This week’s post is written by my very first guest author. Caroline is a writer and blogger who focuses mainly on technology and literary endeavors. I highly recommend you read more of her work at www.culturecoverage.com.
Thanks, Caroline, for the post! We both hope the info she’s sharing here will inspire you to build up an online following to help you accomplish some of your writing and publishing goals.
These days, any author of note has some kind of online presence — at the very least, a website or Twitter page where they can keep in contact with their fans. Chances are, you follow a couple of your favorite writers yourself. But, with the time and legwork it takes to get these profiles off the ground and attracting followers, it’s no wonder authors question whether it’s worth the effort to create an online presence.
The answer is yes, and here’s why:
Publishing Isn’t a Bubble
Publishing a book isn’t a solitary endeavor. While it takes focus and a huge capacity for solitude actually write a book, finding a publisher requires networking and clever thinking. In today’s publishing world, where margins are tight and marketing budgets are shrinking daily, an author with an established online platform is much more likely to attract a publisher. And, if an author manages to find a traditional publisher — or chooses the self-publishing route, instead — they need to be able to get the word out to potential readers that their book is worth reading. To be successful as a writer, that online infrastructure and presence is necessary.
Social Media is Your Main Form of Communication
20 years ago, readers didn’t expect to interact or communicate with authors like they do today. Avid readers could write letters to their favorite authors, but there were few alternatives. Now, fans increasingly want to communicate with writers, and a lack of means to do so can only hurt the author. Publishers might even require authors to have accounts and keep up with responses. Whether it is Twitter, Facebook or something you haven’t heard of yet, your presence is your way of gauging and reading your audience.
But Keep in Mind, a Single Data Breach Can Be Disaster
Imagine what would happen if your favorite author got hacked and their accounts started spewing out spam or horribly offensive messages. How long would you tolerate it before you cut off the account? Not very long.
Authors should probably do the following to protect themselves:
Make sure you’re protecting your account to the best of your ability, using multiple verification measures and safeguarding your devices against theft. Your manuscripts or contacts could be at risk. General cybersecurity practices are a necessity for writers.
Use a well-reviewed Virtual Private Network (VPN) when out in public. The tool will encrypt communications and incoming data to protect information. It will also hide your IP address in the event you want privacy.
Try to separate their work and personal files and devices. It’s a bit of an investment, but it’s better having only to put out one fire out at a time should the worst happen.
There is, of course, much more to this topic. The internet is constantly changing, so you might want to make an effort to keep up on the best strategies yourself.
Do you have any other thoughts on the matter? Are there any other tips you would provide? If so, please leave a comment below and tell us what you think.