[Due to an unfortunate technological malfunction, this post did not go out correctly late last year. The content answers a common question, so we are reposting it again for those who missed it the first time around.]
As a novelist, making a solid connection with your readers is better than building thousands of followers, if half may be bots. Make readers excited about you and your book. Buyers of nonfiction are looking for self-help or study, so the author’s topic and authority are critical. In contrast, a novelist doesn’t need an MDiv but needs to possess the gift to write a God-honoring, entertaining, edifying, and meaningful novel. A novelist must convince readers that reading a story is a good use of their leisure time. Readers who are invested in you will be more likely to read your fables. How do you show agents and editors that readers relate to you?
Can We Find You?
Experienced and competent agents and editors search the Internet to find the author when considering proposals that pique their interest.
Not every author will have an extensive, glamorous site that immediately pops up after we type a couple of letters in a search bar. For fun, I searched Stephen King and got the correct hit after typing Stephe. Even then, Stephen King showed up after basketball player Stephen Curry, but he showed up quickly. We don’t expect such prominent positioning with a new author; but, like potential readers, we ask to spend little time finding an author’s website. We understand we may have to type Ima Writer Christian Author, especially if you share your name with several doctors and real estate agents. But please make sure your site appears quickly when we search.
By the way, your website is your identification online. This is a place where you can shine and tell us all about yourself!
Agents and editors, as well as your readers, would like to find you easily on social media. As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, choose one or two formats you enjoy and focus on those. Keep track of the number of followers you have, and share those in the proposal. Some authors hire an assistant to handle social-media posts on Facebook, Instagram, X, and other platforms. If you prefer to avoid the business side of social media, an assistant can help you manage your image while you tend to your writing.
When was the last time you were active with your social media? We often search an author’s site or social media and discover an abandoned account. Once, Steve Laube said he came across a blog on an author’s site where the last entry was seven years prior. If you don’t enjoy blogging regularly, deleting the dates of the blog posts could be helpful. We still recommend that you write blogs occasionally since your writing and ideas have no doubt matured over time.
How About a Newsletter?
Do you have a newsletter that appears weekly, monthly, or even quarterly? Publishing updates is an excellent opportunity to reach readers in a meaningful way. Provide the number of subscribers in your proposal. We understand that building a newsletter readership takes time. This step does show that you are serious about being a known author.
The point of platform for novelists is to show that they can reach their readers and how they are doing so. Novelists are demonstrating that they can be great partners with their publishers. Still, the book itself is the primary consideration. Concentrate on your novel while you grow your platform. With a winning combination, a book contract may be in your future.