Author Topic: How important is social media/web presence?  (Read 3275 times)

Offline liquidnonsense

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How important is social media/web presence?
« on: November 15, 2019, 09:00:31 PM »
I've heard that some agents take into account the author's social media presence and/or author website.  Is this true? And if so, what is one to do if one is a brand-new writer who is relatively reclusive and has no following whatsoever? I kind of assumed that was why one got an agent rather than just self-publishing or something. How does one simply "start" an author's social media presence, and is it necessary to get published?

Offline Mentha piperita

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Re: How important is social media/web presence?
« Reply #1 on: November 16, 2019, 09:37:31 AM »
Yeah. I have no social media presence at all, mainly because it's inadvisable in my line of work. Also because I'm lazy.

This question comes up during agent panels at conferences a lot and they always say the same thing:

For non fiction, a platform is crucial. For fiction, they only look at the book and it doesn't matter to them that much. Though they check it to make sure you aren't insane (so having a "well established" media presence full of crackpot theories and flying off the handle at people is definitely worse than no presence).

Again, that's what they say. I'm sure some agents do take a look and a well done, popular author's website might make you look more serious.

But it's probably not a make or break for fiction.

Offline liquidnonsense

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Re: How important is social media/web presence?
« Reply #2 on: November 16, 2019, 11:58:57 AM »
Again, that's what they say. I'm sure some agents do take a look and a well done, popular author's website might make you look more serious.

But it's probably not a make or break for fiction.
Thanks for the input Mentha!  Good to know—fiction was the right line of work for me then. I do have a pretty snazzy personal website but it's mostly focused on my music and web design, with only a small bit at the bottom about the upcoming novel.  Should I include a link in a query letter I send out?  Or should I only do that if it's specifically literature-focused?

Offline Sir Nessun Dorma

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Re: How important is social media/web presence?
« Reply #3 on: November 16, 2019, 12:09:04 PM »
Dear Liquidnonsense,
Please read the post "A few observations concerning literary agents-part 2" further on down this page. It may give you some insights, and let you that others are also concerned with this question/problem.

Offline JeanneG

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Re: How important is social media/web presence?
« Reply #4 on: November 16, 2019, 12:10:48 PM »
No links in your query letter, please. Agents hate them, and your letter could get flagged as spam. I guarantee that if an agent is intrigued, he or she will Google you and find your website as well as any social media posts, publications, interviews, etc.

That is a head's up for anyone seeking agent representation and/or publication. Be respectful and smart about your social media posts. If you're a celebrity, you can get away with sounding crazy, but if you're an unknown...

Jeanne
Debut novel, BLOOD OF A STONE (Tuscany Press) released in March 2015; winner of IPPY in national category of religious fiction and currently a finalist for IAN Book of the Year. My work-in-progress: THE DOUBLE SUN.
FB: https://www.facebook.com/JeanneLyetGassman
Twitter: @JLyetGassman

Offline NOT AGENT X

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Re: How important is social media/web presence?
« Reply #5 on: November 16, 2019, 12:16:40 PM »
Seriously who looks at that stuff for real???

How many authors do you follow on twitter?
And how any authors' websites do you check out?
How many people have had a Facebook page and abandoned it?

Much of this trendy media stuff is hyped and totally unnecessary.

Most of us read books based on reviews (written and oral) and read more by an author if we've liked previous books.


Offline liquidnonsense

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Re: How important is social media/web presence?
« Reply #6 on: November 16, 2019, 12:35:52 PM »
Dear Liquidnonsense,
Please read the post "A few observations concerning literary agents-part 2" further on down this page. It may give you some insights, and let you that others are also concerned with this question/problem.
I think that was the thread which directly inspired this one, actually!  There just seemed to be a lot of disagreement and anecdotal evidence in that thread so I figured I'd ask this specific question in its own thread to get as simple an answer as possible.

No links in your query letter, please. Agents hate them, and your letter could get flagged as spam. I guarantee that if an agent is intrigued, he or she will Google you and find your website as well as any social media posts, publications, interviews, etc.
Thanks for the tip Jeanne! Not worried at all about the "cleanliness" of my online presence, mostly just worried a potential agent will turn me down because I don't have any kind of dedicated profile or website for my writing.

Seriously who looks at that stuff for real???
How many authors do you follow on twitter?
And how any authors' websites do you check out?
How many people have had a Facebook page and abandoned it?
Believe me, I agree with you completely—I just hope today's agents do as well!

Offline JeanneG

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Re: How important is social media/web presence?
« Reply #7 on: November 16, 2019, 12:57:29 PM »
 :up:
Debut novel, BLOOD OF A STONE (Tuscany Press) released in March 2015; winner of IPPY in national category of religious fiction and currently a finalist for IAN Book of the Year. My work-in-progress: THE DOUBLE SUN.
FB: https://www.facebook.com/JeanneLyetGassman
Twitter: @JLyetGassman

Offline JeanneG

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Re: How important is social media/web presence?
« Reply #8 on: November 16, 2019, 01:01:45 PM »
Okay, I confess. I'm very active on social media. I have a FB author page as well as a personal page. I'm on Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn. I also have a website and blog, but my blog lists opportunities for writers and has almost nothing of a personal nature on it.

Many agents will expect you to have some sort of social media presence if you have a book publication in the works, but the best advice I can give is to find the medium that you're most comfortable with. Don't spread yourself too thin. Other than my blog, which I update weekly, I'm most active on FB and Twitter. The others I pop in on at random times.

Jeanne
« Last Edit: June 26, 2021, 10:34:13 PM by JeanneG »
Debut novel, BLOOD OF A STONE (Tuscany Press) released in March 2015; winner of IPPY in national category of religious fiction and currently a finalist for IAN Book of the Year. My work-in-progress: THE DOUBLE SUN.
FB: https://www.facebook.com/JeanneLyetGassman
Twitter: @JLyetGassman

Offline jcwrites

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Re: How important is social media/web presence?
« Reply #9 on: November 16, 2019, 01:04:17 PM »
Small presses with little advertising money and no distribution other than Amazon count on the author to promote the novel--i.e., they'll want to know about your web presence and your marketing plan. Larger presses not so much.

Offline liquidnonsense

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Re: How important is social media/web presence?
« Reply #10 on: November 16, 2019, 01:25:56 PM »
My agents will expect you to have some sort of social media presence if you have a book publication in the works, but the best advice I can give is to find the medium that you're most comfortable with. Don't spread yourself too thin. Other than my blog, which I update weekly, I'm most active on FB and Twitter. The others I pop in on at random times.

I have a moderately active personal social media presence, but I rarely if ever mention my writing. I mean, I could see myself maintaining an author page if I had some kind of following, but I don't. What would be the point of maintaining an author page with 5 likes? How does a not-yet-published writer gain a public following? Seems like a Catch-22...  ???

Offline mafiaking1936

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Re: How important is social media/web presence?
« Reply #11 on: November 16, 2019, 08:45:41 PM »
Small presses with little advertising money and no distribution other than Amazon count on the author to promote the novel--i.e., they'll want to know about your web presence and your marketing plan. Larger presses not so much.

Exactly what I was about to say. If they're obsessed with this stuff it means they expect you to do their work for them.

Offline Donnettetxgirl

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Re: How important is social media/web presence?
« Reply #12 on: June 28, 2021, 11:15:13 AM »
I believe if an agent/publisher fell in love with your story, it wouldn't matter whether or not you had a web presence going into it. Of course, they're going to Google you, because they'd want a little more information about you. But I don't think what they found or did not find would hinder their decision to take on your book.

I was worried about this same thing when I shopped my latest novel around. I had been out of the writing circle since 2012. I'd spent several years running a new business, and it wasn't until I sold it that I got back into writing. I only queried four publishers though. When I garnered interest from The Wild Rose Press, and after I submitted my full to the editor and she read it, she began to ask me about web presence and what tactics I had used in promoting my other book. I had been out of the saddle for a long time, and half of the tactics I'd used were outdated methods. Author promotion changed a lot since 2012. I actually voiced this concern to her. I was worried my lack of web presence and author promotion skills would keep them from sending a contract to me. That wasn't the case at all. She sent me the author promotion form and told me to fill it out to the best of my ability, and not to worry about it. I did and I got the contract.

Since then I have been devoting time to getting myself out there. I created a website, started a separate author page connected to my main Facbebook account, added a newsletter subscription page to my website, and started running contests to gain more subscribers. I started a youtube channel where I post contests and book trailers, and I am working on a promotion plan when the book launches.

I know the fear of this. And it wasn't easy to force myself out of my shell to begin promoting myself as an author. As writers, we are by nature recluses. But I sincerely believe an author is their best promoter. And I think it doesn't matter whether you publish with the big boys are the smaller guys, you've still got to promote yourself. It's all about building an audience. Once you have that audience, you have book sales coming out of the gate for each new book you publish. Being an author now isn't what it was years ago.

Everyone has to start somewhere. So, don't let starting from the ground up intimidate you. You might be surprised how much you enjoy getting out there once you get your first few positive responses. 


Offline Plane2Sea

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Re: How important is social media/web presence?
« Reply #13 on: July 19, 2021, 08:19:22 PM »
Some agents want to know that you've got a built-in fan base and others don't. I have a social media presence, but I struggle about what to put especially when I don't have anything published. I would advise - if you do get a Twitter account, don't engage in any political arguments, or make political comments. People have gotten into a lot of trouble and even called out for stating something political. Just don't do it.