Literary journal editors and literary agents often search for authors on Google and visit author websites and social media profiles when reviewing submissions, so a strong author platform is key to an author’s success. You won’t have very long to make a great first impression—a visitor may leave your site after only twenty seconds! To reduce your bounce rate, you need to make sure your author platform is optimized to attract agent and editor interest in those first critical seconds.
Online Author Platform Must-Haves That Make A Great First Impression
1. Author Website
Every author should have a website dedicated to his or her writing. A good website acts as an online hub for all your marketing efforts. Not only can your site help build fans, it’s often the first place agents and editors look to learn more about you once they’ve searched for your name on the Internet. Make sure you have a clear call to action that appears above the fold on your site’s home page. For example, if you’re trying to get agent representation for a book, make sure a brief synopsis and related materials are available on the home page in an attractive, attention-grabbing way.
Updating an author website with fresh content can be tough. To prevent your blog from becoming stale and outdated, be sure to write regular blog articles about your writing process, list new publication credits, announce your latest speaking engagements, etc. This will help on multiple fronts: It will improve your SEO so that more potential fans are likely to visit your website, and it will show editors and agents that you are willing to showcase your voice in a public forum.
3. Social Media Profiles
Social media is a great way to reach out to your fan base and consistently interact with them. Utilizing Facebook and Twitter will help maximize your exposure and let editors and agents know that you’re willing to be active on these social media platforms. Since you may only have a few moments to grab an agent’s or editor’s attention, be sure your author branding is consistent across all the social media platforms you use—and that your social media buttons are easy to find on your author website.
4. Calendar of Speaking and Signing Engagements
Having an online calendar featuring your reading, signing, and other speaking engagements is a great way to show editors and agents that you are engaged in the community and doing all you can to promote your author brand. At the end of the day—especially with agents—an author’s willingness and ability to do some promotional heavy lifting might make the difference between an offer for representation and a rejection slip.
5. Print and Digital Media Downloads
People love content that lends itself to sharing, whether online or in print. Try preparing promotional materials such as bookmarks, posters, videos, etc. that your fans can share with their friends and their friends’ friends. There’s no limit to how many people you may reach! Agents and editors will be glad to know their efforts to publish your work will be supplemented by your vigorous marketing efforts.
PRO TIP: Include a QR code on your print media (bookmarks, posters, etc.) that leads savvy users to either your author website or some other promotion of your writing.
Is An Online Platform Enough?
Having a comprehensive online author platform is vital to a writer’s success. But you shouldn’t stop at just having an online platform. It’s important to tap as many media markets as possible when promoting your author brand. Reaching out to local newspapers, magazines, and radio stations for interviews is a great way to get your name out there to folks who don’t necessarily spend their time researching writers online. Getting your name and published work referenced in as many places as possible is the best way to promote yourself and garner the attention of editors and agents.
QUESTION: What have you done to your online author platform to make a good first impression on agents and editors?