Blogger: Mary Keeley
When your book proposal interests agents and editors, the first thing they’ll do is investigate your website, blog, and social media activity. That’s why it’s so important that each area of your online presence compliments the others and reinforces your unique author self and what you write.
Your online presence reveals more to these professionals than numbers only. It shows them how well you know your author brand and are communicating it across all your platforms. Does the combined package reinforce who you are as a writer? Or does it cause them to question the true book-buying followers you have, that is, your numbers?
Here is a checklist for getting your online presence ready for scrutiny.
Your Author Website
- The URL includes your author name, making it easy for publishing professionals and readers to find you. The goal is that when editors Google your name, your author website is the first site on the list that pops up.
- Author brand is clearly stated on your landing page.
- The landing page is welcoming and appropriately author personal, inviting visitors to click through additional pages on your site. The click-through rate (CTR) is a measure of your website’s success.
- Every element on your site—images, colors, tone, and voice—reinforces your brand and your genre.
- The website is easy for visitors to navigate. Visitors are likely to stay and browse, when it is easy to find what they want to know.
- You have updated your website design within the last three to four years to stay current with design trends. An outdated website design reflects negatively on you, the author, as well as on your book.
- Your site is strictly reserved as your professional author website, not for personal use.
Your Author Blog
- You post consistently each week, on the same days each week. If you haven’t been consistent with this in the past, now is the time to get started. The more frequently you blog, the faster you will attract followers, because each post provides a new opportunity for people to find your blog through search engines.
- All your posts have some connection to your brand and your books. For example, an interesting story related to the topic of your next nonfiction book. Or the theme or setting, of the novel you’re writing. How about a struggle your current main character is going to face.
- You always use at least one image in your posts. Here are three good reasons why: (1) A well-chosen image instantly communicates the topic of your post. (2) Images also multiply the amount of traffic to your blog. (3) Followers tend to remember your post when you attach an image to it.
- You know why your followers read your blog from their interaction with you. Some follow a blog for the social interaction with a writer and other followers who comment. This interaction is visible to agents and editors at first glance. Others follow blogs mainly for the interesting or informative content, the writer shares to draw interest in her next book. Measure this type of interaction by the number of likes and re-tweets. Provide this information in your proposal because it isn’t as quickly apparent to agents and editors.
Your Social Media
- Your posts and tweets communicate a theme consistent with your brand. You reinforce your brand this way, even if subliminally.
- Post often. As with your blog the more frequently you post, the more opportunities for people to find you, interact, and share them.
- Concentrate your activity on the two or three platforms in which you are most comfortable and have the greatest engagement. Focus on growing strong followings on those few, rather than letting time swallow you up trying to cover all of them thinly.
What do you need to improve or correct before you begin to submit your next proposal? What are you doing well? On which platform do you get the most engagement, and why do you think that is? Are you prepared to answer agents’ and editors’ questions about how well you know your followers and what they want and expect from your books?
Use this checklist to prepare your online presence before submitting your proposal. Click to Tweet.