Why an unpublished author needs an online presence

Do you need an online presence if you’re an unpublished author? Yes. Oh yes. Here’s why.

Social media wordle


4 reasons to start engaging with social media before you’re published:

  1. These days writers have to do their own marketing. An agent/publisher who likes your writing is likely to Google your name, just to see what presence you have online.
  2. You never know who might be listening/reading. If an agent/publisher has heard your name mentioned on social media, they might give your submission a little bit of extra attention.
  3. Readers are hard to find. If you can interact with a particular group as a fellow reader, they will have already hear of you when you make the move from reader to writer.
  4. If you make friends with other writers, you’ll probably pick up tips and bits of useful gossip. At the very least, you’ll see pictures of some nice shoes.

It’s a good idea to have a vague plan. I didn’t have a plan (or a clue?) when I started and I wish I had. My engagement with social media goes something like : Check Email every hour or so, check FB once a day. Sometimes go on Twitter (and inevitably get sucked in by something and waste time). Fail to do any writing. Eat chocolate. Feel fat. This is not a good plan. A better plan would be:

4 step action plan to start out with social media:

  1.  Get a gmail address for all your non personal stuff. (I love Gmail. Google Docs is awesome).
  2. Join one or two forums on Goodreads. Post on there often. Get to know people. Review books that you read.
  3. Set up a website with blog (see here for instructions). You don’t have to update the blog much until you feel you have something to say. You can get your Goodreads reviews to automatically post to the blog so that it gets populated without you having to do much.
  4. Start commenting on other people’s blogs in your genre. If you have to login to post comments, use your website as the login account so that people can track back to your site if they like what you say.

This way you only need to update Goodreads and/or comment on some blogs for a few days and eventually things will add up. 20 minutes each day (or most days), do one thing per day. Only do it at the end of your writing time or you’ll end up wasting all evening. Don’t be scared. You just have to dive in and hope for the best.   Are you terrified of social media? Or have you taken the plunge? How do you do it? Let me know in the comments.

10 thoughts on “Why an unpublished author needs an online presence

  1. Hi Rhoda, this is all very useful. I’ve already managed some of it – my book comes out in May – but not all. I have a blog for my playwriting activities and need to create one for romance. Struggling to find the name. It’s a bit like not getting properly started before you know the title of your book. Feeble! Also I’ve tried trillions of times to leave comments on folks’ blogs. This is the first time WP has come up of its own volition. Anne Stenhouse (Graham, RNA)


    1. I was pretty much the same. Didn’t want to do anything until I’d signed a contract.
      Just jump in and have a go. You can always pay someone to revamp your site once you’ve become a best seller!


  2. Thanks for the great tips! I’m just at the beginning of the process myself and wish I had established a separate gmail account first. (I’ll have to figure out if I can go back and do that now). I like the Goodreads suggestion — that will be my next step. Thanks again 🙂


    1. I’m glad you found it useful Arlene. I think WordPress lets you change the email that admin emails are sent to. I’m not sure how though. Try the settings.
      You can always set up the gmail account and use it to log into Google + and other such sites.
      Good luck!


  3. This is a useful blog for any writer – published or not. I have been writing a long time but social media is relatively new and I still have a lot to learn. How, for instance, can you use your web site address?
    Thank you for the tips


    1. Hi Gwen, I’m glad you think it’s useful.
      When you comment on blogs, usually have to give them an email address or you can sign in using Blogger or WordPress (your blog). If you use your blog to sign in, then anyone clicking on your name will be taken to your blog.
      You can make your website redirect to your blog. For example, I’ve linked my domain name http://www.rhodabaxter.com to my blog wordpress.rhodabaxter.com so that both addresses lead to the same place. Hope that makes sense?


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