The other day, someone questioned me about why I have a website and blog when I'm not even published. The person, who shall not be named, even used the p word ... premature. Take a deep breath fellow writers and exhale slowly. The question did not fluster me. It was easy to answer because I asked myself the same question. As for my blog or website being "premature", to that I say the person simply used the wrong p word.
I didn't consider creating a website or starting a blog until I took a workshop on building an Author Brand. A great class that taught me about the importance of having a web presence before you're published. I'd never really given any thought to what I wanted my "brand" to look and feel like. I thought you write the best book possible, struggle to find an agent, then the publisher does the rest once you've finished your final edits. Say it with me people, NAIVE.
Publishing is a tough industry to break into with fierce competition. Landing an agent is like finding a unicorn. To catch the attention of these mystical and elusive creatures you have to hone your craft, produce a great novel, and show them you understand this is a business, which requires work on the part of the author long after you've finished writing the book. After the workshop, I still debated about when to create my presence on the web. Then I read an interview by super agent Holly Root and she said that she actually checks to see if a potential client is already out there on the web. I kept reading interviews. She is not the only one. Many authors advise the aspiring and naive to get started sooner rather than later. The pros will far outweigh any potential cons.
A farmer does not sit and stare at a barren field wishing for a bountiful crop. In order to reap a harvest, you have to till the soil, plant the seeds, and water it (yeah, I'm a city gal) or pray for rain. Success does not happen in a vacuum.
Someone once said success is when preparation and opportunity collide. I think it was Oprah :). Every book I write is me tilling the soil. This blog and my website are the seeds I have planted. Trust me, I am praying for rain.
One day, my magic 8 ball hasn't revealed when, my opportunity will come and I'm the kind of gal who likes to be Prepared.
Fellow writers, what steps have you taken to prepare for publication? Wise authors, what preparatory steps did you take that helped with your first sale?