on hand for different situations. If you have a short story or novella being published in a magazine or anthology, you might need a one sentence author bio opposed to the multi-paragraph space you are given in a book length text. An author bio can be inserted into multiple platforms from Facebook pages to Goodreads to event spaces and readings. Typically, you should have on hand a short concise one sentence bio, a short bio no longer than a paragraph, and a longer bio no more than two to three paragraphs where you can list any accolades or awards you've received. Your longer bios will need updates from time to time so having them saved somewhere for easy access and editing will be a boon. Small Step: Write your author bios*
Set Up Your Social Media
Love or hate it, Social Media can be a time suck and doomscrolling central, but it is how we connect and establish ourselves. It is also overwhelming trying to maintain a full slate of author social media accounts so narrow it down to one or two platforms. Keep in mind some social media leans towards different genres. There are actually a lot of thriving adult romance groups on Facebook, Tik Tok has launched several romance, na, and ya authors into the stratosphere, and Instagram continues to have a wide fantasy base. If you plan to keep your author side fully separate from your regular life, you will need to set up social media profiles to reflect that. Some authors might already have an established base on one platform but are just starting on a second and that is fine. Put your efforts where your audience is.
Small step: Set up your social media profiles, save your login info for when you need it and it's there when you are ready to use it.
Claim Your Author Pages
This is especially true for new authors with upcoming releases! Arguably comparable to social media but with far less maintenance, you can claim and personalize your author pages on big platforms like Amazon, Bookbub, and Goodreads. Bookbub & Goodreads in particular lend themselves to more interaction because you can recommend and review books, share blog posts and answer reader questions, etc. Goodreads has forums and giveaways. Bookbub is a hub for highly lucrative promotions & sales. But you don't have to do a constant upkeep like social media either. However claiming and setting up your author pages in these hubs gives you another place to link your website and social media making it easier for readers to find you for events, etc.
Small Step: Set up your Author Pages on places like Bookbub, Amazon, & Goodreads
Create a Press Kit
Whether you are self publishing Indie, Small Press, or Large Press, a press kit is a very useful tool to have in your arsenal. A lot of authors will even have a downloadable press kit on their websites for easy access. A Press Kit usually contains a good head shot (author photo), a short one sentence bio, a longer bio of one to paragraphs, important works, contact information, social media links, and any relevant accolades you wish to include. Press kits are usually for contacting local media outlets, for any events you apply or participate in, for libraries, or school visits. Having all that information set aside for easy access saves you a lot time and effort, though you will have to make sure you keep it updated as you go.
Small Step: Create and save your Press Kit
Brainstorm Your Brand
This is something I wish someone had told me to do as a newbie author. Branding was such a foreign concept to me and now its something I want every author to know about when they jump into this whirlpool of a career. Branding is a cornerstone of marketing. Your author brand helps you carve out a niche, and influences everything from the aesthetic choices you make in your visual media to building your website and how you market yourself. Think about what your style of writing. What links your writing together as a whole? Even if you write in multiple genres, there is often a thread or theme that runs through your style. Fierce female characters? Villains with heart? Sweet and dark delights? Think about a tagline or phrase that can say what your style of writing is in a single line. This doesn't have to be an overnight process or something that is set in stone. Styles and brands can change, but having a starting point is something to build on.
Small Step: Brainstorm a sentence that sums up your style of writing
These tasks may seem pretty straightforward and simple but they are often something we leave until we have to do them under a deadline. All of these above tasks feed into more complicated ones like building your author website. Putting these pieces together before hand can make a daunting task a bit easier when you have all the pieces ready to slot in or just save you that little bit of time and stress so you can spend time doing other things like writing. Remember to be kind to yourself out there and it's never to late to get started on your author platform.