Our editor-in-chief, Penelope Jackson, writes:
Your writing is flawless, your ideas are brilliant, your manuscript is clearly magnificent. What more could a publisher possibly want?
Well, a lot, actually. (Sorry.) There are many ways to impress a publisher, whether you are a seasoned author, a newly signed neophyte, or a writer still trying to land your first book deal. But one of the most straightforward ways you can make a good impression on us is to show that you can use social media, well and wisely.
When I work acquisitions, the first thing I do after reading a good manuscript is Google the author. I want to see if you’re smart and engaging, whether you’ll be fun to work with, what else you are interested in.
Be focused and intelligent in your approach to social media. If you have an active, interesting presence on Twitter or Facebook or Instagram (or a great podcast or YouTube channel), it shows you have a built-in network to market to, the ability to connect with an audience, and the willingness to keep your communication skills and methods up-to-date. This makes a sales manager rub her hands together with glee. But if you have a dormant Twitter account or a Facebook timeline full of cheesy memes, a sales manager sighs deeply and asks how good the manuscript is, really, and are you sure we have to publish this, Penelope.
You can make everything you do visibly on the internet count. One newly signed Propriometrics Press author, Doniga Markegard, did not even pitch her book to us. Our publisher, Katy Bowman, was listening to the Modern Farm Girls podcast episode featuring Doniga, wherein Doniga recounts her extraordinary life as an animal tracker and permaculture rancher (listen here!). Hearing Doniga’s spine-tingling story of tracking wolves by herself through the wilderness, Katy knew instantly that we needed to work with Doniga. She sent it to me and I agreed—Doniga is articulate, funny, and clearly a visionary. Before we even knew if Doniga wanted to write a book, we knew that she could communicate her message clearly and entertainingly to the public. Eventually, these skills will help us market her book—which, happily, was already underway when Katy contacted her. And it is going to be one of the best books you have ever read.
I know it can be frustrating to have to develop a social media presence on top of doing the actual work of, you know, writing books. But there are so many advantages to being able to reach readers both actual and potential online—and it will really help your publisher sell five million copies of your book, at which point you can firmly tell us that you are never, ever tweeting again.